Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Child Inside - The Practice of "Observing the Child"

I recently put up a blog/note titled "The Child Behind the Mask". This child, which we labeled the "Dream Child", lives in us all, as both the "ideal" and the frightened little child that will go to any length to protect itself.

The "ideal"; this concept of a "pure" beginning is largely a fiction. Sure, there is hidden in memory a vision of completeness; a remembrance of being without desire or fear, but it is a distortion. It is a distortion because it is the vision of a "me" having a remembrance of a "me" without desire and fear. The "innocent" child we remember ourselves to be, is already "corrupted" by the simple appearance of it's separateness. This recognition of separateness leads directly to the frightened little child, and it's subsequent behavior.

This recognition of separateness, which many psychologists feel takes place by 2 years old, has already had it's precursor in the "birth" itself; this sudden eviction from the comfort and "self-enclosed" safety of the womb that is the common experience of mankind and animal kind alike. In the Note titled "The Child Behind the Mask", I stated:

"Remember that your wife, husband, boss, teacher, child has a "dream child". Their behavior, no matter how "adult", will be based on the fear or confidence of that "dream child". If you come to recognize your "dream child", and it's fears, you will go a long way in understanding the "bad" things others seem to do. When we can see each other as scared children simply trying to get "home", perhaps we can give sympathy, instead of enmity. When you begin to realize that your self protective behavior comes from the longings for safety of the "dream child", you can understand how you can go to the source; the "spark" beyond the "I AM", and find your "original face"

Recognizing your dream child is the beginning of the process. Then the fun begins! When you begin to see that behind all the masks you wear, there is this "frightened little child" who struggles for survival, you can not only "calm" the frightened child, but see the child in "others" as well.

As a child who grew up with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome, I have had plenty of time to develop "coping" mechanisms in my dealings with "others" and the "outside world". Chief among these of course, is the understanding that there are no "others", or an "outside world" that is any different than the "inside world". But beyond that bit of philosophy, that the mind spins very well, I have developed "practical" ways of coping with everyday relationships. Observing the Child is one such method.

Most of us, no matter how sophisticated, follow patterns of behavior learned as children, (often very young children), that cater to our desires and fears. We move naturally toward Love, but our sense of separateness distorts that flow, and desire and fear take over. All the emotions arise from this distortion of our natural flow toward Love. This is easy to see in children, as they have yet to develop and put on the masks of "subtlety". The emphasis on "me" and "mine" among children, lives very much on the surface. As we grow older, and more masks become available to us through education, experience, and practice, we "hide" the "me", "mine" under more socially acceptable poses like "authority", "chain of command" or fear of "insubordination". As adults, whole populations of peoples are held "captive" to ideas and ideals by the social standards far more than threats of physical coercion. The purpose of "Observing the Child" is to uncover the frightened, often angry child within all we meet, so we can meet them on equal terms

The "masks" are no more than poses taken to protect the child inside. By looking beyond the masks; the superficial, the "skin of protection", one can observe the "man behind the curtain", or more appropriate here, the child behind curtain. By seeing your spouse, or your boss as the child that lives inside of them, you can see what desire or fear they operate from. By Observing the Child, you uncover the heart of what makes some people so fearful and angry. Anger is almost always a reaction to fear. By looking at your boss or spouse as the little child within, you are looking at the center of their being; the place where Love dwells. The child believes it has learned how to protect itself against feeling pain, but what it has learned, is how to hide from love.

Due to the primal experience of "birth", and the idea of "separateness" that stems eventually from it, we are always "seeking" love, or trying to get along without it. Many feel that love is elusive and not reliable. They will point to war, or murder, or child abuse. They will say that these things prove that the world is crazy, follows no "rules", and that love is just another "thing" that happens. But anger, murder, even war are distortions of Love. If the child reaches out in love, and learns that parents are cruel, he will learn self protection very quickly. If the child is given "things" instead of love, he will grow to value things and see love as a "pipe dream", always out of reach. Every selfish, self protective act is a distortion of love. It has to be, as all there is, is Love. The child inside will always act in the interest of Love, either in reality, or in a distortion thereof. By observing yourself and others as children, you are getting beyond the masks, even beyond the "Dream Children" themselves, back to your original face.

The next time the boss starts being rude, or aggressive, look at him or her, and return them to the period in their lives when this behavior might have seemed more appropriate. Think of them as the frightened child this behavior rightly belongs to. You can only do this when you are ready to do the same to your own behavior. When you feel angry over events over which you have no control (which is really all the time!), or when you feel jealous or slighted, look at your own "Dream Child". Only when you can remove that last mask; the "I AM" Mask, are you free from this "Dream Child" Mask. When all masks are gone, even the belief in the "innocence" "you" once were, then the "other" Dream Children will reveal themselves in their vulnerability, and no longer be a threat or a bother, but simply frightened children struggling to get protection from a lack of love, while swimming in a sea of it.

We are all children playing at life. When we can see each other as such, and understand that we are all subject at times to the "Dream Child"; that longing for love, together with the feeling that it is always out of reach, we can see our predicament is the same. Only when we can stop seeking love, go beyond the "I AM" of the "Dream Child", and realize ourselves AS Love can we see others as Love as well.

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