A WRITER’S DREAM

A WRITER’S DREAM by: Ian Prattis

It happens – that moment when unexpectedly your writing receives glowing confirmation. Luckily I have had a taste of that. At a writer’s retreat, the facilitator who had read my book Redemption spoke of it that it was not so much a read but as if she were listening to music. The cadence of the writing struck her forcibly. I often describe Redemption as an extended prose poem but like her musical note more. Then a phone call that Trailing Sky Six Feathers received the Quill Award from Focus on Women Magazine, an advocacy group for women’s issues worldwide. I was delighted that the first award for this book came from a women’s group. Other awards include Gold for Redemption at the 2015 Florida Book Festival, Silver for Environment from the 2014 Living Now Literary Awards for Failsafe; Saving the Earth From Ourselves. There was the 2019 Gold from the eLit Excellence Awards. I received the 2011 Ottawa Earth Day Environment Award and in 2018 the Yellow Lotus award from the Vesak Project for spiritual guidance and teaching dharma. Also my book “Shattered Earth” received the 2020 Gold Medal from the eLit Excellence Awards.

When a reviewer hits the mark it is a big wow when they seem to read your mind. Julia Ann Charpentier in her review must have been sitting right there. She describes Redemption, “An admirable command of language brings to every scene a striking visual clarity… The novel falls into the realm of timeless storytelling… This eye-opening book will be a memorable experience for anyone who enjoys reading about primordial tendencies. Beneath a polished urban facade remains a part of human nature that few want to acknowledge, either due to fear or simply because it is easier to deny the basic instincts that have kept us alive on an unforgiving earth.”

A wonderful cap to all this musing was recent when I went to send some books through the Post Office. The young woman at the counter had posted many of the packages of books I had sent to competitions and I always gave a copy to her to read. She gave me a big hug and told me that the book – Trailing Sky Six Feathers – had changed her life. This is really why I write. I told her that the final bookend of the trilogy takes characters from the two books she has read and places them on a new planet in the immediate future. I gave her that book. My expeditions to the post office are a highlight for me these days.

My latest book – PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE: Stories that Haunt – is drawing in some exciting testimonials. It will be published in 2021. Taste this view:

Bob Allen, Founder and CEO IDEAS

“These tales operate at three levels. First, the characters are all of “US.” Their stories are the One Human Story of struggling to live in this world. Dig deeper, and you’ll find the rich metaphor pointing toward truths about the way our species has evolved and why our permanent dominance of the Earth is a fiction that will not stand up to any real scrutiny. At their root, Ian Prattis has pointed out that “reality” is not action-over-time but it’s simultaneity. These stories take their place with other great cultural myths as a shaman’s call to the central village fire asking us to listen, engage and imagine.”

You can find my work at http://www.ianprattis.com

Science, Climate Change and Global Pandemic

Many years ago (2008) I published Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves. I wrote about homo-sapiens as perhaps a Failed Genetic Experiment. I delivered the content of this book to students at Carleton University, in a television course on Ecology and Culture. Half way through the course I looked out at the young people and offered an apology – that my generation had not left them with a healthy planet.

            Much later in 2019, I participated in the Climate Strikes on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was quite emotional for me to see thousands of children shouting out for politicians to get behind the science. I was in admiration of their strike, yet sad that Earth matters had not changed for the better.

            However, a brilliant pushback to climate denial had been made by Polly Higgins, a fellow Scot. She was a barrister and created a world-wide campaign to criminalize “ecocide.” Unfortunately, Polly Higgins died from cancer in April 2019. Her strong belief was that “ecocide”, as a law, would change the world. Her work continues with a vast legal team in many countries. Her everlasting quip will never be forgotten:

            “I have a choice to protect our Earth, or let it be destroyed.”

            These are the stakes we all face.

This campaign of criminalizing “ecocide” was aimed at the destruction of ecosystems by the carbon multi-nationals and their political lackeys. The instrument of “ecocide” is growing. The Marshall Islands and Maldives in the Pacific Ocean have brought legal requests to the UN about their dire situation with rising sea levels. The European Union, led by the President of France, is making ecocide a criminal act in order to curb the damage done by corporations.

            We have had the scientific knowledge since 1980 to create the solution to Climate Emergency, but the obstacles were not technical or scientific. The obstacles were the attitudes, values and concepts that define the dominance of corporate values. Their bottom line of profits was upheld by successive governments that devalued science. It was never about science. It was about the brand of economics favored by Big Oil and other multi-national corporations promoting carbon extraction, irrespective of the damage caused to ecosystems and populations.

            Did anyone notice that degradation of the Earth’s ecology was the catalyst for radical Climate Change? Food crops were destroyed by horrendous heat waves as carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere. Did no one realize that food riots and world panic trace back to one cause – the economic agenda of corporations? The undercover deal between governments and corporations was invested in political and economic structures that centered on the carbon combustion complex. This collective agenda destabilized world order and endangered the world’s populations. Billionaire backers protected their profits, downplayed scientific conclusions and deliberately dulled the intelligence of the general public. They paid selected scientists to promote the position that the existing evidence on climate change does not support crisis warnings. This is a bought and sold lie! Everyone knew the lack of truth – the US government, corporations and industrialists – all knew the truth. To keep the bottom line of profits in their favor, they were willing to accept that civilization would be destroyed in the not so far future.

            The brilliant indigenous response from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” (2020) is very clear.

            “What was needed was the wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophical analysis and the creative power of the written word, to find new ways to understand and reimagine our relation to the natural world. (283)

            We seem to be living in an era of economics of fabricated demand and compulsive overconsumption….we continue to embrace economic systems that prescribe infinite growth on a finite planet…..we need reforms that would ground economics in ecological principles and the constraints of thermodynamics. (300)

            Climate change will unequivocally defeat economics that are based on constant taking without giving in return. (363)

This applies equally to the COVID–19 pandemic, which is killing people world-wide.

It is necessary to follow the science or face disaster.

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our planet. Health officials appear every day on TV News: broadcasts to provide protocols – such as distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and reducing contacts. Their directions, however, are often ignored by considerable populations who insist on their freedom to do whatever they wish, particularly with the economy. The balance between government and population are often seen by them as oppressive. Scientists do not yet know the full nature of the virus – its effects on the body and just how lethal it can be to different populations. Any nation decimated by such a disease cannot expect to have a functioning economy. Thus a horrible damage occurs to both mental and physical health. Essential steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus are not yet working.

Science is in a race to create workable vaccines. There is, however, good news. Pfizer and BioNTech have developed a coronavirus vaccine and claim that it is 90 per cent effective. They are asking the US Drug and Food Administration to approve the vaccine for emergency use. Other potential vaccines are undergoing Phase 3 studies by Moderno, AstroZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. However, there is a major difficulty. Pfizer’s vaccine requires a super-cold storage, as it needs to be kept at 70 degrees Celsius (-94F). This cold chain makes delivery very challenging. The logistic issues of this requirement omits many countries in the world from receiving the vaccine, as vaccine shots will spoil at normal refrigeration temperatures. The 70 degree Celsius requirement of Pfizer eliminates delivering vaccines to rural areas and poor nations that are hit by surging infection counts. Their vaccine is based on synthetic mRNA to activate the immune system against the virus and this has to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Other vaccines being developed by Moderna Inc and Novavax Inc do not have this drawback, as they are aiming at the temperature of a regular refrigerator.

Thankfully, the President Elect in America follows the science – Joe Biden has organized a new COVID Task Force as his first presidential task.

Right View – Buddhism

SARIPUTTA’S RIGHT VIEW

This is perhaps the most significant dharma talk I have ever given.  Years later it still rings a bell inside me to do better!!! Enjoy.

Right View and the Nutriments of Volition and Consciousness.

In the opening dharma talk about the Noble Eightfold Path we learned about the dynamic nature of Right View and Sariputta’s 4 Edible Nutriments. Edible Food and Sensory Food were discussed. We now come on to the Food of Volition/Craving and the Food of Consciousness. This establishes the formidable presence of Right View – not something that can really be taught as the practitioner has to diligently practice Mindfulness and Concentration for Right View to trickle in. A matter of experience rather than intellect.

Nothing survives w/o food – Stop Feeding Your Demons!

I HAD A DREAM

I HAD A DREAM

Jennifer Jane Clark kindly interviewed me to talk about Mother Earth and Spiritually for her Jen’s Zen program. The focus was on delivering opportunities for young people. My book – Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement – was singled out as a starting place, which can be found at:

http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

Our World is Burning is an inspiring and informative read. Ian Prattis offers us valuable insight, wisdom and perspective in finding our way to a healthier world, one based on compassion and commitment, mindful of how everything we do impacts the whole. Laurence Overmire, Author

Interview below:

Spiritually Inspired

SPIRITUALLY INSPIRED

Dear friends and gentle people,

My interview with Claudiu Murgan’s series – “Spiritually Inspired” – has many surprises. He asked the hard questions about spirituality, Climate Emergency and the state of the World. The interview includes Black Lives Matter and the consequences of a corrupt president.

  1. For 52 min Interview: https://youtu.be/X0teYIzBmaA
  2. Books at : www.ianprattis.com
  3. FB: www.facebook.com/IanPrattisAuthor 

Please pass this on to your networks. That would be most appreciated,

Thank you,

Ian

Ecocide

Ecocide                                                                                                           Ian Prattis

Many years ago (2008) I published Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves. I wrote about homo sapiens as perhaps a Failed Genetic Experiment. I delivered the content of this book to students at Carleton University in a television course on Ecology and Culture. Half way through the course I remembered stopping – I looked out at the young people and offered an apology to them – that my generation had not left them with a healthy planet.

Four books later I released Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement in 2017.In 16 essays I offered examples of how to respond to the most serious social, economic, environmental and personal challenges of the 21st century in order to become better stewards of the earth and society.

My books reinforce the attempt to change the state of our world – only things have got so much worse since my initial apology. To blaze through the fog I went over to the dark side with my latest book “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction.”  A brilliant reviewer of this book remarked at the end of her testimonial – “This book is dark. It is bone chilling. It is captivating.” That is a good description! Jana Begovic had this to say; If humankind wants to survive, it needs to unite in this very late hour, and attempt to reverse the human greed, callousness and cruelty inflicted upon Earth. The powerful, sobering and timely message of this book should be shared far and wide.

In 2019 I participated in the Climate Strikes on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was quite emotional for me to see thousands of children shouting out for politicians to get behind the science. On the Hill I do remember apologizing to my students at Carleton University. when surrounded by thousands of magnificent children. I was in admiration of their strike, yet emotional and sad that Earth matters had not changed for the better. I noticed that I was not the only grandparent who cried a bit. I was also thinking about the completion of my new book – Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction – and decided to dedicate it to the brave children of our world. I was saddened by the COP25 in Madrid where the fossil fuel industry stalked like predators over governments and premiers. Every legal action must now be taken up to drive the oil executives and their government lackeys to change or occupy a jail cell.

Ten years ago a brilliant pushback to climate denial was made by Polly Higgins, a barrister in Britain. She created a campaign to criminalize “ecocide” – whereby environmental damage would be a global crime. This was aimed at the destruction of ecosystems by the carbon cabal and their political lackeys. The legal instrument of “ecocide” has yet to be adopted, though her idea has garnered world-wide momentum to hold corporate executives and governments liable for the damage they do to ecosystems and humanity. The Marshall Islands and Maldives have brought similar legal requests to the UN about their dire situation of rising sea levels.

The legal work of the ecocide movement operates as a counterpart to the mobilization of Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greta Thunberg’s Global Youth Strike for Climate. The organizations are highly complementary and combine as strong grassroots movements demanding specific legal changes to protect the Earth for future generations of all species.

Unfortunately, Polly Higgins died from cancer in April 2019. Her strong belief was that such a law would change the world. Her work continues with a vast legal team in many countries. Her everlasting quip will never be forgotten:

“I have a choice to protect our Earth, or let it be destroyed.”

These are the stakes we all face.

http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html …

I have copies for $20 plus $12 postage. Glad to autograph it for you. I have just learned about E Transfer. A bonus is that one of my prior books will be given to you FREE. For Ottawa area folks you can pick up the books from my home. 613 726 0881

Now in the USA – Consciousness and Judgement

Dear friends and gentle people,

My dharma talks usually come out once a week. However I feel that the situation in the USA requires to be addressed. This is Week 12 of my talks  – I thank students from Carleton University and Pine Gate who insisted that this dharma video be opened at this time.

CONSCIOUSNESS AND JUDGMENT

This dharma talk is about how to change the mind from disaster to wholesomeness. Something radically needed right now in the USA, indeed everywhere that allows racism to be a norm. The ending will make you cry – so please listen to this call for change

The investigation of “Judgment” leads to a Call Centre where the outgoing message is always that of “Suffering.” Judgment is not alone. It has many companions in the Call Centre – discrimination, hate, distraction, ignorance, fear, delusion, greed, oppression and so on – all sending outgoing messages that cause suffering. This prelude introduces a simple model of Healing and Consciousness before talking about Eight Levels of Consciousness. The Call Centre of suffering is none other than “Manas.” – the distorting level of consciousness. Investigation is on how it is created, what feeds it and how do we transform it.

The dharma talk closes with a Miracle of Mindfulness – that is where you cry, so have a hanky close by!!

Sincerely,

Ian

Hummingbird

Hummingbird                                                                                                  

Every time I tell this story it takes on a different form.

The non-human land and air creatures of the world were alarmed and frightened by the world being on fire.  Each species and form sent a representative to gather in a secluded valley visited by rain, with a river running into the ocean.  This location was chosen so that the ocean and river creatures could also be represented.  At the gathering of the non-humans there was a huge cacophony of sound, laments, blaming, cries of anguish that the world was coming to an end – and much desperation.  Beyond this verdant valley the world was on fire. Then all the creatures gradually grew quiet and lapsed into silence as they observed Hummingbird.  Hummingbird flew to the river and took a drop of water in her beak. He flew to the fire and dropped it on the flames.  Back to the water, picking up a drop of water, flying to the fire and dropping it.  On she went, relentless and unstoppable – flying to the river for a drop of water then flying to the fire and dropping it on the flames.  All the creatures were astounded.  Finally Bear shouted “Hummingbird, what do you think you are doing?”  Hummingbird flew to the river for another drop of water and dropped it onto the flames.  As she flew back to the river, he hovered for a moment in front of Bear and said – “The Best I Can.”

What is the best that you can do dear reader?

What is the best that I can do?

What is the best that our political and corporate leaders can do?

For the latter to emerge requires that we hold our leaders to account, and citizen activism on an unprecedented scale is necessary for that.  This is essential for the younger generation just coming into maturity and responsibility.  My generation has not left a healthy and viable planetary eco-niche for them to live in.  I offer a deep and humble apology to them for that neglect.  I ask of my generation of environmentalists, activist and organizers that they transfer their skills and knowledge to the younger generation.  To be mentors for the generation that has to do the heavy lifting to put things right on planet earth.  I will not be around to see the changes.  Yet I do posses a modicum of confidence. 

When I look at young people, I see beyond the ipods, electronic gadgetry and attitude to the deep intelligence that yearns for something better.  I love their in-your-face attitude, as that is the energy of determination that will drive them to put things into balance on Gaia.  They are not caught so readily by the identities and trade-offs that my generation is so good at entertaining.  They are breaking down the barriers of discrimination, storming the barricades of separation.  I have only one thing to ask of them.  That they slow down for a moment and hold out their hand.  For as long as I have a spark in this mind and a

breath in this  body – Take my hand for I am going with you!

Ian Prattis is a Zen teacher and author www.ianprattis.com

Healing The Inner Child

Healing the Inner Child                                                                         

The Territory of Suffering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjJJTuXjrNk

I turn to my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (Reconciliation: 2010: 64) to open this essay on Healing the Inner Child.

“Dealing with suffering is like handling a poisonous snake. We have to learn about the snake, and we ourselves have to grow stronger and more stable in order to handle it without hurting ourselves. At the end of this process, we will be ready to confront the snake. If we never confront it, one day it will surprise us and we will die of a snake bite. The pain we carry in the deep levels of our consciousness is similar. When it grows big and confronts us, there’s nothing we can do if we haven’t practiced becoming strong and stable in mindfulness. We should only invite our suffering up when we’re ready. Then, when it comes we can handle it. To transform our suffering, we don’t struggle with it or try to get rid of it. We simply bathe it in the light of our mindfulness.”

 First we have to develop and nurture our mindfulness, which means waking up to the reality of our suffering that we would rather avoid. There are clear warning signals if we choose to pay attention. We get caught in our dramas and find ourselves telling and retelling our stories to whomever will listen. We also court our suffering and keep it alive. We often engage in a competitive aspect – my suffering is bigger than yours. The courtship of suffering can be an ugly romance for we enter into a co-dependent relationship, which has to be called by its true name – Addiction. Physiologically and emotionally we become so tightly tied into our suffering that we cannot be without it even though it is destroying our well being. We grasp at brief insights that “Yes – this is suffering” – but deal only with surface appearances. Yet the surface exposure has a long history of gathering momentum and energy until it actually surfaces. The small snake has become a monster. The addiction to suffering is now embedded in our mental state. We respond to any glimpse of suffering with such destructive emotion that we reinforce the causes and conditions that created the suffering in the first place. And so we continue shooting ourselves in the foot, torpedoing our lives – over and over again.

Our suffering is caused by abuse – emotional, physical and sexual – and it becomes an organizing template in our mind. We then create an abusive relationship with that template’s qualities – addiction; fear; co-dependency. To stop the cycle of harm we need an OMG moment.  The insight that: OH MY GOD THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE. HOW DO I STOP IT? That insight has to arrive in the mind before we can apply ourselves to developing mindfulness as an antidote to the abusive relationship established with our suffering. It is an awesome realization to penetrate the darkness and realize that the abuse you have suffered has created an abusive relationship with yourself. Mindfulness practice can bring the abusive relationship to a halt. This is the required OMG moment that propels you to get to work. To go backwards from the surface and investigate the causes and conditions that placed you in such suffering. And so we learn the practices, tools and concentrations that support this journey of understanding suffering and taking care of it. We break the cycle through re-training and mindfulness practice. We equip ourselves for a journey to be well that requires our determination to practice mindfulness daily and ensure that we take refuge in wise support.

The Wounded Inner Child

Emotional, physical and sexual abuse during childhood creates a lost, frightened and frozen child within us.  If we are unable to reach this lost and wounded child then we may never heal ourselves.  We prefer not to remember the sufferings of childhood, so we bury them and hide.  We run away from seeing deeply into the causes of our suffering.  Whenever the memories arise, however fleetingly, we think we cannot handle them and deflect them into the deepest realms of our unconsciousness mind. This results in the wounded child not being seen for a long time simply because we are terrified of further suffering. Yet we have to find a way to reach the hurt child and make her safe. This means we have to get past the fear and address the suffering, realizing that it is suffering which provides the way through to awakening.

Although we may now be adult, there is also a little boy in us, a little girl in us, who is so afraid and suffers deeply, no matter what kind of happy pretend face we present to life.  This suffering child within our adult frame colors everything we do, generating our fears, insecurities and self loathing, wounding us in our relationships and life.  That wounded child is you, is me, and we must extend a different energy to him so that the energy of childhood suffering can be understood, defused and transformed. Mindfulness is the way through to the inner child. We have to embrace him, embrace her exactly where they are caught by the past – in fear and with anger at being neglected for so long. Moreover we have to be very skillful.

This means touching the seeds of childhood suffering from an adult state of being mindful and aware, knowing that we must make it safe for that child to come out from hiding behind the closed doors of suffering and pain.  It is we as adults who must no longer run away.  We must have the courage and awareness to bring healing to our hurt inner child and thereby produce a transformation for ourselves.  The steps we take are not only to heal ourselves, we somehow connect to all wounded children – those in our ancestors and descendants and elsewhere in the world.  For once we cultivate the seeds of mindful healing in ourselves, the energy of these seeds continues on into all that we interconnect with. A quantum leap from our cellular memories to everyone else’s throughout time and space. With awareness we take our inner child into our daily life, on picnics, walks, sitting at the dining room table and doing the dishes together. Patiently realizing that we are on a splendid adventure to bring the cycle of suffering to a close, for it may have persisted over generations. Thus we are healing and transforming generations of ingrained patterns transmitted from our ancestors and continued through us to our descendants. Such patterns build up like corrosive rust through time and amplify the fears and suffering of the wounded inner child.

Thich Nhat Hanh addressed the issue of child abuse in a Question and Answer session held in the Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France on the 17th October 1998.  Very gently he spoke about the ignorance and pain of the abuser as well as that of the abused, and stated clearly that understanding was the basis of recovery.  Not blaming or feeling guilt and shame, but seeing deeply and understanding.  First of all to understand that the person abusing must have lived under ignorant and deprived conditions without support, guidance or a wise teacher.  So much so that the power of ignorance was stronger than the person, and thus they were driven to do wrong things.  If the person abused can begin to understand just a little bit of that, then their anger, shame and outrage can transform into a droplet of compassion and through mindfulness practice their suffering can diminish. When forgiveness and understanding are there, suffering decreases.  The second step he suggested was to recommend that the person abused practice mindfulness, to transform herself into a Bodhisattva and engender the compassion to help and be of service to all children who need protection.  By merit of understanding the experience and recovery from abuse, such a person can practice and use their talents to promote measures to protect children.  This helps to eradicate the ignorance that generates abuse.

There are many techniques and methodologies of therapy that address issues of the inner wounded child.  The first one I am going to describe is simple and anyone can do it.  It is a first step and I recommend that it be practiced under the guidance of a therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.  You are going to start a diary or log book for you and the inner child to write to one another.  The adult you will write using the hand that you normally write with.  You begin by saying “hello” to Little John, to Little Allison.  Then go on to say how sorry you are for having been away and neglectful; that you are grown up now and strong, and that you are going to do everything to make it safe for Little John, for Little Allison.  They will be safe, loved and cherished.  Write in your own words along these lines.

Then with your other hand, the one you do not write with, allow the inner child to express herself.  Do not edit.  Just write down whatever comes out.  It may well be angry, blaming and abusive words that come out, and it is your job not to be shocked or defensive but to provide constant re-assurance, love and guidance.  You bring to this communication with the wounded inner child all the qualities of love, compassion and wisdom you can muster.  These are the seeds of mindfulness you consciously bring to support the wounded child inside you.  The energy of these seeds works on the energy of the traumatized inner child to reduce his pain and suffering.  Talk to him through writing in this way – with total love and acute mindfulness. Then read your diary entries out loud – placing yourself in your adult shoes and then in your inner child’s shoes. This simple act of reading out loud is a way for both of you to be heard. On a daily basis register with how deeply your understanding and love is getting through to the wounded child, for she is listening carefully to every word and knows that you are now listening to her. You draw closer – the adult and the inner child – as you bring awareness, love and healing to the suffering and pain of the child.

Details of trauma may be revealed that you did not know about, which is why you need the help and guidance of a trusted therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.  This is to support you being a wise and loving parent to your wounded child.  And with time you will notice shifts and changes in patterns of expression as the child becomes trusting and starts to grow, eventually merging fully with you as an adult.  (You also learn to write very well with your other hand!)  In your letters tell your inner child about yourself and your life, take him on outings, treats and give to that child all the care, attention and love you feel you did not receive when you were a little boy, a little girl.  The suffering will diminish and you will experience such a transformation, for you discover that your relationships with co-workers, friends and family start to change, and your fears of the past and anxieties about the future do not have the same driving force.  When you notice things like this tell your inner child: “Thank you for being with me.  That makes me so happy.”   The experience of being with the inner child in the healing journey is a stimulus for this kind of happiness.  There are times you may cry, or feel total joy and also suffer despair, which is why guidance and support is necessary on this beginning journey of reclaiming yourself.  You need that wise spiritual friend and teacher to keep you steady and mindful.  I know, for I went through it.  I am happy to say that it worked for me, as I experienced the painfully slow establishment of trust, then the exhilarating joy of safety and integration, until finally my inner child was the adult me, integrated with a freshness and vitality that I continually treasure.  Ultimately there is only one pair of shoes!

To support this journey there are other practices and meditations that are valuable for the steady process of healing. We have brought mindfulness, concentration and insight to our inner child and constantly enveloped him in the refreshing energy of transformation. We have worked diligently to nurture seeds of happiness, joy and safety in the consciousness of the inner child – the same seeds that are also in us, our ancestors and descendants. When despair and fear arise from the child we have the presence of mind to listen deeply and surround the fear with the stronger energy field of mindfulness. This is a deep and beautiful process because we are no longer running away or hiding from afflictions that have rendered us dysfunctional. Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Reconciliation tells us: “The capacity to be aware – that is, to be a human being who is mindful – is what will save us” (2010: 114).

Buddhist teachings contain a multitude of tools, concentrations and practices that can nurture this process. Such as The Five Remembrances, Five Year Old Child Meditation, Sutra on Mindful Breathing, Deep Relaxation, Touching The Earth and Removing The Object to mention only a few. In Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice center in France, he has provided a much loved practice gatha for the meditation community, which begins with “I have arrived, I am home.”  This is used in walking and other meditations as an instrument to concentrate on breath and be present.  In this way the fears and traumas of the past and anxieties about the future do not crowd in and overwhelm the mind.  The gatha with walking meditation, connected to in-breath and out-breath, provides an essential tool to take care of the many mental formations that flood our waking consciousness with fear, pain and suffering.  With daily diligent practice we can examine these same mental formations but from a place centered in mindfulness.  This simple gatha has become the dharma seal of Plum Village.

I: Inner Child Has Arrived Meditation

The Vietnamese origin of the gatha provides a penetrating tool to touch our inner child who suffers from trauma and abuse experienced in childhood.  It does not translate as:  “I have arrived, I am home.”  It translates as: “Your child has arrived, your child is home.”  This is so beautiful to say to yourself as you breathe in and out whenever you do walking meditation, for each step welcomes your wounded child to be well and to come home to you.  When you walk to your car or your office, by a river or in a park, you can be more specific and recite to yourself:

In-breath         “My inner child has arrived”

Out-breath       “My inner child is home.”

This is good practice, for with intelligence you use your conscious breath and concentration to heal, simply by welcoming your wounded inner child home through the practice of being present.  We are capable of arriving in every moment of practice, whether it is sitting meditation, walking meditation, having a mindful meal, taking a shower or doing laundry.  Being present in each moment is a way of practice that welcomes home the injured, frightened inner child harmed by abuse.

In order to heal it is necessary to cultivate the internal energy of mindfulness before stopping and looking deeply into what caused the fears and traumas of abuse.  The practice of arriving in each moment nurtures that strength.  From the space of clarity provided by locating yourself in the present moment, not only is your inner child welcomed home, there is also the lucidity of mindfulness practice to deal with the ghosts of the past and at the same time put the ghosts of future anxiety to rest.

In-Breath:        My inner child has arrived

Out Breath:      My inner child is home

II:  Love Meditation for the Inner Child

Another tool is to adapt the Four Brahmaviharas meditation to focus on the injured inner child and is based on the Buddha’s teachings on Love.  Prepare for meditation by sitting comfortably with the spine erect.  Bring your concentration and focus to breath on the In-breath and breath on the Out-breath.  After ten or twenty breaths, whenever you feel calm and stable, begin by bringing each of the components – Love, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity – into yourself, the adult you.  The next sequence now provides a focus and concentration to water the seeds of Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity within your inner child.

In-breath                     I bring Love

Out-breath                   to my inner child.

You can say a loving name for your inner child if you wish.  Say silently “Dear Mary” or “Darling Joseph.”  Feel the energy of love fill you from top to toe and register with the energy for several breaths.  Then continue in the same way with:

In-breath                     I bring Compassion

Out-breath                   to my inner child

In-breath                     I bring Joy

Out-breath                   to my inner child

In-breath                     I bring Equanimity

Out-breath                   to my inner child

Then conclude the meditation by once more bringing Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity to the adult you.  This meditation nurtures the wounded inner child wonderfully and at the same time nurtures the adult you.  The Buddha’s teachings on Love provide the foundation for this Love meditation to the wounded inner child.  The concentration on these four qualities is an incredibly powerful instrument for healing.  I do not have the words to adequately describe the impact but Thich Nhat Hanh does:

The Buddha says if we gather together all the virtuous actions we have realized in this world, they are not equal to practicing love meditations………If we collect together all the light from the stars, it will not be as bright as the light of the moon.  In the same way, practicing love meditation is greater than all other virtuous actions combined.

 There are many other methods of meditation and practice that could be documented here.  I felt it appropriate to indicate some of the ones I used to good effect in my process of healing.  These were practices that accompanied the shamanic healing conducted in an Altered State of Consciousness (See Healing Journeys in Portals and Passages: Book 2).  One factor that was very important is that I was determined to heal once understanding dawned in my consciousness.  From that awareness I took specific steps and relied on wise teachers, medicine women and steady friends to help me along the path of healing and transformation.  I must emphasize that this is not a journey that can be taken alone, so do ensure that you have support from your sangha and good guidance from a therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.

Ian is the author of Eighteen Books (www.ianprattis.com ) He has given talks and retreats all over the world. He now stays local in Ottawa to help turn the tide just a little in his home city so that good things begin to happen spontaneously.

THE FIVE MINDFULNESS TRAININGS

I did wonder about placing the 5 Mindfulness Trainings in a University class on Ecology. However, students and those viewing the video wrote in about how much they appreciated seeing environmental ethics from this perspective.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings presented as Environmental Ethics was a big hit for students at Carleton University in Ottawa, Class Two on “Deep Ecology” in my 12 week course on Ecology and Culture (2000 – 2004). Originally produced through the facilities of Carleton University.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqZWfeHMW1o