Because we all have different personality types, what we experience in childhood may appear to be very different, even by siblings raised in the same household. One child may experience their mother as abandoning, another may experience her is invasive or domineering, and yet another may experience her as being inconsistent. Although each child experiences the same parents at different ages, their parents do not fundamentally change and become radically different after each child is born.
Each child will focus on a particular characteristic of each parent, and this will become the basis for their relationship with that parent. Our ego develops during early childhood at age two to four.
At that time we lose touch with Being and start to feel separate, which is solidified by the fact that we have a physical body and recognize pain and pleasure as being confined to that body. This Freudian principle of striving for pleasure and avoiding pain is the most fundamental principle underlying the egoic structure.
Each of us then, attempting to reconnect with their loss of Being, develops a logic that tells us – if only I had the quality of confidence, or support, or courage, or love, or strength – then I would feel complete.
Understanding how each of us responds to this our particular identification can help us make sense of how and why others behave, feel, and think as they do, which can open our hearts to compassionate understanding.
When we ask ourselves if there is more to life than the inner emptiness that we are often seeking to either fill or avoid, when we realize that there are no external answers to our problems, that being a certain way or achieving a particular thing will not ultimately fulfill us, then we may finally begin looking at our inner world in a direct and truthful way.
When we do this, we will realize that patterns continuously repeat themselves throughout our life – that we are constantly responding to the past through our filter of who we are and what the world around us is.
Our suffering is not the result of our external circumstances, of being alone, in the wrong relationship, or because we don’t have the perfect job, or look the way we want – it’s because lost contact with our essential nature. We have become separated from the fundamental truth that we are lovable and worthy no matter what we do.
Asking ourselves where we see deficiencies can help uncover feelings of fear that we can trace back to childhood. By leaning into this feeling, even though it may feel like you will fall forever and either go crazy or die, you can actually see that you can ultimately tolerate it and that there is something there that will catch you, or hold you up.
Exploring this over and over is imperative in facing these deep wounds. Becoming in tuned to what is happening in our physical bodies as we go through thoughts or feelings of lack, is a way of exploring these deficiencies and recognizing them for what they are – our loss of relationship with Being.
The following Rumi poem describes this:
You’ve been fearful
of being absorbed in the ground,
or drawn up by the air.
Now your water bead lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.
It no longer has the form it had,
but it’s still water.
The essence is the same.
This giving up is not a repenting.
It’s a deep honoring of yourself.
The closer we are to our depths, the closer we are to our Being, we will experience more harmony and balance because from this perspective there is no polarity – no positive or negative.
You have probably had this experience many times for brief instances – seeing a beautiful sunset, being in nature, looking in a child’s eyes – that brief moment before a thought or mental judgment that says something is good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant - that feeling in your heart of pure love.
Connect to the love within you, and it will appear in front of you.
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.