We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves. Daniel J. Siegel
OK! Here’s the way it works... Baby comes into the world with Original Goodness. Sorry, St. Augustine, Original Sin is a lie, we were not born wanting to do bad things - that’s a good way to control the masses, extract taxes, and justify genocide - not good for the development of healthy humans.
Scenario #1 Baby learns through curious exploration. Little by little the young child ventures out from the home base. Things happen, dog barks, child cries, child runs to mama and says, “scared”. Momma says, “Ah come here sweetheart, let me hold you, it’s ok, your momma gets scared sometimes too.” As she holds her child she softly sings in his ear, and whispers, “it’s ok to be scared my love, all will be well.” Lesson learned: It’s ok to be afraid!
Scenario #2 same scene; the child comes to daddy crying (not gender bias - it can reverse). He has been working all day and is worried about paying the bills. “I’m scared daddy.” “Don’t be scared, there’s nothing to be scared about!” the child cries louder, “don’t be such a baby, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” But the child thinks, I am scared, but daddy says I shouldn’t be. There must be something wrong with me, my caregiver can’t be wrong (the person I count on for my survival). Lesson learned: I’m bad and the world is not safe. Don’t show your fear - keep it suppressed!
A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable care-giver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships. Conversely, an insecurely attached child may view the world as a dangerous place in which other people are to be treated with great caution, and see himself as ineffective and unworthy of love. Nora Samaran
This is a simplified explanation of the way our identity develops. Of course, it’s much more complex and nuanced than this, but essentially it is a good example of how we develop healthy self-esteem and boundaries or meta-narratives like; I’m not good enough, unlovable, broken, flawed, guilty, shameful and other forms of negative self-talk. Is it our parents’ or caregivers' fault? No! They formed their sense of self and developed their identity the same way their parents and grandparents and generations did before them. The important thing to know is that our negative views of ourselves are not indelible. Brain science has proven what the mystics through all time have known, your personality is not fixed and your soul is doing everything it can to get your attention and bring forth health, healing, and wholeness.
We were born into an amazingly intelligent body that has been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years. It has been programmed to heal. Our nervous system was smart enough to shut down certain parts of our essence in the face of overwhelming threat, pain, trauma, or fear. It learned to fight, freeze, or faint depending on the seriousness of the painful situation. Most animals know how to deal with trauma, they just shake it off. Tribal communities knew to get together and offer love and acceptance to these lost and dissociate parts. They developed soul loss ceremonies and rituals to bring a person back into balance and wholeness. But, modern society, mired in the myth of separation, thought these ceremonies to be quaint, unscientific superstitions. So we remain a culture in deep pain, hellbent to destroy our own habitat through our neglect and unconsciousness.
The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain. Gabor Maté
The first thing to recognize is that we are neither flawed nor broken. There is nothing that needs fixing and our pain, suffering, and struggle can become the portals for not only our own healing but the healing of humanity. We were designed to naturally heal, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our pain is a road sign showing us what we need to pay attention to, accept, and love. Loving what is, supports us in integrating the frozen parts from our past, which creates physical, emotional, and mental congruence. Avoidance causes persistence! The pain is saying, “excuse me please pay attention and love me”, just like a young child trying to be seen, heard and held.
In the Way of the Mystic Course (see here) we talk about the three key principles for transforming trauma, stuck energy, and habitual behavior; Presencing, Witnessing, and Embracing. To become whole and return to our essential goodness we first zoom in on the painful, unwanted, and difficult situation with precision, focus, and presence. From this place we step out of our judgements and view the larger perspective that is keeping us stuck, struggling, and suffering. This final stage of the process is to cultivate unconditional love for the issues that are causing us pain. It is the love and awareness that brings about our healing, not trying to change, fix, or repair what we consider flawed.
“Attachment is the strongest block to realization.” Neem Karoli Baba
What I’ve described in this article comes from the latest discoveries in Attachment Theory. The first scenario would demonstrate secure attachment, which leads to healthy relationships, boundaries, and actions. The second example shows how we form insecure attachments. Again, it’s important to recognize that by becoming more present, focused on precisely what’s happening in the moment, and giving love to those wounded parts of ourself we have been pushing away, we can integrate the painful experiences from the past and live a more prosperous and fulfilling life. It wasn’t the events that happened to us when we felt the pain that shaped our life, it’s the story we made up about it at the time. Stories can be changed!
Without raising our level of consciousness we will always choose attachment over authenticity because it feels like our survival is dependent on grasping for the love, nourishment, and attention we didn’t get at a younger age. Transforming and integrating painful experiences from the past is not easy work, but it is well worth the time and effort. When we bring ourselves back into a state of original goodness, we exude stillness, peace, and compassion. This heightened state of being is infectious and when we are with others our presence will down-regulate their stress, pain, and anxiety, which will not only bring healing to our friends and families, it will also impact our culture and world.
We create meanings from our unconscious interpretation of early events, and then we forge our present experiences from the meaning we’ve created. Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past. Gabor Mate
So let’s start a love and presence pandemic! We were born into these times so we were meant to be here. Our soul has a purpose. All we have to do is learn to listen to that still quiet voice, our inner GPS. It’s time to write a new story, for ourselves and humanity.
You only lose what you cling to. The Buddha
Thank you for being an integral of the Well of Light family. With infinite love and blessings, Michael & the Well of Light Team
The more beauty you see, the beautiful you become! Buddha