Jack Kornfield shares how we can apply parenting wisdom to our personal spiritual practice to heal and train our inner child.
This dharma talk was recorded on Jan 1st, 1988 at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and originally published on Dharma Seed.
Training The Inner Child
In this dharma talk from Jan 1st, 1988 at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Jack Kornfield offers insightful wisdom on training the inner child. Taking lessons presented through child rearing, Jack invites us inward to mindfully tend our inner growth, learning how to heal/grieve our childhood wounding, love, and let go. Opening the podcast by sharing stories of the Buddha, and the contemplative poem Hunches on Childhood by Kent T. Hoffman, Jack opens the possibility for nourishing the spiritual child inside each of us.
“In a way, what we’re doing is rearing our inner child—our spiritual child—learning to nourish, or love, or discipline, and there’s a certain balance in that.” – Jack Kornfield
Learn how a mindful parent can help raise a mindful child, with Sharon Salzberg, on Ep. 103 of the Metta Hour
Wise Attention, Love, Energy, Limits, & Trust (13:16)
Jack illuminates some of the key ingredients needed for mindfully and spiritually raising our inner child: attention, love, energy, setting limits, and trust. Without these components as a strong foundation, he warns that children won’t flourish, nor will a spiritual practice. From here, he applies the metaphor of ‘tending our inner garden’ to exemplify self-growth and the cultivation of concentration, presence, & equanimity.
“Primarily, we need to give attention, love, and energy—it’s called Wise Attention in Buddhist practice. We need to give attention to our inner child, just as we need to give attention to anyone we have in our charge as a child that we’re trying to raise.” – Jack Kornfield
Like the metaphor? Dive deeper into the dirt with Jack, in a Dharma talk on tending the garden of the heart, on Ep. 73 of Heart Wisdom
Balance, Wisdom, Truth, & Growth (32:32)
To bring the podcast home, Jack shares poetry, readings, and answers many heartfelt audience questions around parenting, child psychology, spirituality, and life concerns; focusing in on the importance of balance, wisdom, and truth in our personal endeavors. Through these, just as healthy children grow, so can our inner spiritual child.
“Wisdom comes most deeply from seeing what is true, and relating to that wisely. It’s not so much changing ourselves, but the wisdom will grow, as children grow, as independence grows, freedom grows when we see what is true and say, ‘Yes, this is true,’ and open ourselves to relate to that.” – Jack Kornfield