Child of the Past

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What motives prompt our way in metaphysics, yoga, or religion? Ideally, we would be motivated by pure love, by beauty, and by a quest for knowledge that meets the needs of humanity, and incidentally our own.

But when we look to the world of metaphysical schools, the many yoga teachers, the schools of magic, and religions of every description, it becomes clear that we humans fall far short of pure motivations. One may well ask, “Does religion have anything to do with spirituality?” Is yoga a home for egotist? Is religion a brainwashing for the confused and distraught?

It does not take much thought to see that most human activity is motivated by desire and fear. But we tend to think of desire and fear in their more gross expressions, and our imagination does not easily follow the more subtle forms of these, particularly as they apply to us personally. And so we may fail to see how these reappear in subtler forms as we try to follow a more metaphysical path.

Have you met many people who had a “normal” happy childhood? It would seem that, on the chaotic surface of the human scene, benign childhoods are the exception rather than the rule, and most of us pass through childhood’s school of hard knocks where our fears are aroused and our desires roughly shaped. Humans, as a rule, carry with them their, “inner child of the past.”

Do we imagine that the fears and traumas, the unfilled needs, the chaos of the human relations, all this heavy childhood karma—do we imagine that when, coming to the threshold of spiritual life, that we readily leave it all behind and pass unscathed toward a higher path? Do we rightly picture ourselves at some high degree above it all, plunged into a baptismal pool, passed through purificatory fires, made new by faith, saved, cleared, born again to sanity at last, grounded in depth of knowledge? Perhaps ideally it might be so, were we the true, the profound students, the enlightened, the magical beings, the keepers of sacred fires; were we even half of the forward leaping glory that our optimistic souls project.

But if we look in the mirror with more realistic eyes, we may find that our motives overlaid by the pains and empty shadows of childhood. For the child, an ideal father should be worthy of adoration. But such being is relatively rare, and more commonly a bad father meets us again as a bad god or a bad guru. And a half-bad father is joined to us again as a half-shadowy teacher. Or even if the teacher is more or less good, we take them under false pretense of our hidden unfulfilled desires, the secret devotional need; so we fill the vacuum of our lost childhood with new idols.

Oh mother, mother, where are you? The mother we would have, the mother we must have; we find her in our new religions, or we build her there. Our metaphysics abounds with mother superiors according to need, and sacred goddesses, and holy feminine types whether in the body or out. Why with a little help, we can become one ourselves. Father, mother, brothers, sisters, family! We readily yield ourselves to cults if by them we can buy the family we never had.

I do not speak against the sacred feminine; I do not disparage father fire. I only suggest we rarely ascend toward them with pure motive, and more often our motives are overlaid with the pained and unfulfilled ghosts of childhood. And it is easy to miss the way in which the heavy hand of the past spiders our days, for our motives are rarely all bad, being mixed with enough quality that, on first superficial look, all sparkles well to our eyes.

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4 thoughts on “Child of the Past

  1. There is so much truth in what you say and yet you are missing several quite important aspects of Christianity. The fact that God granted man choice in his actions with the expectation that he would
    learn, would have forgiveness when he erred and hopefully come to the conclusion that he is benefited by the path of beauty and truth rather than the path of darkness which was chosen by Satan changes the quality of the picture of life.

    Yes, because we are human we fall short of the purity of anything, especially motivations, sometimes especially when we think we are doing “good.” There again, it is learning and the gradual gain of wisdom that moves us toward the perfection for which we strive, of course with the added benefit of perseverance, and love. With these qualities, the best that is in us begins to peek out of the decaying body we think of as “me.”

    Of course we do carry with us the ravages of life whether in childhood or as adults. But that isn’t all bad. It’s rather like the beam of a light house that guides in times of trouble or rough going. As Christians we recognize this as the guidance of the Spirit that dwells within us as a gift from God. It takes practice and again the qualities of perseverance and love to learn to hear the Spirit’s voice and to put into practice (consistently) the direction or path by which He guides us.

    There are many Christians who put their effort, their knowledge and the wisdom they’ve been granted to follow this path. I would grant you that there are probably more who have no knowledge of spiritual growth, and feel that their spirituality reached its apex when they reached the point of accepting Him whether by baptism, request, or any other method.

    It is my experience that the ghosts of childhood (or adulthood) can be laid to rest with the peace of knowiing and loving God.

    • There is so much truth in what you say and yet you are missing several quite important aspects of Christianity. The fact that God granted man choice in his actions with the expectation that he would learn, would have forgiveness when he erred and hopefully come to the conclusion that he is benefited by the path of beauty and truth rather than the path of darkness which was chosen by Satan changes the quality of the picture of life.

      Hi Marie,

      Nice to hear from you. I don’t think using biblical terms, but I agree that we have freedom–essentially unlimited but temporarily limited in time and our circumstance in the world.

      Marie wrote:
      “Of course we do carry with us the ravages of life whether in childhood or as adults. But that isn’t all bad. It’s rather like the beam of a light house that guides in times of trouble or rough going…”

      I’m thinking these “ravages” are bad in the sense of limits placed on people by the pain of circumstance. I think of the light you refer to as something that is above the limits; when we’re not very well coordinated with this light which allows the difficult circumstance to dominate us. The limits do act as a resistance that calls us out and in that sense not bad. It’s relative.

      Marie wrote:
      “…accepting Him whether by baptism, request, or any other method.”

      I think somewhat differently yet we might see some correspondence between us. Accepting is receiving from spiritual dimensions; “Him” is the pure energy of life (not anthropomorphic); baptism is the purificatory waters and fires of our many life experiences; request is what we evoke by our thought, love, and action in life.

      “It is my experience that the ghosts of childhood (or adulthood) can be laid to rest with the peace of knowing and loving God.”

      I just know that there is a spiritual reality in us and in all life, and that reality is the ultimate transformation of everything.

  2. Thank you for your very kind reply Of course I’m aware that your source terminology is different than mine, but it seems that basically we are on the same track with some differences that we each would expect. I am interested in learning the meta-physical approach as an extension of God’s “how”. How does this happen, by what methods am I better able to “hear” the direction of the Spirit within? These things, for me, would accentuate spiritual growth rather than grant proof of His existence. I do not seek proof therefore for proof is in the things that are seen. The “how” of creation is immaterial to me whether by extensive evolution or creation within a time limit. Without the absence of some knowledge how could I claim faith? Thank you again for helping me to understand your viewpoint.

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