Have you ever noticed how children seem to perennially have a smile plastered on their faces? True, they have their bouts of grumpiness and crying but they bounce back to their natural bubbliness as quickly. Rarely will you spot a worried or depressed child, at least not among the very young ones, the ones on whom the cynicism of the world has not yet taken its toll. Do you recall how it felt like to be a child? Do you see what a striking contrast it makes with your present mindset? You can always reduce this disparity by reaching out to your inner child.
How lost is your Inner Child?
What are your notions about life, people, and happiness? Do you believe that most people are selfish? Do you feel taken aback when someone compliments you? Do you enjoy cynical humour? If someone asked you the definition of love, would you be able to answer? Did you hug anyone in the past twenty-four hours? Do you believe that the world is coming to an end? Do you find your job uninspiring and your family ungrateful? Do you arrive home feeling tired and defeated everyday? Are you looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of your life? And, as the title of a Robin Sharma book goes, 'Who will cry when you die?' Answering these questions will give you a fair idea of how acutely lost your inner child is.
The truest indication that you have lost touch with your inner child is a persistent feeling of ennui, tiredness, or negativity.
The Inner Child
In the spiritual sense, the inner child is your real self, the self that you were born with—pure, innocent, and joyful. What we call 'growing up' usually contributes to the submersion of this self. Every day the child learns about fear, suspicion, doubt, hatred, anger, envy, sorrow, diffidence, and all those emotions that have scarred our hearts so deeply that we assume they always existed. The true self goes deep under, until it is covered by so many layers that you barely feel its presence.
Spiritual growth takes place through inverse learning. You will have to unlearn all that you have assimilated and accepted as true during the course of your life. You must shake off the cloak of adult perception in order to find your inner child.
Your repository of knowledge today consists of all the useless facts and baseless notions lodged in your memory during the course of your life. It is essential to unlearn all those ideas which weigh you down by doing away with them.
Consider for a moment what we call 'knowledge' and 'education' these days. Are we ever taught about love, kindness, generosity, empathy, understanding, inspiration, creativity, wonder, curiosity, and the magic that can take place in our minds and souls through these? We do not need to be tutored on these because we already know. We were the epitome of these qualities as children. It is said that the child is the father of man. Truly, they have the kind of instinctive wisdom that supersedes any learnt cleverness. However, this inner child wisdom is a sensitive thing. It can easily be overshadowed by knowledge that masquerades as wisdom.
The conscience or instinct is the voice of the inner child. You never find your intuition giving elaborate, unintelligible discourses. There is no place for confusion or pride in your inner child. You will merely feel a twinge of disquiet when you do something that disturbs your internal make-up. You can easily quell the gentle voice with your years of false learning and misconceived ideas.
For once, ignore your adult voice and consider what your inner voice says. Do you always holiday in the same place every year? You may have a niggling voice telling you to try something new this time. Obey it. Fear is an illusion created by our doubting minds. For a week, do whatever you wish to, not by indulging in anti-social activities, but in the sense of setting yourself free.
Want an ice-cream in the middle of the work day? Get up, go, and have it. Revive your forgotten spontaneity and exuberance. Are you sitting in a corner, quiet and sulking? Put on the music at the highest volume, invite your neighbour (ignore the flabbergasted look on his face) in and do a jive or two. Join your children in their games and do not feel awkward or silly about it. 'Silly' is another adult notion that actually has no precise definition or basis. Stop judging yourself by other's standards.
Find a rose in your garden? Your memory will rush to fill your senses with its fragrance even before you bend over to the flower. Ignore the memory. Inhale the fragrance and enjoy it as though it were the first time you have ever whiffed a rose. Note all its nuances; put it in your hair if you feel like it. Ask yourself what colour the fragrance would be. Would it be perhaps buttercup yellow, the lightest peach, or a melange of fuchsia and orange?
Rediscovering your inner child is all about listening to your innate desires and living like a child. Find your inner child and find the peace and happiness that you always wanted.