We are all adults, living in an adult world. But how many of us are in the actual sense ‘adults’? Majority of us just grow old but psychologically speaking, this is not adulthood. True adulthood hinges on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one’s own inner child. For most adults, this never happens. Instead, their inner child lives a life of denial, neglect, abandonment or rejection. They spend their whole lives, seeing the reality through the eyes of the child inside them, the child that is wounded, hurt, frightened, frozen and or angry.
How many of us can boast of having a child inside us that is happy, exuberant and full of excitement and curiosity. It is in the depths of our deep pain and suffering, that this wounded child has hid himself. The inner child is not seen, but he colors all our dealings and behaviours. We dont want to see that child in us. We keep up happy pretentions, but the pain of that child stays with us always. We want to avoid, deny, repress, ignore, distract, dissociate or simply repress it. We dont want to face it. We are afraid of the pain as we feel ourselves incapable of handling our suffering.
It is the trauma that leads to shock and/or confusion, further to denial; how could my care givers do this? But when the same trauma happens again and again, it is validated and a decision is formed (which is necessary for survival). Trauma doesnt have to be a major one. It can be as trivial (to the eyes of adult) as the mother/caregiver did not come when the child was hungry and was crying for food. The decision, ‘nobody cares for me’. Or when the teacher calls the parent to discuss something and they don’t discuss it in front of the child. The child being egocentric assumes that it is something related to him only. The decision; ‘they don’t trust me’. In the NOW time, whenever something similar happens to trigger this encapsulated energy, the past literally collapses onto the present. We then reach to the trauma as if it is happening right now.
The primary motivation of a human is to survive. Bonding with mother is the most primal connection at birth. Trauma happens late when the mother is busy and has day to day life. Then the baby might feel rejected or abandoned. All the children are egocentric, because it aids their survival. We also learn very early to adapt to our parents. We try to meet the needs of our parents. These decisions are made in the womb or pre-birth. Now, the child is coping with parents’ needs, family dysfunction and its own trauma. How is it possible that the child lives in harmony? The only way to seek harmony is to distort oneself.
These distortions are the defense mechanisms which we have learnt to survive and to protect ourselves from pain and suffering.
How do I again be the ‘divine child’ and discard all the lies, all the masks and discover the authentic, ‘real self’ of my being.
It is the journey of transformation of ‘the wounded child’ to a ‘Divine Child’, that is our aim.
Some of the things that I have seen when we remain unconscious of the pain of the child in us, are: co-dependency, trust issues, self criticism, anxiety, fear, difficulties with intimacy, depression, low self-esteem, irritation (because of suppressed anger), excessive need of approval or attention. Many leading authors like John Bradshaw, Erika Chopnich, Margaret Paul and Charles Whitfield have written about the importance of building a relationship with the inner child. 12 step program also mentions it.
John Bradshaw, in his famous book, ‘Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child’, writes about the process of healing your wounded inner child is one of grief, and it involves these six steps(paraphrased from Bradshaw):
1. Trust: For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, he must be able to trust that you will be there for him. Your inner child also needs a supportive, non-shaming ally to validate his abandonment, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. Those are the first essential elements in original pain work.
2. Validation:If you’re still inclined to minimize and/or rationalize the ways in which you were shamed, ignored, or used to nurture your parents, you need now to accept the fact that these things truly wounded your soul. Your parents weren’t bad, they were just wounded kids themselves.
3. Shock and Anger:If this is all shocking to you, that’s great, because shock is the beginning of grief. It’s okay to be angry, even if what was done to you was unintentional. In fact, you have to be angry if you want to heal your wounded inner child. I don’t mean you need to scream and holler (although you might). It’s just okay to be mad about a dirty deal.
4. Sadness:After anger comes hurt and sadness. If we were victimized, we must grieve that betrayal. We must also grieve what might’ve been–our dreams and aspirations. We must grieve our unfulfilled developmental needs.
5. Remorse: When we grieve for someone who’s died, remorse is sometimes more relevant; for instance, perhaps we wish we’d spent more time with the deceased person. But in grieving childhood abandonment, you must help your wounded inner child see that there was nothing he could’ve done differently. His pain is about what happened to him; it’s about him.
6. Loneliness:The deepest core feelings of grief are toxic shame and loneliness. We were shamed by [our parents] abandoning us. We feel we are bad, as if we’re contaminated, and that shame leads to loneliness. Since our inner child feels flawed and defective, he has to cover up his true self with his adapted, false self. He then comes to identify himself by his false self. His true self remains alone and isolated.
“The child wants simple things. It wants to be listened to. It wants to be loved……it may not even know the words, but it wants its rights protected and its self respect unviolated. It needs you to be there.” Ron Kutrz
“We need to take responsibility without taking the blame. We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them.
We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children and STOP them from controlling our lives. STOP them from driving the bus! Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control.
And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned. we have been doing it backwards. We abandoned and abused our inner children. Locked them in a dark place within us.
We need to be the loving parent who can hear the child’s voice within us.
We need to learn to be nurturing and Loving to the wounded parts of us.
What are beliefs? If you start observing yourself, especially all that is going on in your head(i.e. your thoughts), you’ll see that you have so many preconceived notions about yourself, about others, about life in general, about men, about women, about money etc., you name it and some kind of opinion is there. What are these thoughts that drive our lives, whether we are conscious of them or not. How we behave and react depends on them.
“Belief: The acceptance by the mind that something is true or real, often underpinned by an emotional or spiritual sense of certainity.” Vienna Stibal
We might say that a belief system is a strong, conditioned, maybe recurrent thought, which has been totally accepted both by the conscious as well as the subconscious mind.
The conscious mind has the ability of discernment, of judging what is right and what is wrong. Of course it wants to do the right things, take the right decisions throughout life, but does it happen like this? No one wants to have limitations on abundance e.g., but then why only a miniscule percentage of people are rich? The problem is the conscious mind knows what is right, but it only 10-12%. How far can we go if 88-90% of our being is pulling us in one direction while the 10-12% in another? This is the reason why conscious efforts like positive thoughts, affirmations etc remain on the superficial level without having a long lasting effect.
Basically beliefs are of 4 different types and levels:
- History and
- Soul level
Of all these, core beliefs which have become a part of us, are what we have been taught and accepted from childhood in this lifetime. They are our ‘internal guide to life’, telling us how to behave and react in a given situation. As children, we had drawn certain conclusions as to how to deal with certain set of situations. Seen from an adult point of view, these might seem a bit skewed and inappropriate. But if we think that it was the point of view of a small child, who was blaming himself for every little problem his parents were having. The child does not understand that it is not his/her ‘fault’. Abuse, neglect, financial or relationship problems of parents, a child thinks that its all because of him or her. These conclusions drawn by the child were supposed to be temporary, but unfortunately it does not happen like this. Instead of living our lives by new supporting rules, we keep on living the drama of life by the rules set by a child.
COMMON CORE BELIEFS
We create our own reality by virtue of thoughts that we hold and the beliefs that we keep. Our external environment is therefore a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs. The following are common fears that almost each of us have had to encounter at one or the other point in our lives:
- Poor Self Image: Low self esteem, lack of self confidence, general feelings of inadequacy, hence shame and the need for masking.
- Guilt: Fear of causing pain to others, fear of making mistakes. We fear that we have done something wrong and that our actions may hurt others, especially our loved ones.
- Loss: Fear of losing, fear of failure. Fear of being judged and subsequently declared a failure and inadequate.
- Lack: Fear of not having enough. The belief that there is not enough in the world for everyone. One person’s gain has to be another’s loss.
- Mistrust: Fear of being betrayed, revealing a lack of trust.
- Victim consciousness: Fear of being victimised. The ‘poor-me’ attitude.
- Separation: This is very subtle fear and it might camouflaged under the guise of loyalty, patriotism etc. Actually this is fear of getting uprooted from the tribal consciousness.
Apart from these there are core beliefs that people might have the fear that
- They may be evil, corrupt or defective in some way (not being good enough)
- They are unwanted and unloved
- They are worthless and without value in themselves
- They do not have an identity or any personal significance of their own
- They are helpless, incapable and incompetent
- They are without and guidance
- They are trapped in pain or deprivation of some sort
- They will be harmed or controlled by others
- They will suffer loss, or connection with others
Once you identify your core beliefs, you become aware of the price which you have paying for having them. Each and every belief, that we have, either consciously or unconsciously, serves us, benefits us in one way or another. But now that we know that the benefits far outweigh the consequences, we can make up our mind to keep only supporting and empowering beliefs.
What is mind?
Mind is all around us- like a ball of energy. Energy is something which you know exists, but you cannot see it. But we can only feel it. It is not directly observable. The presumption that others have a mind can only be theoretically understood, because each human can only intuit the existence of his/her own mind through introspection and self analysis and no one has direct access to the mind of another.
Mind can be considered as thought, memory, imagination, consciousness. It is as John F. Kennedy says, “is our fundamental resource”.
Much has been written about theory of mind propounded by Dr. John Kappas. If mind is an abstract energy field around us, and if we are able to understand it properly, how easy our lives will become. If we are able to understand how it functions, then we might be able to utilize it to our highest potential.
According to Dr. Kappas, our mind is roughly divided into:
- Conscious mind;
- Subconscious mind and
- Critical mind (filter), which separates these two.
Conscious mind is our awareness of the present moment. It is responsible for logic, reasoning, controls all the actions which you do on intention. Hence it thinks, logics, decides, analyzes, takes action etc. briefly said it is that part of our minds which we believe is under our direct control. So when we are doing something, we are doing with our conscious mind. The problem is, it is only 10-12% of mind, a proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’.
It is a huge memory bank, with virtually unlimited capacity. It is the storage house of all our experiences, pertaining to this life or all other lifetimes. The information stored by the subconscious mind may not be utilized and processed immediately by the conscious mind but to be recalled later.
Its function is to store and retrieve data. Its job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed. Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept, your “master program.”
It is deeply mysterious as if it has a will of its own and cannot be known to the conscious. Subconscious mind only understands one word, ‘survival’. It is always awake, even when we are asleep, it is doing its work.
The subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from the conscious mind. The conscious mind commands and the subconscious mind obeys.
Since survival is the main issue here, whatever is the original programme of the subconscious mind, it will always help in maintaining status quo, be it physical(since it controls autonomous nervous system) or in mental realm. This is probably the reason why getting out of the comfort zone is so difficult. It is our subconscious that wants to protect us from the pain and discomfort of the new learnings and situations.
The subconscious mind with its vast capacity and huge data base is 6000 times more powerful than the conscious mind. If we look at the tremendous progress made by the mankind, and keep this in mind that all this progress has been done with 10-12% of conscious capabilities. Just imagine what all can be done if we are able to tap into this unfathomable resource?
If we are able to work on all our fears, all our negative emotions, all our self limiting core beliefs, all our traumas and wounds, life will be a real miracle!
But the question remains: how to access the subconscious mind?
We are able to access subconscious mind either in trance whether it is induced by meditation or deep relaxation or by direct intervention through hypnosis or other such modalities. It is in the safe environs of a therapist’s office that one can change and heal whatever is not working in life. The non-judgemental and compassionate attitude of the therapist helps one in unwounding and unlearning all that is not beneficial.
MIND WORKS THROUGH BRAIN
How does the mind work, if it is energetic in nature? Brain is the instrument through which it works: be it conscious or subconscious mind. There are five types of electrical impulses or brain waves which help us in every situation. These waves can be observed with an electroencelograph (EEG). Throughout the day we keep on drifting through all of these waves sometime or other. That is why your EEG will show all the five waves simultaneously, but one will be dominant depending on the kind of consciousness you have at that moment.
Gamma brainwaves: 27 htz and up: Fastest frequencies; Highest state of focus possible; Peak performance; relates to expanded consciousness, feeling of ‘being in the zone’.
Beta : 12 to 27 hz: Wide awake; generally the mental state you are in your waking hours, alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving etc.
Alpha: 8 to 12 hz: when you are awake but not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before sleep. A trance like state when the subconscious is activated. An ideal state of mind for new learnings, affirmations, some type of biofeedback training etc. This stage is also reached in meditation and in regression techniques like Hypnosis.
Theta : 3 to 8 hz: The part of mind that functions during light sleep. You can access this state in deep meditation also. Deeper part of subconscious mind can be accessed here. All our fears, traumas and nightmares can be found here.
Delta: 0.1 to 3 hz: Deep dreamless sleep, slowest of brainwaves
So in general, when we work with any of the healing modalities, be it hypnotherapy, theta healing, or any other meditation based technique, we are working with alpha and theta brainwaves for accessing the subconscious mind.
When does healing happen and when you feel that you are stuck? There are so many things which tell whether there will be heaing or not? Celebrated medical intuitive Caroline Myss has coined a term, ‘woundology’. If you suffer from it, then the chances are that you are addicted to the benefits which you are getting out of your sicknesses and problems and that unless you make a firm and aware decision to get out of the grip of it, it becomes virtually impossible to come out of it.
Every disease, every problem, in fact everything in our life happens for a reason. There are no coincidences. The only thing that matters is: are you ready and are you open to appreciate and perceive the changes that are required? This is all about taking responsibility; of yourself, of your life, of everything that is you. It is about taking the charge of your life, and the day you decide that ‘enough is enough’, healing starts happening.
YOU AND ONLY YOU CAN HEAL YOURSELF
No outside person can do something if you don’t want it. You can spend your whole life whining and cribbing about how life is and how others, (even your body) treat you. But the day you decide to take charge, half the battle is won. An outside person can only guide you, facilitate the process for you and provide a safe environment for you. But the ultimate deciding person is you.
You 0nly spend an hour or so with the healer, but if you do not make the changes that are required, you won’t be able to get a lasting effect. Leonard Orr, the founder of the ‘rebirthing process’, talks about the ‘death wish’ and ‘will to live’. Even if you are working on yourself, you want to get well also, but you also need to be aware of the collective beliefs that are connected to certain diseases, which might affect you, triggering the ‘death wish’ in you. You need to be guard yourself against these, to make yourself impervious.
LEARN YOUR LESSONS
So many people keep on getting the same problems, the same sicknesses, the same patterns will keep on recurring, as if life is going in circles. But if at one moment, you stop for a moment and ask yourself why it is happening? What does it want to teach me? What lessons are to be learnt?
Do you think if you need to be reminded of something to learn your lessons well? Yes so many times, we are totally lost. We are aware that we need to learn, but we may not know, ‘what’ or ‘which’ lessons. It is then if you take the help and guidance of someone who has walked the same path, or who is qualified enough to guide you, you will reach where you want to be. So if no change is happening, you need to ask the person in the mirror, what is amiss?
HONOR YOUR NEEDS
We have been taught from the very beginning to look after others’ needs first. But most often it is our unmet needs which become the root cause of majority of our illnesses. With awareness when we reach the point where we had stopped nurturing ourselves. We start the nurturing and become aware of the needs that demand to be fulfilled, and do this without feeling any guilt or remorse. Because when we honor our needs and consider ourselves worthy, only then we will start operating not from a point of lack, but from a point of satisfaction and fulfilment.
INTEGRATING MIND, BODY AND SOUL
For a major part of our lives, we are disintegrated, divided and never live our lives from a point of wholeness. Our bodies feel in a certain way, the mind has its own stories and the soul has its longings. What a miracle life will be, if all these start working in unison, if your mind, body and soul start thinking and behaving in a unified manner?
The truth is that God wants us to be happy. When we are being joyful, when we do anything which makes us feel good, then we are being our god selves.
So go ahead, let go of all that unnecessary baggage and all will be well. You are not broken and you don’t need to fixed. The more we become aware of our limiting beliefs, feelings or needs, the more those bondages will be broken, paving way for greater freedom and joyful living.