As Kahlil Gibran taught us, the child’s soul dwells in the house of tomorrow, which we cannot visit, not even in our dreams.
The child within us is our evolutionary spirit, which is childlike in its innocence, yet ventures beyond the known, fully adult self.
The notion of an inner child who never grows up, requiring the enduring parenting of the adult ego, is a recipe for stunted growth and entitlement. The ultimate goal of all parenting is to launch the child into their own house of tomorrow, as we obey the rite of passage to release their arrow.
The inner child’s role in the adult personality is to follow its bliss with curiosity and innocence. These are the treasures mirrored by young children at play, fully alive to the creative imagination, open to interaction with the subtle energies present in the world, unsullied by the constricting veils of the real world.
Of course, there is the work of resolving traumatic psychological complexes, unprocessed fragments of self that split off in childhood, that require the adult ego to discover and reintegrate into the wholeness of the adult personality.
Ultimately, this inner work restores true innocence to the adult self, the work that Jesus Christ suggested was essential to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In psychological terms, one must fully recapitulate all of one’s life experiences to achieve full individuation, the wholeness and fulfillment of one’s life.
Fragments of experience that remain triggers, or unneutralized emotional experiences overshadow the open road of innocence and instead become one’s fate, or necessary next stop in this life.
Of course, all children require the support and boundaries of adults on their road to maturity. But the goal is always to prepare them for their independent launch, not to keep them forever children, however well adjusted. So is it with working with our inner child.
The inner child’s gift to adulthood is its insistence on taking the road less travelled, because Spirit is intent upon infinite exploration beyond the nursery.
Let’s not confuse the childlike behaviors, or excesses, we engage in with the inner child. The ego must assume responsibility for all its choices, whatever their etiology.
For the ego to mature into its own innocence, it must be willing to take the hero’s journey to retrieve its soul, all of its parts that were lost in its trials of Earthly life.
A journey of recapitulation transmutes one’s life energy into that of a magical being, fully alive, fully in awe, ever-loving, ever-venturing. That’s the true role of the inner child in the human personality: innocence restored.
On life’s journey,