HomeVolume 9May 2024 Reconnect with your inner child

DR. JOSEPH HOWELL is the founder of The Institute for Conscious Being in the US. During his keynote address at the Global Spirituality Mahotsav, he guided the audience through an exercise to help them find spiritual connection by connecting to their inner child. 


For a moment, if you will do this for me:

Gently close your eyes and picture in your mind’s eye the home, the dwelling, the apartment, the house in which you spent the earliest part of your life.  

Now, look at that dwelling. You were one year old, two years old, three years old, maybe four. And as you look at it, look at the windows and the doors, look at the colors. 

Now, look at where you played the most. Was it on the grass, was it in a playground, was it in your private garden, was it in the common area of an apartment building? 

As you picture this in your mind, look at the little being who is you, playing in those places. Look at that beautiful little child with expressive eyes, with excitement, with tenderness, with vulnerability, with awe, with surprise, and only two wishes: to love and to be loved. Hold me and let me hold you. This little child with those beautiful eyes is sitting in the playground or the yard or the garden, full of hope for what life is to be. And the child radiates that hope. 

Sadly, that little child—our soul child—has to go under a crust because the demands and harshness and woundings of this world will not allow that precious innocence to survive in all its purity. So, by age five or six, sometimes seven, we have put on a layer of protection, and it is called the ego. We must have an ego. It gives us a way to move through the world. It gives us protection from the wounds that our little vulnerable self could not bear. 

And as that child grows, the ego grows with it, with you and me. At one point, we became a defensive personality that said to the world, “You can’t hurt me because I’m powerful, or because I’m okay, or because I’m right, or because I’m giving.” We decided what our ego-strategy was going to be.



Put your hearts together, and let
them beat in coherence. Join with
your soul so that your life can face
any shock point, and do it with
dignity and compassion, and holy
strength and holy faith.

Then, by midlife, and for some of us sooner, there was a shock point. That shock point took us into a land of pain and suffering, because we realized that the ego never did have a way to successfully block the pain, suffering, shame, anger, and alienation. 

When we were teenagers, we were searching for an identity. Instead of going back to our soul child, we found our identity in groups. And now, so many are finding their identity in social media. What a false self we are presenting for our children to embrace. 

What is it that we can be if we are not the ego? Who is it that we can be that brings hope again, that brings love again, that brings light again? The answer is our soul. The soul now has a purpose, a meaning, and a way, with the ego’s help, to be protected, because the ego can now serve the purpose of the soul. 

So, I’d like to tell you how to find the qualities of your soul again. Well, in my tradition, the great teacher Jesus Christ said, “You cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless you become as a little child.” 

In my opinion, we have to return to our first identity, which is our true nature. That’s found in the little being you saw in that yard or playground just a few minutes ago. 




Close your eyes again. I’d like for you to picture that child one more time. Look into her or his eyes. See the purity, the beauty, the willingness to love and be loved. Now feel the heart of that child. And now, if you will go to that child and sit by them, and put your arms around that little being. Put your hearts together, and let them beat in coherence. Join with your soul so that your life can face any shock point, and do it with dignity and compassion, and holy strength and holy faith.

Illustrations by LAKSHMI GADDAM


Dr. Joseph Howell

Dr. Joseph Howell

Dr. Howell is a clinical psychologist and the founder of the Institute for Conscious Being, near Atlanta, USA. He is an Enneagram Authority and author of Becoming Conscious: The Enneagram Forgotten Passageway and his upcoming book... Read More