The child within causes the adult to cling to the false security of sameness. It is a belief that I can always count on the goodness of what is, necessary for an infant and young child and seriously inadequate for an adult. Clinging to the past as personally appropriate embodies the idea that change will harm us. Life at all levels is always developing – perhaps not a survival of the fittest a la Darwin, but what works in the here and now. Why should man, an animal also develop within his species?
To find the new is to leave the past behind if not to destroy it as not working. Having to give up what possibly did work (and possibly not) leads to a reaction of pain and then joy. Pain comes from our recognition that what we believed in and leaned on is imperfect so that our search for the truth of survival as well as for its own sake must lead us.
As young children, we naturally believed our parent’s actions and feelings to be the best for us even when they injured us with word or deed. The adult comes to see that believing himself unworthy of their love (and subsequently of all love) is not an appropriate resting place. We feel the pain they rendered and called ourselves appropriately punished. This response turns to joy after we surrender the defense that we were to blame for their mistreatment.
Take our belief that our politician or religious leader is flawless. Believing this, we avoid our anxious mind and find a faulty rest. Now we see that they are humans also pushing into a greater truth or worse, that they use our belief in their flawlessness to rob us. We give up security from trusting the designated unselfish leader and know we have to keep our eye on them. We may need to object, hopefully in groups, when we are robbed, shoved aside to make way for their increasing power. We need to vote them down. The joy here as in all instances comes from achieving greater freedom.
Take believing that our partner is flawless which we discover is not true. The pain we feel comes seeing the one we adore fall off their stand of idealization. Joy comes from our ability to love that imperfect being which of course includes to love ourselves. It is a childish love to be emotionally blind. We feel the child’s pain of recognizing imperfection and fearful parental attack or murder as a result. We, the adult have the joy of feeling love.
What about the pain of discovering the animal creatures we think of and treat as food have feelings, are individual creatures with different kinds of personality. Wait a minute, I like my steak. The cow likes its “steak” too. If I see them as feeling creatures, does it mean I should change my eating patterns? I feel the pain of losing the pleasure of my tongue.Then the adult pops us and asks, “Will I be healthier if I exclude from my body the terrified flesh and blood, the agony of the dying beast? I feel the joy of becoming healthier, the joy of sharing life.
Belief systems operate like a cane we think we need to lean on. As such, they keep us paralyzed. Changing out belief in irreparable weakness, we can give up the cane and learn once more to walk.
To love the living world includes us. Pain comes from recognizing our imperfection and giving up the childish belief in the myth of flawlessness of parent, self or other, Joy comes from living the larger life. Happy acceptance of all life is a sign of adulthood. The child within will always be fearful of change. The adult reaches forward with its mind heart and hands, welcoming what comes.