You are most likely aware of the things that frustrate or irritate you (your pet peeves), but did you know that your thoughts and emotions—and the situations they crystallize in your reality—are also predictable? In fact, they’re cyclical and if you pay close attention you can use them to unravel self-defeating patterns and better align with your desires, to accomplish or experience what you truly want.
Recognizing your mental patterns is an important step in healing the wounded inner child. If you don’t, the ego-mind will invariably color your perception with past impressions and build a sense of powerlessness that yields fear, insecurity, or resentment, overwhelming or even paralyzing you. You have to remind yourself that you’re no longer a child and tap into the inner resources you’ve acquired through your life (and in previous lifetimes). In other words, you must mother yourself and nurture your potential like you would with a child.
My first realization of the cyclical and predictable nature of the mind happened during an intensive 40-day Vipassana retreat I attended with an enlightened teacher from Thailand many years ago (click on Moving Beyond Expectations and Resentment to read more about it). It made quite an impression to observe that everyone in the retreat was experiencing the same emotions and responding in very similar ways—you guessed it, like wounded children!
Although our backgrounds and stories were different, we each went through the process of complaining about the food, feeling rejected and ‘not good enough,’ getting angry and wanting to quit, or building the illusion of a spiritualized ego. The hidden desires, unresolved emotions, and defense mechanisms coming up to the surface were the same for all. As I became more involved with this Buddhist group I watched more people going through the same emotional fluctuations and then kept observing this throughout my life.
The Ego-Mind Becomes Your Wounded Inner Child
Because the ego is formed during early childhood, it carries all your ‘unprocessed’ desires, emotions, and impressions, often coloring them with the lack of love and attention you encountered. And boy, do we need immense amounts of love and guidance to feel safe in this big, scary world when we’re kids! So you drag this emotional baggage within that your mind slowly compartmentalizes and later feeds you with, in patterned, unpleasant installments that overpower your inner voice and disconnect you from the innocence and creative enthusiasm of childhood.
You find yourself in situations reminiscent of older situations that trigger familiar emotions. The scenario and players may change, because you keep growing mentally, but emotionally you remain stuck in a distorted self-perception that repeats itself and manifests as your reality time and again. Now, if you become aware of the cyclical nature of this mental ‘compartmentalization’ and recognize your ’emotional installments’ as they show up, you can make a conscious choice NOT to identify with the emotions they trigger, thus investing less and less of your energy in the old patterns they’ve been weaving. As you continue doing this, they loosen up and you are able to shift your perception, which automatically transforms your reality.
For this, it’s essential to anchor yourself in something that keeps you centered; otherwise you’ll get easily triggered without recognizing your patterns and completely identify with your emotions. To find that inner center you must have goals you fully commit to, along with a guided process of self-exploration and self-expression. Below are a few suggestions to get you started. And if any of these are things you already do, then utilize them to observe the cyclical, repetitive nature of your emotional processes, both in your reality and in your mind.
- Keep a journal with daily events and the emotions they trigger, reviewing it often to observe past, repetitive sequences.
- Commit to a regular creative endeavor you enjoy, to shape an emotional buffer between yourself and the world.
- Observe your emotions through the day and track down what situations or events trigger strong impulses in you.
- Meditate on a regular basis to achieve mental ’emptiness,’ insight, and clarity—even for 10 minutes a day.
It’s clear that not much can be accomplished without mental self-discipline. But it cannot come from forcing rigid models upon yourself or judging how you should or shouldn’t behave; it has to develop from within, through love and compassion, and a strong desire to live life in your own terms. So contact me today to get started on your journey of self-empowerment, to gain the clarity and purpose you yearn for!
© 2016 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.