The question of who I am comes to mind frequently. Brain studies indicate that much of the thought habits that fill my mind are left over scenarios of survival advice from the script of childhood. We are discovering that 90% of thoughts are from the limbic brain or the subconscious mind. Buddhist, Tao studies and scientific investigation reveals to us that much of the cellular memory has been constructed from the decisions of our ancestors. The society, the culture, the sub-culture, the familial culture all create our “impact geography” of structured self.
Where in the conflux of all of these elements is the place to stand? Where in the dynamic of conditioning, imprinting, inheritance is my soul space?
The question of who I am comes to mind frequently. And it is to be discovered, this continent of me, in the space between thought and the habit of action. As Eckhart Tolle explained, the pain body has a driving motivation. How fully we see ourselves depends on how quickly we understand the motivation of our own thoughts. To ask the question, “Why do you want to do that?” can give me time to be curious. To ask the question, “What is your body feeling right now? can give me the manner to connect to what emotions are being triggered.
The calm place between thought and action is how I find myself. It is how I discover and learn to love myself.
At the bottom of the well, if I stick my head way, way down with a flashlight, is fear. I will crust it over, armour it in anger. Because anger feels strong and because anger will protect me, I place anger in front of fear to protect it. But the problem is that I have now hidden my fear. It is in a costume. In the deepest part of the dark cave, is a scared being.
The problem with anger is that it gets in the way. When I feel angry, defensive, I have now put myself into a state where I cannot love. I cannot love others, but most harmful of all, I can no longer love myself. When we step out into the world gently, with no armour, with an authentic smile on our faces, our hearts feel big. We feel at home in the world.
The problem with anger is it masks the real problem of feeling unsafe. The frightened child is still hiding and now it feels even more unloveable.
The abused child clings more tightly to the parent who is hurting him or her. Why is that? People say, “Oh that child is not abused, look how much the child holds on to the parent.” All children have one need that ensures survival and it is the driving hunger for bonding. An abused child is like a child starving or eating unsustaining food. He or she will eat more and more in the intention of being satisfied. In order to choose to remain in life, an infant must be able to love the parent. And so the child will make him or herself take on the responsibility for the relationship. It is not a weakness to choose to love the parent that damages or hurts you. It is a survival tactic.
The unprotected child chooses to feel shame for not being loveable. The hurt child self chooses anger in order not to feel fear. Being angry, means being unloveable. And now, the coping tactics that unmindful behavior establishes begin to become a source of shame.
We become ashamed that we cannot love, that we are hurt, that we are in defensive mode. And in order to anesthetize the shame we take action. The pain body tells us that we have to numb the sharp emotions, the dull hopeless emotions, the chaotic emotions, the dead end lost depression. The mind tells us stories as we take upon ourselves once again the guilt. The acting out to quell the shame becomes a bank account to which we make deposit with every additional act.
And so we are caught. We are caught in a confused place where nothing is working. But at the bottom of the well is fear.
The time between thought and action, the space between the mind’s dialogue and following instruction is where the magic lies. We can stop and go to the dark place. We can stop and pick up the terrified child and hold that child. We can say to the child, ” I know you are afraid. I know you are afraid you will die from the yearning in your heart to be loved. I know you are afraid you are not loveable. But I love you. You are safe with me. I will protect you.”
We can stop between the conditioned, DNA driven, family damaged story of desperation and survival and encourage ourselves to do what is our greatest desire. We can encourage ourselves to be loving. No matter what. It is safe to love. Others. Ourselves. It is safe.
Who am I? I have no idea yet. I am evolving.