The deeper I enter into my spiritual life, the more I encounter the psychological issues that keep me in bondage. My core wound (as is many people’s) is connected with issues of neglect, abandonment, and feelings of overall unworthiness. When I brush up against any of these issues in my day-to-day life, they inevitably trigger very old ingrained reactions. The driving force of my life and my capabilities as a communicator were all defined by my need for first, understanding and second, attention. That’s right, attention. Had I not been ignored and neglected by self-absorbed, overwhelmed parents, I would never had the need to become articulate and self-sufficient, and filled with an unquenchable thirst to understand the deeper meaning of life.
The irony at middle-age is to realize that for years, I’ve continued to attract people into my life that maintained this pattern of neglect and indifference, to further agitate my feelings of being unnoticed and unseen until it has nearly driven me mad, but it’s also pushed me to develop my communication skills even further, to build a life around those skills so that my human need to be heard was finally met.
Beneath the surface of this need for attention has always been the greater need for meaning. My passion for this has defined my life since I was fifteen. These two drives when partnered could have manifested into incredible opportunity for me to step into a role of leadership. Luckily for me, my need for attention is not fed by crowds and adoration and admiration. Quite the contrary. Some other force, more subtle and less defined is tempering this type of overly visible and overly public display. No, it is much more anchored in my personal relationships. There is the dilemma, but also the opening.
Getting to know yourself and your core psychological issues and how they’ve shaped your life is the foundation upon which any real spiritual growth is built. The two simply cannot be separated. They are intertwined and dependent on each other as lungs are to drawing a breath.
That’s not to say that you should get caught up in analyzing them every spare moment, but rather getting acquainted with them, observing them, seeing when you have strong feelings or thoughts or reactions to something, watching for the triggers that come up. As you get to know yourself, this won’t seem so strange or overwhelming; it will become second nature, and part of your daily experience. Over time, you will actually begin to notice that you are evolving and growing and stretching in ways you never conceived possible. The more you are willing to invite these unconscious parts of yourself to the surface to be explored, the more insights will come, and instead of feeling as though you’re living in a small world defined by your past, you will begin to experience a world that transcends all boxes; the possibilities that once seem limited will, from this perspective, seem endless.
An evolving life is an exciting life. Growth means movement and movement means growth. Something as simple as deciding to pay attention to yourself can change everything. It opens unseen doors that you never even knew existed. Your ability to comprehend even the most complex situations begins to expand. Your capacity to accomplish what before seemed to take huge amounts of effort, now seems to move into a rhythm of effortlessness. What becomes apparent is that our entire struggle has been caused by our unconsciousness, and we alone can change it.
This post was first published on my blog, Blessed Madness, which was online from 2006 - 2009.