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Finding Your Inner Parent: 
A Meditation

Who's gonna take care of that Inner Child?

 A note on meditation:  There is no "right" way to reflect.  You might want to simply read through the following, or you might want to print off this page and have someone read it to you, or you can make a tape of yourself reading the words.  You can do a relaxation first, or not.  You might want to have a journal ready to write down what you feel as you finish the meditation.  

If you feel like you need to stop at any time, please do so.  You may experience powerful feelings from doing meditation, or no feelings, or anything in between. If you have painful emotions emerge, please treat yourself gently. Doing an exercise that puts you in touch with your body may put you in touch with emotions you have "lived above the chin" to avoid.  Treat yourself with compassion. You might like some comforting  -  a hug or a soothing bath or a talk with a trusted friend.  Consider writing down what you are feeling.

You can do this meditation more than once; in fact, it can be a regular practice to help you build up an awareness of your "inner parent."  You might also break its three parts into three meditations.

* * * * 

Close your eyes and let your awareness settle gradually on your breath, traveling in . . and out. You do not need to try to breathe, your breath just breathes itself effortlessly. Allow yourself to feel the support of the cushions beneath you and behind you, the floor beneath your feet. Notice any sensations in your body: places where you may feel an itch, or an ache, chill or warmth, or an emptiness, or a fullness . . . or even places that seem to have disappeared and feel numb. Just sit with this awareness of you body for a moment.

Imagine the path of your breath, traveling into and out of your body.  As it comes in it warms your body, flowing through your nose, down your throat, into your lungs. You can imagine that it keeps flowing down, warming your stomach, your pelvis, radiating out into your limbs, all the way to the tips of your fingers and toes.  Your breath travels through your body, and as you breath out, you take any tension that it finds out of your body. Like a warm ocean wave, your breath brings in relaxation, and takes away tension.  Feel these waves for a few moments. 

PART I.   Now think about a time when you felt small and alone.  It might or might not be a time when you were actually a child.  Maybe it was a time you felt somewhat abandoned, or maybe it was a time you felt somewhat powerless.  It doesn't have to be a big dramatic event, just a time when you needed the intervention of someone bigger and stronger and wiser to take care of you.

Let yourself envision the setting and yourself in it.  What do you see?  Hear?  Feel?  Smell?  What is going on?

Make the scene as vivid as possible in your mind's eye.

Now  imagine your adult self, at your most confident and nurturing, stepping into the scene.  First just have her perceive what is going on.  What does your adult self make of this scene?  How does she make sense of what is happening?

Next, have her intervene in some way. Maybe she says something or does something to defend you.  Maybe she says something or does something to make you feel less alone.  Maybe she says something or does something to comfort you.  Again, try to see this as vividly as possible.

How does your vulnerable self experience the intervention of this wise adult self?  Let yourself feel whatever comes up for as your adult self takes care of you.

Is there anything you would like to say to this adult self?

PART II.  Now let yourself imagine how this adult self, who you can picture as your "inner parent," can help you throughout your day.  What would she do for you throughout your day, if her job was to take care of you with all her wisdom and compassion and strength and skills?  Notice whatever thoughts come to mind about how she would care for you.  Maybe there are a couple things that would really change about your day.  Try to picture these things and how they would be different.  Notice any feelings you have about the way your day would be different. 

Notice any feelings you are having as you let these images come and go.  Perhaps you are feeling some positive feelings, and perhaps there are also some angry or frustrated feelings too. Let all of your feelings be present and just notice them.

PART III.   Think of a time during your day when you want to be aware of this "inner parent."  It could be any time of your day, but pick a situation that usually happens as a matter of your daily routine already.  Whatever this time and place is, it only needs to allow you a few moments of reflection.  

What is happening at this time of day? Visualize the environment in as much detail as possible - sights, sounds, smells, sensations of touch, temperature, texture, etc.  Now visualize yourself  thinking of your inner parent and visualizing her presence.  Imagine yourself having feelings about being aware of her. 

Resolve to let this situation trigger the thought of your inner parent so that you can feel her presence, sincerely and deeply, every day.

Notice any thoughts or feelings you are having before you allow your awareness to return to the room.

 * * * *

You may want to write about the feelings that came up for you during the meditation.  Remember, you may have had powerful feelings or no feelings, or anything in between. There is no "right" set of feelings or images. Try to encourage an attitude of curiosity and respect for whatever your experience is.

Questions to prompt your writing:

  • How did you feel doing the meditation?

  • What scene did you envision?

  • How did your adult self makes sense of this scene?

  • What did she do or say to take care of you?

  • What did you feel about being taken care of?

  • What did you want to say to her? 

  • What ways did you imagine your inner parent helping you throughout your day? 

  • How would your daily routine change?  How would you feel about this change?

  • What situation in your daily routine will trigger the awareness of your inner parent?

  • Anything else?

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Last updated: March 05, 2011.