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Love, truth, and peace are not experiences that are generated from our own minds. They are gifts of Spirit that come to us when we are truly open to learning about what is most loving to ourselves and others.

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Do You Really Want to Know the Truth or Do You Just Want to Stop the Pain?

By Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
March 07, 2009



Being in the intent to learn is a prerequisite for Inner Bonding. This article explores what might get in the way.



I have often wondered why some people "get" Inner Bonding and are able to heal while others, given the same tools, just don't.  Margaret often says that the difference is in their "intent."  In this column, I will explore one perspective on what this might mean.

The intent to learn can be thought of as having two components, really.  The first can be described as the willingness (or actually the wanting) to know the truth, not only from outside feedback but, more importantly from our inner child about what we are doing or not doing to cause their pain.  If we cannot stay present for this feedback, there is no learning.

I thought back to my first intensive (THE first intensive).  Before I tell this story, I want to reassure the reader that things have changed a lot, so don't think it is like this now.  Basically, what happened was that I could not do anything right.  Everything I did triggered somebody including, literally, the way I reached for the salt at lunch.  It seemed like at every session I was being told, again, that what I was doing was "wrong."  I kept desperately trying to get someone to tell me I was doing something right, but that only drew more feedback about how I was pulling for approval.  I was told I was "in my head," and that nobody could connect with me.  I was even told hat I turned people off before I even opened my mouth.  I felt completely busted and lost. 

At the same time, I knew that my life was not working and never had.  I was not conscious of great pain, but I knew that there was something terribly wrong because life for me was dull misery and many people did not like me.  I knew there was much more to life but that I did not know how to get it.  I remembered, though, that no matter how bad it got, I never stopped wanting to know the truth, because I totally believed that only the truth would make it possible for anything to change.  I am deeply grateful that I was able to start Inner Bonding from this place.

I believe that a commitment to totally wanting to know the truth, whether present from the beginning or developed as the loving adult gets stronger, is essential for Inner Bonding.  It is the prerequisite for being open to learning (necessary but not all of it).  This can present a huge challenge for people who become overwhelmed by pain in the face of criticism.  The desire to know the truth can become totally swamped by the overwhelming pain of being told that you are doing something wrong by others or by the hurting child inside.  The wounded self just wants to have control over stopping the pain and cannot begin to understand where it is really coming from.  The wounded self cannot imagine a time when the truth from the hurting inner child or from others will be welcomed as the gift it is, another opportunity to make life even better!

The second component of the intent to learn is wanting to know and take the loving action.  It is perfectly possible to learn all about how we are abandoning our inner child without very much changing.  For healing to take place, we have to be committed to learning how to treat our inner child in a way that results in their feeling safe and loved.  This too can be very challenging, especially for people with very little experience of being treated in a loving way or perhaps in being a loving parent.  The wounded self defaults to "I can't do this.  I need to find someone else to do it for me" which shuts down the learning process.   It cannot envision how joyful and actually easy it will be to take care of our wonderful inner child.

I have also noticed that some people, indeed some "healing paths" try to skip the first part, learning the truth about the reasons for our pain and go straight to the second, trying to stop the pain, trying to directly bring love to the inner child.  This is the equivalent of giving cookies to a crying child without ever learning why they are crying.  This is trying to stop the pain without ever taking responsibility for causing it in the first place.  It is a bypass that may temporarily stop the crying but actually perpetuates the inner abandonment that is causing the pain.

So perhaps it would be useful to honestly ask yourself the question in the title of this column: "Do I really want to know the truth or do I just want to stop the pain?"  There is actually no right answer here, because if you do just want to stop the pain, accepting that is actually and paradoxically the first step to wanting to know the truth.  All of us experience that at times.  But if that is the way it really is right now in your life, you are better off working with and healing the beliefs that underlie that rather than basing your inner bonding practice on pretending to yourself that you are truly in the intent to learn and wondering why you are not feeling any better. 

As we do truly open to learning, the universe totally supports us in sending us people and the experiences that support our ability to live our lives to the fullest.  It is hard for the frightened wounded kids who are running our lives to trust this, but I promise you that if you really face the truth and you really want it, there is a life for you that is beyond your wildest dreams.  I know mine is and I am not the only one.

 



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