Help is there when needed. Just ask. You will be heard. Ask with innocence and hope. Ask with love and earnestness. Ask with tenderness and openness. But most of all, ask because you really need help. Your guides and helpers are already on your case, but when you ask, your own connection opens and what you previously could not hear or interpret becomes more clearly available. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. It will come. Watch how it arrives in mysterious and succinct ways, how it shows up at just the right moment, how perfectly aligned it is with where you are and with what you truly need. Trust, in some form or another you will be helped.
Innocence, in its purest form, is an affect found in youth. The emotional energy of innocence is expressed as a feeling of excited anticipation and joyful response as a child discovers and befriends a welcoming, magical world.
Adults melt at the glitter in the eye and the spontaneous burst of laughter as the child greets new life for the first time. The innocent child is yet to be fettered with judgment, rejection, fear, cynicism, and shame. The innocent child’s wonder is open, receptive, and trusting that the world is loving and equally receptive to being met and played with.
Most adults collude to uphold a protected magical world for the young child that screens out the reality of disease, old age, and death. Thus a child’s innocence is encouraged to develop and strengthen, as adults know the precious value of a child’s innocence despite their knowing also of its inevitable loss as the deeper truths of life eventually intrude on this early paradise.
The New Testament Bible states: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)
This Biblical passage is abundantly clear: to restore oneself to the innocence of the child is the only key to entering heaven. If heaven is the destination after completion of our journeys in this world then innocence is the gold we must refine in this life to obtain entrance into our infinite journey.
Such a paradox this life! The child is born with the very innocence that life in this world will of necessity contaminate and yet, in order to progress, it must be retrieved and refined to the highest level to achieve the enlightenment to grow beyond this world.
Innocence, by design, is contaminated by the time and space parameters of this world. All whom the innocent child bonds with will eventually change, frustrate, disappoint, and die. This reality must eventuate in a loss of innocence as the child meets the dark side of life and then must submit to the adaptive armor against the pain of lost innocence and the inevitable longing it generates.
Herein lies our true mission in this life, to pick up the remnants of our lost innocence and meld them into a highly refined innocence capable of living in the true nature of reality, in both its light and its dark sides.
In our earthly existence, the dark side of reality is that everything changes, everything dies, nothing is forever in an unchanged form. Try as we might to hold back change through grasping onto our attachments, they will be ripped away. And further, grasping onto a refusal to be hurt again is really just another attempt at holding onto an unchanging self.
The longing of lost innocence, sequestered to the shadows of a closed heart, will not be silenced by suppression or repression for very long. Eventually, it will erupt in consciousness, in impulsive acts, or by pulling us downward into its torment via a depression that demands an inner journey of recapitulation to resolve.
That recapitulation journey requires us to relive the experiences of our lives that once jarred and fragmented our innocence, to willingly re-experience the painful encounters that sent our shamed younger selves running for sanctuary.
What is most required during the recapitulation journey is that our adult/ego/parent selves stay fully present as the full emotional torment of those encounters, along with the confusions and misconceptions that shroud the original innocence, are relived.
This process of receiving with open arms and heart the broken pieces of lost innocence by the adult self is the internal alchemical oven of transformation. Full acceptance of the full truth of one’s self releases innocence from judgment but also aids its maturation. The truth is, for innocence to really return to the living personality it must broaden to the dual nature of time space reality and expand its level of tolerance for disappointments, endings, and the unexpected.
For innocence to journey into the unfathomable it must be able to flow with what is. And what is sometimes hurts. Refined innocence is not naive to this possibility and in its wisdom will choose, when it can, what influences to open to and those to avoid.
Nonetheless though, a journeyer is always aware that to remain open to the full adventure of real life necessitates openness to being caught off guard as we enter the unknown. However, rather than fragment in encounters with the unexpected, refined innocence owns the resilience of non-attachment. That is, non-attachment to outcome, to being offended, to things always remaining known and unchanging.
With non-attachment and full engagement, refined innocence leads from the place of awe and unreserved compassion for all engaged in the miracle of being. Yes, refined innocence is indeed the key to the Kingdom.
Ultimately, our stay in this world is really to graduate from the School of Refined Innocence. With this graduate degree we obtain the passport, the necessary readiness, to embark on new and deeper journeys in infinity.
“How did your innocence survive?” Chuck asked me. I reminded him of my childhood mantra: “It will soon be over; it will end.” I think that was my innocence speaking to me, the part of me that was ready to walk away as soon as possible and move on. Innocence gets bruised but it bounces back. “I always had that innocence in me; it never left me,” I finally concluded, “and that combined with my spirit certainly helped me survive.”
My spirit was strong; my innocence was intact. I knew I could trust them. They taught me that no matter what someone did to Me, the real Me, my innocent spirit was unreachable. That part of me resided elsewhere, separate from the physical, in what I now know as the High Self, untouchable and unaffected by everything that happened to my physical body. That High Self was fully available during my childhood.
That High Self held the memories of my abuse, however, and I just wasn’t really interested in them for most of my life, too painful and horrific to go near. So not only did I distance myself from that strong, innocent and knowing High Self, but I cut her off. I moved on. The farther I moved the more distance I gained from my past and my High Self too. I released myself into the world as best I could, but there was always a part of me that knew that I would one day return to that High Self.
Why do some people survive terrific abuse and others perish? Why do some people give up on themselves and others find the means to change and move on? Why do some people declare themselves hopeless and unworthy of change, while others forge ahead no matter their background or imposed limitations? Is it possible to impart a sense of survival to others? Can you really help another person?
There are many ancient teachings, and not so ancient ones too, that teach us how to find and recognize our High Self and how to work with it. And yet for me, it was never a question of finding or recognizing it, my High Self was always with me, always recognizably part of me, a participant in my life. Even when I had kept her at a distance I knew she was still there, waiting for me. Did I have something that others do not have? I don’t think so. It’s not something that’s unique to me; we all have access to our High Self, to the place where our strength and our innocence reside.
I believe we are all born into our present lives with everything in place, that children are fully equipped with language and wise knowing. When I was still a tiny child, perhaps about a year and a half old, I remember clearly thinking in full sentences though I could not articulate what I was thinking; I did not have the physical dexterity yet that would allow me to speak.
When I did finally learn to speak, my mother said that I spoke clearly and distinctly, in full sentences. My own children were the same way. I had the same experience when I learned to speak Swedish. I had lived in Sweden for about six months, daily listening, and when I finally dared to open my mouth and speak the words just poured out, once again in perfect diction. Complex thoughts are present from the moment of birth, I believe, and perhaps even before. Why not? Consciousness doesn’t need a body and neither does spirit.
Just suppose we all come into life from other lives fully equipped as intelligent, wise, and knowing beings. Life in this world is set up to erase our knowledge and educate us in the practices of the world we are born into. It’s as if our fully functioning hard drive is erased during our earliest years and new programs are downloaded into us. If we’re lucky the original programs didn’t fully erase but remain stored somewhere in our inner database, ready to be discovered or stumbled upon at a later date.
In my case, as is the case with many children, I happened upon this original database because of traumatic sexual abuse. Abuse became an opportunity for me to access the wise and innocent High Self who had once spoken to me through my infant’s mind, a voice of familiarity, immediately recognizable as someone I could fully trust. And so when I returned again to her during my recapitulation, I once again found that I could trust her, that indeed she had been eagerly awaiting my return.
With her along, my journey of recapitulation began to unfold in detail and all that I had kept at bay was relived until none of it bothered me anymore, until it was totally resolved and done with. This time I put it away for good. It stays in the recesses of my database, clicked on only when I want to go there. When Chuck asked me that question—How did your innocence survive?—I zipped into that database and recalled just what it was that had not only kept me alive but also optimistically certain of survival and new life.
Certainly, as a child, I never gave up, though there were some pretty tough times and, as I returned to recapitulate, I would have to say the same, I never gave up, though there were some pretty tough memories to relive and issues to figure out and get through. It’s just who I am. A strong, wise and innocent spirit who never gives up, my High Self, lives at my core. For me the cup is always half full. I don’t think I inherited this trait, nor was it instilled in me, it’s just who I’ve always been. As I said above, everyone has this optimistic High Self, a similar spirit too. Why do some people have easier access to it, while others seem to struggle so deeply with even acknowledging its presence? Why are some people naturally optimists and others pessimists?
Viktor Frankl asked the same questions when writing about the survivors of Hitler’s concentration camps in Man’s Search for Meaning. Those who survived had a certain sense of self, access to a higher self, an awareness of spirit that kept them going, a certain optimism that things would change, that new life would one day come, that ultimately there was meaning in everything, even a worst case scenario.
When spirit is actively brought into participation in life there is a strong sense of never giving up, no matter how low one gets. No matter how ready one may be to die, there is a part of the self that will not surrender, that wakes up, sometimes at the last minute and says, “Stop! Wait!”
In the 2006 film Bridge people who survived suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge related that on the way down they instantly regretted the decision to jump. Does that mean that all suicides regret their decision? I don’t know, but the spirit inside all of us does a heck of job trying to get our attention. It works in mysterious ways, in uniquely personal and poignant ways. It pays to be alert, to learn how to look and listen for the clues to spirit. Not everyone will hear it as a voice. Not everyone will get a clear sign. Optimist or pessimist, however, we are all being prodded to find it. This is certain.
It’s the whole purpose of life, as I see it, to find and connect with our High Self at some time during our many lives and take everything to a new level. If not in this lifetime, at least know that each life is a step in the process. But can we elect to voluntarily move up to that High Self? I believe we can. It takes a little work, perhaps a recapitulation is in store, but first reaching out and paying attention may be enough of an awakening to begin the process.
The first step in the search for spirit and meaning in life might be as simple as putting out a call. Spirit guides are unanimous on this one, they are ready and waiting to be of assistance, but we must ask. Become a trusting child in the asking, become innocent, vulnerable and open. It’s really okay. Let go of self, of ego, of feeling silly and just do it. No one is watching you. You can relax and ask your spirit to come to you, just as you might have asked as a child. Did you believe in a guardian angel as a child, like I did? Ask your guardian angel to come to you if that feels right, or Jesus, or God, or the universe, or ask for Jeanne, the being that Chuck and I channel in our various ways, his first wife. Do whatever feels right.
Learn to sit quietly, as Chuck suggests in his blog this week, Finding the True Heart. Learn to listen to the heart, in the deeper heart chamber where spirit resides. A few breaths may be all it takes. A few minutes of calmness with attention placed on the heart chakra, with mind still, doubt recedes and things can happen.
Get out into nature. Sit on the ground by a tree, a plant, a bush and commune with the living organism before you. Sit calmly and begin to understand it, to feel it’s energy. In calmness communication opens up and you might just find yourself conversing quietly with your selected tree or bush or plant. Plant life can tell us a lot of things we’ve forgotten.
Commune likewise with an animal, a pet, a deer, a bird, a spider, a fly. See what happens as you send your heart chakra energy out to another living creature, as you silently commune from your innocent spirit self.
Lie under the night sky and feel yourself being drawn out into the universe, into infinity. Join the stars for a ride and see where they take you and what they tell you. The vastness of space lies above us every night. It’s mysteries might not be that mysterious once you open up to them, it’s emptiness not so empty, it’s vastness not so vast.
Ask your dreaming self to introduce you to who your spirit self really is, to take you to meet him or her, to teach you how to connect all the time in both waking and dreaming life. Intend to dream an answer to a question and see what happens.
Read some books that inspire you. Sometimes opening a book to a single paragraph might just be the thing to shift out of misery and into the mystical. If you don’t know where to begin, our Store offers a variety of selections.
After asking doubt may come, but that’s par for the course. The next step is to trust. Learn to trust as a child trusts. The innocent infant trusts that it will be taken care of. We must learn to trust that we are here for a reason, that there is meaning in our life and that we will find our way. As Chuck mentioned in his blog this week, once we open up to our spirit, our soul, we discover an expanded consciousness of which we are indeed a part.
We are physical beings, but the greater part of us is spirit, non-tangible and untethered to anything in this world, except what we choose to attach to. Connecting with spirit is the refusal to give attachment the final say.
The truth is, the child self is older than the adult self. We were all children first. Actually, to advance, the child self had to stay behind so that the adult self could mature.
The child self, who sought the safety and fulfillment of its fundamental survival, who sought unconditional love and acceptance, who sought the pure play of innocence and discovery, had to shut down, hold in, and separate from the seeds of its budding adult self that it launched, while it sank into dormancy, waiting for the day the adult might turn around and rediscover its roots in the purity and innocence of childhood again.
Often, that child self was neglected and traumatized and it secretly bears the weight and torment of its early experiences. Voluntarily, it broke away from consciousness, hiding in the dark so as not to disturb the forward movement of the adult self. Its only hope of redemption, its hidden contract, was that in the triggered moments of adulthood the adult self would come in search of the traumatized child self and lead it to the light of day and help it to become unburdened of its horror stories, terrors, and confusions.
Only the adult self can become the true parent self to its lost child self. Only the adult self can find its forgotten self. Only the adult self can stand with its younger self and bear witness to the full truth of its younger experiences and, in so doing, put them to rest. Only the adult self can free its imprisoned child self and merge its innocence into the play of adult life.
Too often, adults forget their childhoods and only know they don’t want to revisit that horrid period of life. As the child stays cloistered, however, life in adulthood is experienced as barren and lacking, and the adult self seeks to compensate for the lack of joy and freedom by indulging in the myriad of addictions available in adult life.
At other times, adults become parents and inadvertently project their forsaken child selves onto their own children, who they serve as if they were princes and princesses, unable to limit, so deep is the pain of their own forsaken inner children. Sometimes the inner children are projected onto pets or other helpless creatures of the world, whom the adult feels compulsively bound to nurture and save.
If we come to the place of discovery of our own inner child, perhaps at first in dreams where our child tells us its secrets, we may be so appalled by the lack of care given and the hardships endured that we feel bound to serve and protect this wounded child at all costs. Young children do need parents to cater to their needs; its the core of survival. But they do also need parents that will listen to the truth, the whole truth of their experiences, and help them sort out the confusion of who is to blame and why things actually happened. Children may need to be helped to release their anger and sadness, and receive appropriate love and support.
But the truth is, our younger child self is much older than we are and may, in some way, be much wiser and more mature as well. After all, that warrior self already endured pain, suffering, neglect, perhaps even abuse and torture, things the adult self finds difficult to endure much less believe.
The child self does not need to be catered to or compensated for all that it had endured or lost. What it does need, however, is to be relieved of its burdens and its innocence to be welcomed into life.
Too often the adult self struggles with facing the pain, suffering and frustrated needs of the child self and tries to make a life for it where there is no pain or woundings. That’s impossible. As Buddha said, life is suffering. What the child self needs to know is that the adult self will not abandon it again, and that if there are woundings it will heal.
The solution is not to remain overprotective of the child self for the life it has lived, whereby cutting off the opportunity for joy in life, nor in overcompensating or catering to a child who suffered by making unrealistic promises or acting out its entitlement demands. The key to child care is a full recapitulation where the adult self stays present and hears the full truth of the childhood it once lived, ending the child’s isolation, validating its truths, releasing it from its frozen emotions and clarifying its beliefs.
During the recapitulation process the child self and the adult self learn to trust and feel safe with each other. They learn, no matter what is encountered or presented, that they can and will handle anything together in a nurturing and loving manner, without judgment or fear, unconditionally committed to a new and open relationship with each other. With that deep work done, the innocence of the child self merges with the maturity of the adult self and together they are not only ready to lead a new and fulfilling life, but fully open to experiencing all the joys and love that adulthood offers.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for the adult self is to encounter the pure innocence of the child self and to not succumb to a deep sadness and protectiveness that freezes the ability to bring that innocence into life. All innocence must experience the wounding of life outside the protectorate of the fairytale. For innocence to continue life in this world, it must grow to know about pain and suffering.
Buddha’s father attempted to encase him in a painless magical kingdom, a fairytale world that he would never leave. Eventually, however, Buddha did go out into the real world and fully experience the woundings of the real world, as did Christ in his own ending on the cross. Nonetheless, it was through such woundings, and the ability to not get swallowed up by them, that each of these teachers eventually ascended to their spiritual enlightenment.
The path laid out for the adult self is to let our innocence out into this world and, through the trials and experiences in its human and spirit suffering, to find fulfillment in the enlightenment of the full human spiritual journey. This is true child care.