Lord Frederic Leighton (English Painter and Sculptor, 1830-1896)
The Inner Child’s Journey
Our Inner Child can be followed through time to recover the innocence and joy that was lost before we became wounded adults. We are born into this world as Essence, and then become affected by our primary caregivers and close environment, that either nurture or fail to nurture us appropriately. This is not to point blame; it is simply to understand and heal the reasons why we suffer. Through time, we acquire our Personality, which esoterically consists of what is known as Psychological "I"s or egos, but this is not our True Self. Those with traumatic childhoods may develop strong Personality defenses to cope with and survive difficult life situations; some may manifest what are known as Personality Disorders. The Personality or the false self consists of selective memories, our perceptions of experiences, and it may imitate others. It is prone to pointing blame, holding accounts, developing rigid beliefs systems, and such. These qualities of our being are outside of our Essence. In other words, what we take to be our true self is actually an acquired false self. As the Personality grows, we are no longer conscious beings and become increasingly dense. As our false self internalizes more and more life impressions, it creates not one, but many Psychological 'I's or egos. The Personality is similar to an ark, taking in and housing impressions or mental formations, while it floats on the sea of life. These impressions create the "I"s or egos, and then these egos become the filters through which we see future impressions. As we continue to pull experiences through our internal filters, we give birth to more egos or "I"s. Each "I" or ego is rooted in one of the Seven Deadly Sins (the inverted virtues and their variations) that Christ warned us of: pride, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, fear, and anger. The development of Personality and ego, however, is an essential part of our early human development. The Personality creates and organizes the "I"s or egos and uses them as defensive coping mechanisms, protecting our physical and psychological survival. These defenses are noticeably destructive in people from traumatic origins. The most severe example of this would be Dissociated Personality Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. A more moderate example would be a child who suppresses his overwhelming fear due to his drug addict mother being terribly neglectful of his needs. The fact of her unavailability is more than his cognitive development can process at this age, for he is literally dependant on her for his survival. So, through an ego state of denial he may successfully suppress his overwhelming feelings of insecurity, fear, and anger at seeing his mother as not being there for him. His Psychological "I" or ego of denial will continue to be strengthened while it serves to protect him. And through this unconscious learning process with her, he creates a pattern of seeing love objects and his attachment to them in a certain way. This would not have been the case if he had experienced early on a healthier (more reliable) attachment figure. Years later, denial of his true feelings and needs, patterns of fear-based attachments, and repressed anger triggered within intimate relationships (especially toward women) all have become ingrained unconscious parts of his Personality. This may also become linked up with additional unhealthy behaviors created in order to soothe him from the anxiety that comes from suppressing the emotions, such as addictions and unhealthy lifestyles potent enough to distract him from this inner world of turmoil. So, his suffering in adult life continues to be cast from the same childhood mould which was an unconscious--but necessary--tool for survival that shielded him from frightening emotions that were beyond his ability to cope with or handle. This defense mechanism, though a good survival tool in young age, now works unconsciously in his adult life, creating suffering and contaminating his relationships. This defense mechanism of denial, however, is only one ego or "I". Fear, distrust and anger are three others. So, several ego manifestions or Psychological "I"s appeared within a short time of his life. These were acquired and were not present before he was exposed to the woman he knew of as mother. This illustration is to provide a picture to help us see how this is true. For, if we can't see that our internal defense mechanisms are truly acquired, and so separate parts within ourselves, then we will not be able to rid ourselves of them. If we are in fact born with these traits, we could not return to a more peaceful experience prior to having them. The Work is not so much about adding something, as it is about ridding ourselves of something. We need to rid ourselves of our acquired conditioning. If we learned from childhood, as this boy did, that love is the color gray, then all our experiences of love will be shades of gray. His deepest beliefs hold him in a particular magnetic field that draws more of the same. So, if seeing gray is the same as saying "all people are unreliable", then by our selective seeing, we project these "truths" into our world. If there was a "blue" person or experience right next to the "gray", it would be filtered out by our selective seeing. This is not seeing, it is projecting. Life taken in through the filters of the "I"' is merely a banquet of tainted impressions. As the Personality swallows these impressions, it nourishes itself, and strengthens our ego's identification with them, thus creating more similar patterns of suffering. Our "gray" impressions are not reality, but seem very real to the human “machine” we call ‘I'. As we live from this false self, unconsciously suffering, we fall further away from the Truth of our Being, and further away from the Light. The Personality is like a tar, a negative substance, that adheres itself to our Essence. Eventually, we become mere shadows of what we are. Consciousness sees through a clearer lens that is unobscured by tainted impressions of the "I"s or egos. The human race uses merely three percent of consciousness. This means we are mechanically living and reacting ninety-seven percent of the time from what is false and unconscious.We react from this area because we lack understanding and the tools required to change. As we are, we are lost to our true Selves. But, the true Self is remembered and preserved within the Inner Child.
Stop and listen to your internal dialogue. Pay close attention to its mechanical chatter. No doubt you will find it unstoppable and uncontrollable. Unfortunately, we think we are this chatter; but it belongs to the false self, the Personality, egos, or the "I"s. You may notice it is as if there is a constant conflict going on within different internal wills. They remind us who did what to us, they keep us attached to negative emotions regarding ourselves and others, and a world that seems to bring about unfair suffering. The "I" that swore to a diet in the morning was overruled that night by an "I" that said, "One piece of cake won't hurt." The "I" that recalls and holds accounts regarding who has hurt you, is upheld by another "I" that prevents you from remembering when you did the same thing to someone else. Each "I" tries to steal our awareness and to have its way. When we surrender our energy to it (the "I"s), we are imprisoned and made its slave, and we suffer. This is the drama of the “false self” which we believe to be us, and like insects our attention is lured to and trapped in the web of its perception of history. Without understanding the illusions of the "'I", we cannot know that we are trapped, so we cannot become free. Our life will never change because internally we cannot change. The saying, "the ego goes ahead of us and paves our way" is true; that is until we decide to Awaken. Before this, we can only know and create what we have known and done all our lives. This is because we have a mental blueprint, an emotional map, created by the "I"s impressions; and so, we are controlled by its destiny to repeat it. We blame the outside world, but we don't see the "I"s creating our experience of the world. Believing we are in fact this asylum of "I"s, we cannot empty ourselves; and so, we remain trapped. The Light of our Essence is as if smothered, covered by a garb of Personality or false self, so we live a false life. How can we see His Light through so much inner darkness? How can we hear His voice from the depth of our abyss? We must empty ourselves, and as the Gospels teach, “become nothing to become something" in order to be free and healthy human beings.
Jesus said, “Become as little children to enter the Kingdom.” To become as little children again does not mean to become a literal child! It means to return to the state in which we were born: return to our Essence. And our Inner Child knows the way. She holds the key to the door of our inner dungeon where these demons ("I"s) were created and since have been thriving. But, she also remembers all the reasons we created them, and those reasons are what need to be healed.
Inner Child Work
(The Child's Journey)
I do not know for sure how I discovered the Inner Child Work, but I do remember when and where. My internal crisis seemed to erupt suddenly out of nowhere. It was later I knew that it had been triggered by another hurtful relationship. I was alone in my apartment performing a simple task , when suddenly I broke down, wailing and crying as never before. For many years my life had been painful, but I had repressed those feelings with addictions, sex, unhealthy relationships, and other self-destructive behaviors. After a time of sobbing, although I was alone, I suddenly “saw” a little girl standing right in front of me. Her back was to me. Her hair was matted as if no one had ever combed it for her. She was dirty as if no one had ever cared to wash her. Her chin was down, and she was untrusting and afraid of me. She would not even look at me; she did not trust me enough to not hurt her too. I simply knew that she was my Inner Child. I also knew that I had abandoned her just as everyone else had seemed to. And I knew that she did not trust me to take care of her, to love her or help her, because I never had. I had rejected myself throughout my life just as all others seemed to, from my family down through history. When I convinced her finally to come to me, I held this wounded “Child” and I sobbed more violently. I was filled with pain and a deep joy that words cannot describe. I knew from that point on what I needed to do: I had to love and heal her. And I knew if I didn't that I would die. I also knew intuitively that she would be my most important project ever. I decided then that I needed to be her “parent" and to "re-parent" and nurture her as she had not been. I lived from that moment on to heal her. When this journey began that day, I suddenly found a real purpose to live.
Within just seven months of caring for my Inner Child, she matured from five to seventeen years of age. I felt more and more like a whole and healthier person each day. I kept my promise to provide her whatever she said she needed by me to feel safe and loved. That promise initially meant I stopped seeing people that I had been involved with, including a sexual relationship that I had been struggling to end. We were alone, her and I, but it was one of the most fulfilling, happiest, liberating months of my life. I documented our Journey through daily observations of what was changing inside myself after I had become my own "surrogate parent." I worked diligently to gain my Inner Child's respect and trust, and to be sure she knew that she was the most important thing in the world to me. I realized very early on that she was in fact the most important part of me, and I knew that she held the key to my emotional and psychological salvation. My Inner Child taught me the deeper meaning of Jesus’ words, “You must become as a child to enter the Kingdom." I learned so much about God from her. And because of my Inner Child's clear memory, her natural wisdom, her gratitude for life, and her ability to remember God, we healed many wounds. We repaired fragmented stages of her development, as I as her "parent" loved and honored her back from the grave. We healed childhood traumas and ungrieved loses, and we regained our rightful position beside God. From here--our true spiritual origin--we found the Divine Father-Mother of our first creation. And in that, we discovered the truth of our life as being meaningful and holy because of the One who created it. Here we did not find self-esteem, but rather "God-Esteem"; and a love for Self was born that no human or life experience could spoil.
Do you believe it is true that things may exist that we cannot see or physically touch? If it isn't true, how can we feel love, have faith, or believe in God? More practically, how do our cell phones work, or televisions; or our minds, as no surgeon has ever cut open our brain to find our thoughts? There is an energetic life form within our being that is our Inner Child.
Sscientist's studies on people who've had dysfunctional traumatic childhoods show the frontal lobes of their brains to be underdeveloped. If emotional reactions (simple energetic stimulation) due to lack of nurturing can create physical changes in the brain, then perhaps it is possible to go energetically back in time and heal some of what went wrong. A powerful process occurs within Inner Child Work With her as our guide, we voyage back through undeveloped stages of childhood and moments of still needed healing, nurturing and development. And through healthy self-love and self-nurturing, that we didn't have before, we may be able to heal much. Through a guided meditation we find our Inner Child. This opens the dungeon door and we rescue her from her internal hiding place, and as we project her outside, we give her a voice. God's Light illuminates the cave that housed her, and by exposing her wounds to the light the demons flees. Our honest intent to heal her and to face our fears provides the ability to make this journey possible. By following her special wisdom, we travel a sacred road back in time toward healing. And through this journey, we discover healthy Self-regard and healthy Self-love. The Inner Child lights a path that takes us back to our true Essence.
(*Inner Child Work is for men and woman and it is optional to therapy.)
(Inner Child Work is the opinions and beliefs of Linda Dow and not necessarily those of the S.O.U.L Clinic or ULC)