Yesterday I had a wonderful yoga session outdoors, in the middle of a beautiful garden, under the sun. Afterwards we went as a group to have a great Asiatic lunch. We all said goodbye until the New Year, sharing our best wishes for the Christmas period. It was a bright warm day and I felt so happy and grateful for being alive & healthy, for such a wonderful yoga teacher & group and for the beautiful feelings I gathered within. I was driving back home after lunch, through the mountains. The sky was blue, the hills were looking live green, horses were trotting along the road and all of a sudden I felt so sad deep in my chest, all around my heart. It was a very intense feeling and I had to let it out so I started crying. During 5 minutes I cried loads of thick sweet tears and I didn’t know why. But the reason being was not relevant to me either. I had that emotion, I could feel it in my body and the tears were the way to express it. After those 5 minutes and just before I enter the drive, I was fine again, better even than before. I felt relieved, more open. I felt truthful & alive. I felt connected with my inner self and that thought made me remember something I learnt a couple of years ago.
An adult that suffers is a neglected child.
This is, in other words and simplifying it a lot, one of the shocking statements that Michael Brown shares with us in his amazing journey through The Presence Process.
Using examples of every day life so we can understand what that statement really means: if I suffer with insomnia, backache, skin issues or stomach ailments; if I am diagnosed as diabetic, autistic or epileptic; if I struggle staying in a job or in a relationship; if I always seem to attract men who hurt me or use me & abuse me; if I cannot stand gay people, I detest priests or I develop a very intense rejection against black people; if I am scared of darkness or I am unable to get on a plane; if my reactions are driven by lack of patience and I shout a lot to others; if I get angry easily or feel grief far too often… All those are only signals of something that it is happening deeper inside. They are not simply pointing at something that it is unfolding just now. They are symptoms of my childhood unattended issues.
During the first 7 years, a child embodies innocence, joy & creativity, lives through the emotions and only searches for one thing: love. After that, somehow, we seem to separate from that child-self, drifting away from our feelings & emotions to enter into the mind state, the thoughts and interpretations, the expectations & musts that society establishes as dormant regulations. Then we try to find rational explanations for our issues & troubles, we often look outside, we blame others; we drink & smoke & take drugs or get hooked by risky habits or hobbies; we go to the doctors looking for a solution that is not such, as medication & treatment can only heal the symptom but the sore root remains. We choose quick escapes, easily accepted exits that become only short term amendments but they are never the lasting solution we aim for. They are not the answers to our discomfort.
To heal them now in my adulthood I must hold these ‘unintegrated aspects of my child self’, as Michael calls them, in my arms and give them unconditionally all the love & attention that they need. I don’t try to change my experience as it is valid and required as it is. I simply accept it and embrace it with love & compassion, visualising the child that I was, that I still am deep inside, holding her with love & care, comforting her with tender attention & deep respect. That’s also how I activate the inner parent that we all hold within too.
A child cries when he feels unsettled, when he is not receiving what he wants or needs, when something is bothering him. Crying is the child’s emotional response to his discomfort. Therefore, through crying we can integrate our childhood unsolved aspects.
According to Michael’s experience & wisdom, if I cry randomly, unexpectedly, for no reason then I am starting to integrate my unsolved child-self emotions. He says that these tears are not actually adult tears but the ‘tears that we couldn’t cry as a child’. I am deeply moved by this thought. These tears then represent the blocked energy that has been contaminating my life with grief and unease. When I let them flow I am healing my child-self and as a consequence, my adult being too.
I’ve been ignoring my inner child for too long (I think most of us do). She came to my rescue a few years ago and only very recently I am starting to turn my eyes into her, being truly present, alert to her signs, help requests & calls for assistance. I’ll never leave her alone anymore, unattended. I’ll cry her tears when needed but I’ll especially restore her joy for life, innocence & creativity. How I managed without her all these years I don’t know. All I know is that she is no longer alone and thanks to that I am restoring harmony & finding meaning through life.
"They clamour and fight, they doubt and despair, they know no end
to their wrangling.
Let your life come amongst them like a flame of light, my
child, unflickering and pure, and delight them into silence.
They are cruel in their greed and their envy, their words are like
hidden knives thirsting for blood.
Go and stand amidst their scowling hearts, my child, and let
your gentle eyes fall upon them like the forgiving peace of the
evening over the strife of the day.
Let them see your face, my child, and thus know the meaning
of all things; let them love you and thus love each other.
Come and take your seat in the bosom of the limitless, my
child. At sunrise open and raise your heart like a blossoming
flower, and at sunset bend your head and in silence complete the
worship of the day."
The Child-Angel, by Rabindranath Tagore