I did that. And the answer I received was very simple and straight-forward. My inner child said that he wants to experience joy. And for him to experience joy, I need to experience joy. And to experience joy, I need to be free of thought … emotions, judgments, cravings, attachments, and the eternal “what ifs?”.
This message was revelatory for me. I had always said that I want to be free of suffering and so I need to turn my will and my life over to the care of my true Buddha self. My healed inner child was saying that he wants to experience joy and so needs to be free of thought.
These are two sides of the same coin. But as the days pass, I am finding a big difference in their implementation. What my inner child wants seems easier, more natural. I’m not trying to free myself from something; I just want to experience what’s already there. Also, it seems easier to be aware when you are not experiencing joy than when you are experiencing low-level suffering. Finally, there is something very moving to hear your inner child say that it wants to experience joy; it is very motivating; you want to be there for your inner child.
And I am finding that being free of thought is simpler than turning my will and my life over to the care of my true self. First, there is no push-back. When I say I want to turn my will over to my true Buddha self or surrender my ego to it, that is threatening to my ego. But when I just don’t let thoughts invade my mental space, that seems to meet with no resistance.
Second, it’s straight-forward. There is no question of, “how”. I just say “no” to any thought or emotion that starts arising because I know it will interfere with my experiencing joy and happiness at that moment. Again, as I’ve stated in previous posts, being free of thought does not mean that I am not discerning. I am very aware of the situation I am in; I just don’t apply the ego-mind’s labels to it; I experience it directly with dispassion.
To put this into practice, it helps to take time throughout the day to do things for the pure joy of doing them, no other motive; whether it’s being in nature, going for a walk, listening to music; reading a good book. It also means that when I am doing things that move my life forward, I do them without emotion or labels or what ifs.
Many years ago, a monk told me, “Take joy in each moment, in everything you do.” I finally understand how, practically, to experience life in that way. It does not mean finding joy in the moment or the things I do, because it’s there. No effort is required. It just means being free of thought. When not weighed down by thought, my inherent joy will rise to the surface naturally.
At its core, what I just described is no different than knowing that what’s most important to you is peace and happiness and not allowing anything to interfere with that. (See my post, “What Is Most Important To You?”) And yet I am finding this message from my inner child to be even more powerful and easier to implement.