How many times have we heard over the years that we all need to “grow up our inner child”? For me, lots. Some years back it sounded like a good idea to me, a plausible one that I focused my attention on to see where I could get. I worked on meditations and visualizations, formulated my own practices and with diligence worked it with the belief that it was not only necessary but attainable in the spiritual and physical avenues of this world.
It happened to be one of many things I was mistaken about.
After years of diligently practicing to “grow up the inner child” I finally submitted to the fact that my efforts did not bring me any closer to that goal. At first I was frustrated and through that frustration worked harder and with wider focus scopes to see if I was just missing something. Over time the results were the same. Then I stepped back and wondered if it were just me. I placed my observations to others and began to realize all my efforts were not to “grow up my inner child”, but rather to show me the place of the inner child in us all.
The more I observed other people the more I realized that there is really no such thing as a “grown-up” or adult, only children wearing masks built by the world, by this physical life, by experiences. The inner child does not grow up. That energy simply learns to adapt to survive, or not. The inner child is us as we were as very young children. The experience sets we gained and were part of since birth formed who we are in this life. Our genetics combined with the energies we experienced in the womb and through birth and for an average of 7 years after, are the energies that created our personality, likes and dislikes, prejudices, ideas, beliefs and overall life direction. I see as us coming in as balls of malleable clay, unformed. The clay has specific composition – genetics. Experiences of external energies form us, the clay. Eventually, through roughly a 7 year period, the form life has sculpted gets fired by the growth of our hormones and brain development through those experiences. The firing process, just like in pottery, sets the form, solidifies it. The clay is still just the clay, but the world shaped it and together with our own physical/chemical growth, set it to a form. Now we can paint this form and decorate it anyway we like and change it as often as we like, but the shape of and the clay itself remains the same underneath. Only the surface portrayal, the masks change.
The inner child remains within us all because it is who we are in this life. We can no more get rid of the inner child than we can our skeleton. Interestingly many people who practiced the Inner Child meditations I spoke of in the past would get information, images, feelings or internal interactions with themselves as a child. One particular age really stuck out because with about 90% of the people I communicated with, including myself, and followed progressions of; it was the age 7. Our personalities are usually set by the time we are around 7 year’s old research shows. (see links below) The rest of our lives and who we “will become” are determined by who we have become by the time we are about 7 years of age. The Inner Child seems to comprise of our experience sets mixed with genetic influences from the womb through around age 7. That mold is fired and set and the rest of our lives and everything we do or do not do, think or do not think, feel or do not feel is based upon that 7 year form. The chemical reactions in our brains and bodies are already aligned, structured and running by the time our personalities are set. It seems to take some sort of brain damage later in life to drastically alter that form, like in the case of Phineas Gage.
Adults are children wearing masks and pretending to be adults. After all, what is an adult in the modern context? An adult is a person who has grown up, reached a socially acceptable state of maturity and responsibility, left childlike behaviors behind and embraced worldly views. In all my years so far I have never once met a real life genuine Adult in the modern understanding of the term. Not once. I have met children pretending to be adults because that seems to be what the modern world demands people become – adults who have surpassed childhood and the adolescent phases of life. But when you look at all the adults you have met, when they are under duress of any kind, what shines as clear as the sun on a cloudless day; the inner child, not the expectations of the mature adult. Sure many of us have learned to act mature, responsible and outwardly adult-like, but inside we feel, experience and even think like children do.
Doubt me? Take a look at your thoughts and emotions when someone insults you, abuses you, threatens you, hurts you in anyway. Are your internal responses adult-like, mature and reserved in nature? Doubtful. Rather a more truthful response would be that the thoughts and emotions running on the inside are very much the same as when you were in your childhood years because that is when those responses were developed and set into you. They are the core thoughts and emotions concerning those areas of experiences and therefore they are your fallback responses. If we were truly the genuine image and structure of the modern view of an Adult, such childish thoughts and emotions and even actions and outbreaks would never materialize. We would have outgrown them, evolved passed them into something else. Yes many people want others to think that have in-fact evolved past those childhood internal responses, but you spend a good deal of time with anyone and you will witness otherwise.
If you want to truly see the inner child living and breathing behind an adult face, get married. The people you become closest to in life and spend the most genuine time with always show you the truth behind the masks. Yes many adults have certainly learned how to wear the masks of responsibility and maturity, but underneath and when life pushes the proper way, you can easily see all that is nothing more than a mask and behind that mask is the inner child, the person when their personality was set, fired in the embers of life in early youth. The adult is an illusion, a character played for the benefit of survival in a hard world.
The masks we make are created with one major key in mind – survival. The child knows how hard the physical world is. The child instinctively seeks out comfort and safety. Primal thought processes are based upon the needs to survive; water, shelter, food, warmth, tools, etc, but also to protect the self from everything else. It can be looked at as the ego through self identity trying to protect itself from everything deemed not self. Remember my article called Baseline Human Emotion? You might wish to go back and read that because it directly pertains to what I am saying here, but in much greater detail.
We are all but children wearing the many masks of our making. We cannot “grow up the inner child”, we are the inner child. Through self awareness, the acceptance of who we, are and what created us as we are in this life can open a world of greater self freedom. Once we stop fighting against our inner self and open up to learning from it, nurturing it, observing it and honoring it, we can reach a level of acceptance that I think many people never attain because they are always fighting against their nature. Society was built upon the baseline pursuits of survival, comfort and safety. Just look at it on its core level and you can easily see that is what its foundation is. Masks were created by children to pretend to be something else. Sometimes because curiosity drives us to want to know what it is like to be something other than our self. Sometimes because behind a mask we can hide and feel protected from all that is harmful. Society itself is wearing an endless series of masks run by children wearing masks because somewhere along the line people must have thought it was easier to interact with life from behind a mask rather than face to face. Just look at technology and the continued progression of technology. Communication gets more and more removed from a personal nature every year and every generation. The state of anonymity grows more and more widespread and accepted through the virtual world. Masks wearing masks.
Just look at how popular animated movies are, video games, games in general, amusement parks, stories and all the things geared to an adolescent mind. Is it any wonder? To me adulthood is taking the responsibility to own up to what your inner child is, embrace it, analyze the masks we make, find out why we made the ones we did and ask ourselves if we could make masks with a greater sense of self awareness. Instead of creating masks to hide or manipulate the world, which a great many do, could we instead make masks to enhance our personality, our uniqueness and create and use them to express the true power and worthiness of the inner child’s voice without the fear?
Most pretend the world cannot see them behind their masks, but that is one main reason the virtual world of anonymity came about, because behind the masks people knew very well the world could still see them in stressful situations, and the more intense and stressful the world has grown, the more easily it has been to see what dwells behind people’s masks. Is it any wonder the observation came about how many people start as children and near the end of their days here on earth they return to a childlike state? It is because the foundation is child and that child has never left and holding masks takes energy, more than a weakening physical body can uphold.
If we take a look at animals we also see the child mind in them, rather than the sophisticated adult mind illusion humans claim to possess. Even the most intelligent animals on this planet, scientists state only have the equivalent age factor of a human of 13 years. These are animals with very high intelligent factors in the animal kingdom, and they only rate to the mind of a 13 year old human. But animals can related and show compassion strongly for people suffering. Why do you think this is? People in states of suffering typically, in my observations and experience, have more of their inner child exposed on the surface. Animals see this, feel it and connect with it because it is not being hidden behind masks. Is it any wonder more animals respond to sick people and children much deeper and more strongly than they do healthy adults?
Instead of seeking to “grow up the inner child”, perhaps simply changing focus to become more self aware and self accepting of you as the inner child, as you when your personality become fired in life, as the actual personality foundation that has moved you through everything you have done, felt, thought and been since you “grew up”? To me that seems like not only a more attainable and practical pursuit, but also a more truthful approach to the universe and our purposes here.