In Buddhism, there is the concept of Buddha Nature. Buddha Nature is a state of true compassion, peace, joy, and love for all living beings. Buddha Nature is something we are born with but lose sight of as society covers it with misconceptions, beliefs, myths, and fear.
Who did you want to be when you were a child? Before your family, friends, and your culture told you what to be? The photo above is me playing with Andy circa 1993.
Over the last couple months, I have dealt with old emotional wounds that lay deep inside me from childhood. It wasn’t easy but was much needed for my emotional health and to be at peace. In this difficult & turbulent time period, I also awakened to my inner child inside of me. I started remembering who I was at that time period and who I wanted to be as an adult.
As a small child, I remember envisioning myself to be a kind, strong, healthy, and compassionate adult who helped others. I idolized police officers, firemen, sports athletes, and ninjas for their strength, humility, and bravery. They were peaceful warriors to me who showed strength and compassion. Superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman emphasized strength, compassion, and humility. They protected the most vulnerable.
As a small child, I remember loving animals so much. I loved all different types of animals with full-hearted compassion. I never would want to hurt another life form. I still remember the day my parents told me what beef was and I was horrified that a cow died and that the juice was cows blood. The day I found out about factory farming was a traumatic experience. I couldn’t believe such a barbaric, inhumane, and unethical institution was allowed. I didn’t realize I could become a vegan to protect the most vulnerable until I was an adult. I suppressed this traumatic experience and continued to eat meat for the next 15 years. This post isn’t all about veganism but veganism is what sparked my transformation into diving deep into my inner child. By showing the most vulnerable (animals) true compassion by my actions I started the process of showing true compassion to myself, others, and the environment. Our true nature as children is to love animals. Society tries to turn that compassion into apathy and we are forced to accept that we have no control over the horrible things happening in the world.
Somewhere in my teens, I lost most of this inner child and I suffered tremendously for it.
I used to smile constantly, dance, be silly, and loved helping others. Around 10 years old, kids started making fun of me for smiling too much (smiley was my nickname) and adults (sports coaches) would shame me for smiling in serious situations. Soon I was taught that smiling, helping others, and being silly was feminine and weak. I started portraying myself more as a serious Mafioso than a fun loving child. My idols turned into Al Capone, Scarface, Charlie Sheen, Tupac, Lil Wayne, and Eminem. I suddenly didn’t smile much anymore, only grind danced, and didn’t help others because no one is helping me. I started not to give a f$%# about anymore, including myself. Eventually, this attitude led me down the path of infidelity, substance abuse, gambling addiction, and anxiety/depression. My inner child was buried under years of fear, judgment, hatred, and myths of masculinity.
As I awaken my inner-child, I feel more inner strength and confidence than I have ever felt before. I have smiled more in the last two months than the past 5 years. I have laughed, joked, and shown love to others. I feel more at peace with myself than I have ever felt. I have finally started my journey as a Peaceful Warrior. My weapons are compassion, empathy, love, and forgiveness. I will never have the strength of Superman or the Ninja Turtles, but I can show compassion and humility to the most vulnerable as they did.
Get back to what you loved to do as a child. Figure out what motivated you and made you happy. Be silly, smile, dance, laugh, and enjoy the simple things in life again. Be curious about the world again. Let go of the stories that hold you back from achieving peace, freedom, and enjoyment in life.