Invite a Beginner’s Mind Viewpoint

There are certain archetypes that are supposed to assist in self-healing processes. A common one recently trending within the spirituality niche is the Inner Child. Inner Child meditations may offer the opportunity for you to regress to particular childhood memories, similar to a past life regression. It’s something to care for with love.

Like everything in balance, there are shadow aspects, so you may revisit childhood situations in order to unlock the origins of trauma and sometimes to rewrite your narrative. In psychology, topics that receive a lot of focus and attention are parental relationships, even noting whether biological parents were absent. Parental and primary caregiver relationships are important, as psychological studies on attachment and interpersonal relationships have found.   

For those who didn’t feel nurtured by parental figures in a way that was sufficient to their needs, these kinds of meditations may explore ways you can or have self-soothed or “mothered” yourself. (The term “mothered” is specific and gendered but can apply to either parent.) Often this work provides a space to fully feel and effectively manage anger, and it may move this anger into forgiveness. There is a greater sense of closure with this kind of work.

Aside from working with childhood trauma, the Inner Child is something we are able to incorporate into our daily lives just like we carry our actual childhood along with us. One more light-hearted way to do this is through play.

Maybe you’re aware of the day or moment you felt your childhood cease. For some of us the process is blurry, and we can’t remember the exact moment we put down the Barbies or our interests changed naturally while growing up. Imagination, pretend play, and the priority to have fun tend to fade in our developmental cycle. For some, these childhood qualities may have never existed.

Whatever your childhood might have been, practicing Inner Child is a chance to invite or re-invite play qualities back into your life. When was the last time you ran into a sprinkler? Or initiated a game for yourself or among peers? Do you allow yourself to play aside from with your children, young family members, or pets? 

My play interrupted…

Play can sound a little silly. Is it really a good idea to start talking to imaginary friends again, or to dig out old toys? I don’t suggest setting up a sock-puppet show at your next dinner party. The great thing about play is that you don’t have to take it so literally. You don’t have to play exactly the way you did as a child for the full effect. Take elements of it!

Play is spontaneous and linked to creativity. They make adult coloring books for these reasons—and they’re so relaxing! Change the way you approach your day to day life to honor the Inner Child. The next time you procrastinate for a deadline, turn it into a “race against the clock!” Will you work faster if you give your housemate permission to spray you with silly string each time you get distracted? The next time you and your partner or friend binge-watch a series, make a blanket fort! Enjoy the building process and cozy shelter to make the night have something a little extra. 

To be playful, you are making more fun memories. Ultimately the Inner Child is about cultivating a sense of innocence, joy, and beginner’s mind.

The beginner’s mind is a concept I briefly introduced here. Again, it’s a mindfulness practice that involves taking in the world from the perspective of a child, a child who doesn’t yet know the names and functions of items around them. To experience and sense life as if it were all new revives a spark of curiosity, and this revival increases levels of happiness and gratitude for life. 

This perspective takes what has become mundane and gives it wonder. This is one of the appeals to psychedelics. You might notice the vibrant green pigment of the grass, then the desire to feels its texture. Getting down low, you might imagine you’re an ant in search for something to bring back to the colony or even a lion in the savannah. Or, examine one blade of grass and rediscover the honk it makes when you blow it between your thumbs. 

Just because you grow older, larger, and more mature (I assume), doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the fun. Maybe you do still have fun, but it has evolved from your childhood’s fun. That’s okay, as long as it is fulfilling for you! Much of society requires us to suppress the the unique human qualities of spontaneity and simple joy. So many of us are nostalgic for “good old days,” and it makes me sad because it’s as if we’ve given up on how good life can be right now.   

Go have a dance party and get messy! Invite a playful perspective into your life. If you like this page, please share it.

Go on a quest to find a pot of gold!

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