Thich Nhat Hanh uses mindfulness and meditation as tools to apply to childhood wounds. His voice is ever calm and compassionate, creating a safe space for the reader to look at their pain without judgment or shame. He addresses the child inside all of us and asks to pay loving attention to the child within. If we experience old wounding, he advises us to speak to that child and say, ‘”Darling, I am here for you. I will take good care of you. I know that you suffer so much. I have been so busy. I have neglected you, and now I have learned a way to come back to you.”‘ He encourages us to speak to our inner child several times a day, continuing to make peace with the traumas of our past. When we establish this practice of nurturing and loving ourselves, we are better equipped to see others in their suffering and meet them with the same love and compassion.
He asks us to look at how interconnected we all are. When we see ourselves as separate and removed from others, that is when resentment and anger build. “Reconciliation means leaving behind our dualistic view and our tendency to want to punish the other person. Reconciliation opposes all forms of ambition, but reconciliation doesn’t take sides. Most of us want to take sides in a conflict. We distinguish right from wrong based on partial evidence or hearsay. We think we need indignation in order to act. But even legitimate, righteous indignation isn’t enough. Our world doesn’t lack people who are willing to throw themselves into action! What we need are people who are capable of loving and not taking sides so that they can embrace the whole of reality.”
We can find happiness in our sense of belonging to this life. We can meditate by taking conscious breaths and reminding ourselves that with each breath, we are alive. We can place a half smile on our faces to soften from the harshness. By becoming aware of who we are and where we come from, we are able to send love to the parts of our bodies that hurt and to the child inside of us that still needs healing. We are capable of loving and befriending ourselves just as naturally as we do with those we cherish most. He introduces the notion that we can have a relationship with ourselves and allow ourselves the healing that we’ve always wished for, even without the reconciliation from those who have hurt us. What an empowering message.