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Relationship Healing 2: Early Inoculation and The Wizard of Oz
“For human beings, the most daunting challenge is to become fully human. For to become fully human is to become fully divine.”
― Thomas Keating, Manifesting God
Neuroscientists’ today estimate that over 95% of all our behaviors arise from internalized unconscious beliefs. This is how strong the unconscious programming is in our life – and why spiritual inner work and the art of having an examined life is essential to healing one’s self, and to reclaiming our humanity of spirit.
Because we, in our early state of consciousness and ego development, react automatically from early childhood conditioning, we are not even aware that programming is running our thoughts, feelings, reactions and choices in most ways most of the time. We think – we believe –that we are conscious.
What we conceive as our awareness (and what we often misperceive as “being present”) is actually just our surface buy-in of the attitudes and personalities of our self-protecting masks. These masks, these protecting persona are what keep us split off from our heart’s own deeper truth – and from that illusive “authentic self” that has gained so much seeking in the new age literature today.
And, you know what? Here’s part of the trickiness:
It’s actually a good and kind service that the emerging little ego does for us when we first encounter a “danger, not safe” inevitable sense in early life. Our very own “early inoculation systems” – aka the emerging ego – sets up an ingenious protection mechanism in which to hide and protect the innocent heart …until it is safer and ready to come out. (Please note the “until” here!)
Problem is: We become identified with the carefully crafted hiding places and personalities of protection, and come to believe that these are who we really are – i.e., we forget there was ever an “until it is safer and the heart is ready to come out” part.
We believe in our new safe house and lose our true home. (“I’m type A; a people pleaser; super-mom; Mr. nice-guy; a rebel rouser; the invisible”, etc.)
…No one enlightens us that these hiding places were only meant to be temporary and then realized, thanked for their good service, and released so that our innocent heart and soul’s true genius may come out into the light of day and express its true gift now that we are better equipped to take care of ourselves. We have to find this out for ourselves (if we’re lucky)! Sadly, few in this culture do.
Was this understanding part of your education? It wasn’t part of mine, nor was it part of the many hundreds of normal human beings who come to work with me, seeking to find answers to their depression, anxiety, addiction, and feelings of being afraid, stuck, lost – but not knowing why or what they are seeking.
The enlightening breakthrough in the spiritual guidance I offer to individuals and couples in crisis who come to work with me, is just this:
I teach each person how to meet, “eyes wide open”, his and her masks of self-protection as well as the unconscious self-doubts and conditioned fears that lie behind them, and then to enter into a sacred and clearing dialogue process of self-healing and creative communion.
What is always a breath-taking moment is the tremendous surprise and instant healing relief both of the individual, and of a couple in crisis, when this self-reflective seeing is vulnerably communicated and shared. It is a direct experience of inner awakening and of the heart being released from it’s hiding place at long last. When this place is met and shared, there is an entirely new understanding of trust, intimacy, vulnerability and marriage. Then, if a couple remains together or chooses to part ways, it is from self-love and integrity regained.
An image of the movie, The Wizard of Oz comes to mind. Remember that moment of shocking surprise when Dorothy with scare crow (unclear mind), tin man (frightened heart) and lion (loss of soul) finally arrives at that decisive moment in her journey where she comes to stand before the great billowing wizard with all his fiery bravado? What happens next? Little innocent dog, Toto, runs up on the stage and pulls back the curtain to expose the truth. Metaphorically, Toto has just pulled back the coverings of fear, shame and self-doubt …to find what is really behind these self-sabotaging faces. And…our cast of characters suddenly see and realize that all of these bigger than life tyrants are smoke and mirrors, controlled by a timid puppeteer (aka our ego-self) who was endowed to self-protect the wounds we encountered early on as children.
And do you remember too, the shy simplicity and almost giddy relief of the Wizard when he is exposed behind the curtain? …This is how it feels inside when our self-protecting ego-projector is finally seen and acknowledged for what it kindly felt it had to do early on to keep us safe at a time when we were dependent on others and could not yet defend nor take care of ourselves).
If you’ve not yet experienced this profound self-healing breakthrough, it may sound quite odd. I can tell you it’s the most grounded, ordinary, marvelous and freeing thing you can – or will – ever do.
In that simple and profound moment of stepping down off the stage of your life story in order to see and honor the role that the drama has played and to release oneself into a whole new depth of seeing, is so utterly freeing, it is dizzying.
This moment of breakthrough is so breath-inspiring and yet so ordinary and natural as to make you wonder in awe and shake your head at the magnificence of the mind’s structural ability to craft such big drama stages behind which to so well hide our vision of home. It seems to take a disturbance, a crisis, a discomfort, a loss, before we are willing to remember…
The vulnerability we experience in our closest relationships is perhaps one of the most challenging opportunities life presents us for pulling the curtain back and reclaiming authentic self.
The next post in this 3-part series on intimate relationship as doorway to self-realization is a bit playful in delivery, even when a painful subject matter such as relationship crisis. I hope this final post with it’s intended juxtaposition may serve to draw back the curtains of story-line, and bring you into a fully lighted stage and that dazzling “breakthrough leap” from secular love to sacred partnership on the path of truth.
Ronda LaRue, M.S., D.D. is a spiritual author/teacher and self-healing guide. She is founder of Center for Soul Arts and the SoulArts Process of Awakening ™. Ronda works from a novel and contemporary approach to the ancient tradition of one-on-one sacred apprenticeship for facilitating radical transformation, healing wholeness, and direct Self-Realization at her private artisan retreat in Ojai, California, and in small groups internationally.
Center for Soul Arts, Ojai California: Rated one of the top 10 spiritual retreats in the U.S. and world for this artful approach.
- Come find out for yourself: that there is no greater journey than your own...