Buddha Nature: Awakening the Inner Child.

In Buddhism, there is the concept of Buddha Nature. Buddha Nature is a state of true compassion, peace, joy, and love for all living beings. Buddha Nature is something we are born with but lose sight of as society covers it with misconceptions, beliefs, myths, and fear.

Who did you want to be when you were a child? Before your family, friends, and your culture told you what to be? The photo above is me playing with Andy circa 1993.

Over the last couple months, I have dealt with old emotional wounds that lay deep inside me from childhood. It wasn’t easy but was much needed for my emotional health and to be at peace. In this difficult & turbulent time period, I also awakened to my inner child inside of me. I started remembering who I was at that time period and who I wanted to be as an adult.

As a small child, I remember envisioning myself to be a kind, strong, healthy, and compassionate adult who helped others. I idolized police officers, firemen, sports athletes, and ninjas for their strength, humility, and bravery. They were peaceful warriors to me who showed strength and compassion. Superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, and Batman emphasized strength, compassion, and humility. They protected the most vulnerable.

As a small child, I remember loving animals so much. I loved all different types of animals with full-hearted compassion. I never would want to hurt another life form. I still remember the day my parents told me what beef was and I was horrified that a cow died and that the juice was cows blood. The day I found out about factory farming was a traumatic experience. I couldn’t believe such a barbaric, inhumane, and unethical institution was allowed. I didn’t realize I could become a vegan to protect the most vulnerable until I was an adult. I suppressed this traumatic experience and continued to eat meat for the next 15 years. This post isn’t all about veganism but veganism is what sparked my transformation into diving deep into my inner child. By showing the most vulnerable (animals) true compassion by my actions I started the process of showing true compassion to myself, others, and the environment. Our true nature as children is to love animals. Society tries to turn that compassion into apathy and we are forced to accept that we have no control over the horrible things happening in the world.

Somewhere in my teens, I lost most of this inner child and I suffered tremendously for it.

I used to smile constantly, dance, be silly, and loved helping others. Around 10 years old, kids started making fun of me for smiling too much (smiley was my nickname) and adults (sports coaches) would shame me for smiling in serious situations. Soon I was taught that smiling, helping others, and being silly was feminine and weak. I started portraying myself more as a serious Mafioso than a fun loving child. My idols turned into Al Capone, Scarface, Charlie Sheen, Tupac, Lil Wayne, and Eminem. I suddenly didn’t smile much anymore, only grind danced, and didn’t help others because no one is helping me. I started not to give a f$%# about anymore, including myself. Eventually, this attitude led me down the path of infidelity, substance abuse, gambling addiction, and anxiety/depression. My inner child was buried under years of fear, judgment, hatred, and myths of masculinity.

As I awaken my inner-child, I feel more inner strength and confidence than I have ever felt before. I have smiled more in the last two months than the past 5 years. I have laughed, joked, and shown love to others. I feel more at peace with myself than I have ever felt. I have finally started my journey as a Peaceful Warrior. My weapons are compassion, empathy, love, and forgiveness. I will never have the strength of Superman or the Ninja Turtles, but I can show compassion and humility to the most vulnerable as they did.

Get back to what you loved to do as a child. Figure out what motivated you and made you happy. Be silly, smile, dance, laugh, and enjoy the simple things in life again. Be curious about the world again. Let go of the stories that hold you back from achieving peace, freedom, and enjoyment in life.

With Aloha,

Johnny Hoffman

 

 

 

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My Mission: To Alleviate Suffering in All Living Beings.

Aloha my brothers and sisters,

My mission is to alleviate as much suffering as I can in all living beings. It’s a lofty mission, but I’m excited to take it on as my life’s purpose. But first of all, I have to alleviate the suffering in my own life. How can I  fully help others suffer less if I can’t help myself?

It has been quite a month for me. For quite some time now I have had this lingering tension on the left side of my abdominal area which reached all the way to the left side of my jaw. I couldn’t figure out why I had this tension. At first, I was numbing it with alcohol every night which was getting out of control. The alcohol worked to alleviate the tension momentarily but the following day it would reappear. I was resisting this tension, which was causing me to suffer. A couple weeks ago, I was driving to work and the tension was almost unbearable, like a thousand tightly wound knots in my abdomen. I finally surrendered to the tension and accepted it. I did more than accept it, I showed compassion and love to it. My tension went away for 15 minutes of pure bliss and joy. I felt like I was floating in the sky or on an LSD trip. I enjoyed looking at the West Maui mountains as tears of joy went down my face. Soon though, I was back to the reality of my tension in my abdomen. Something awakened in me in that moment, I had to stop resisting pain and start accepting it for me to live a more peaceful life with less suffering. I had awoken to my mission to alleviate suffering in the world.

Fast forward two weeks. My meditation practice has been stronger than ever and I’m focusing on reducing my suffering. I eliminate alcohol and porn from my life because they both contribute to my own suffering. I also switched to a plant-based diet to help reduce suffering in myself, animals, and the planet. By changing my habits and intentionally reducing suffering in the world, I invoked suffering that was deep in my subconscious.

In my deep 30 minute meditations, I suddenly find myself reliving old memories from my childhood. All of these memories are either pure rage or rumination over unskillful actions I have done in my past (stealing, cheating, lying). Instead of judging or running from these memories, I choose to accept, love, and show compassion to myself. I imagine myself as a child, filled with rage, confusion, and fear.

Pain doesn’t decompose. Pain lives in us until we confront it with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Suppressing this pain never works.

“What you resist, will persist.” -Carl Yung

What could be more logical than showing compassion, love, and forgiveness to yourself? What could be more insane than hating, judging, and running away from yourself? Clearly, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our wrongdoings but after that is done with, we must forgive and love ourselves. As a child, I would throw temper tantrums when things didn’t go my way. I would have mental breakdowns when playing golf, basketball, or even when my favorite teams lost in the playoffs. This pain still lives on within me because I suppressed and ran away from it. I judged myself and labeled my former self as a sensitive, weak, and inferior version of myself. In my teen years, I was calm and collective for the most part because I vowed to never be that inferior self again.

Yesterday afternoon I fell apart and broke down. So many emotions running through my body. So much pain, suffering, joy, and pure bliss all mixed into one moment.  The tension was truly alleviated once I showed true compassion, love, and forgiveness to my darker side. Radical acceptance was key to ending my suffering and I believe it is key to alleviating the suffering of mankind. So many of us are hurt by old wounds that never properly healed. The people who hurt the most, hurt others. Almost all horrendous acts done by humankind are rooted in hurt individuals who look to cause suffering to others because they themselves are in so much pain.

I’m excited to share my journey to a more meaningful and peaceful life. I thank you all for reading this blog post. By reading this post, you help me live out my purpose to alleviate suffering in all living beings.

“When we learn how to suffer, we suffer much less.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

With the Aloha Spirit,

Johnny Hoffman