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Lions Roar : March 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 45 dismantling Barriers If we can learn not to fear our knots of suffering, we slowly begin to let them circulate up into our living room. We begin to learn how to embrace them and transform them with the energy of mindfulness. When we dismantle the barrier between the basement and the liv- ing room, blocks of pain will come up and we will have to suffer a bit. our inner child may have a lot of fear and anger stored up from being down in the basement for so long. There is no way to avoid it. That is why the practice of mindfulness is so important. If mindfulness is not there, it is very unpleasant to have these seeds come up. But if we know how to generate the energy of mindful- ness, it’s very healing to invite them up every day and embrace them. mindfulness is a strong source of energy that can recognize, embrace, and take care of these negative energies. perhaps these seeds don’t want to come up at first, perhaps there’s too much fear and distrust, so we may have to coax them a bit. after being em- braced for some time, a strong emotion will return to the base- ment and become a seed again, but weaker than before. every time you give your internal formations a bath of mindful- ness, the blocks of pain in you become lighter. so give your anger, your despair, your fear, a bath of mindfulness every day. after several days or weeks of bringing them up daily and helping them go back down again, you create good circulation in your psyche. The function of mindfulness The first function of mindfulness is to recognize and not to fight. We can stop at any time and become aware of the child within us. When we recognize the wounded child for the first time, all we need to do is be aware of him or her and say hello. That’s all. perhaps this child is sad. If we notice this we can just breathe in and say to ourselves, “Breathing in, I know that sorrow has manifested in me. hello, my sorrow. Breathing out, I will take good care of you.” once we have recognized our inner child, the second function of mindfulness is to embrace him or her. This is a very pleasant practice. Instead of fighting our emotions, we are taking good care of ourselves. mindfulness brings with her an ally—concentration. The first few minutes of recognizing and embracing our inner child with tenderness will bring some relief. The difficult emotions will still be there, but we won’t suffer as much anymore. after recognizing and embracing our inner child, the third function of mindfulness is to soothe and relieve our difficult emotions. Just by holding this child gently, we are soothing our difficult emotions and we can begin to feel at ease. When we em- brace our strong emotions with mindfulness and concentration, we’ll be able to see the roots of these mental formations. We’ll know where our suffering has come from. When we see the roots of things, our suffering will lessen. so mindfulness recognizes, embraces, and relieves. The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concen- tration as well as the energy of insight. concentration helps us focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of look- ing becomes more powerful and insight is possible. Insight always has the power of liberating us. If mindfulness is there, and we know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there too. and if we know how to keep concentration alive, insight will also come. The energy of mindfulness enables us to look deeply and gain the insight we need so that transformation is possible. ♦ adapted from reconciliation: healing The Inner child (2010) by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission from Parallax Press, Berkeley, california. www.parallax.org The energy of mindfulness is the salve that will recognize and heal the child within. anonYmous