Re-parenting the Inner Child
The human consciousness is multidimensional in nature with vast levels of unconscious behaviors or programming that we are constantly “playing out” every day of our lives. Understanding this system, the unconscious patterns within it, and our relationship to these patterns, can be a profound tool on your journey in the realization of Self.
Since a large percentage of our habitual behaviors are learned from our first point of contact, our parents and families, understanding and connecting to the inner child creates awareness and can lead to profound changes in our lives. Changing our relationship to these internal reactive programs, gives us the power to respond with consciousness and make different decisions that are more balanced and intentional. In other words, it raises awareness which can only result in a deeper connection with Self.
Active imagination, a technique developed by Carl Jung, is a wonderful way to enter the vast and complex world of the unconscious while guiding the process from your conscious awareness. This process of exploring builds new relationships and validates the existence of many parts of our consciousness that may have only found their expression through an unconscious, destructive, and subversive means. Inner Child Writing or Re-parenting the Inner Child is one of the many focused ways to engage in this process of Active Imagination.
Underneath the childhood wounds and programming, at the core of our consciousness, exists the true “Divine” child which embodies the highest qualities or expansiveness: Joy, Innocence, playfulness, vulnerability, awe, trust, connection, and unlimited creativity. Re-parenting or changing our relationship to this Inner “wounded” child can give us access to this natural state that is constantly (through whatever means necessary) attempting to express itself. This is a powerful, transformational, and profound energy to have access to in your daily life. Creating a new relationship to this inner world potential will change your relationship and experience of your outer world.
This process explores, validates, and nurtures the aspect of Self that, up to this point, may have only known how to express love through the manner of programming that it was exposed to. In unconsciousness, one expresses its understanding of love through the programming that one received. This process assists you in understanding that programing and gives you permission to choose and experience of something more, other and beyond; something closer to those Divine qualities.
Any sincere process of cultivating awareness is an act of Self-love or Self-adoration which transcends, heals, and expands any pre-existing, limiting, or distorted patterns and learned reactive habitual programs.
Begin by suspending judgment about the process. Allow everything to be exactly what it is. Do not try to direct the flow of the dialogue coming up. Active Imagination is not about “making things up”. It is about allowing an aspect of Self to come to the surface and developing a new more consciously loving relationship with it. In this case it is your Inner child. This process is all about inviting this aspect to come into your awareness, express itself, where you can give it the conscious love and attention that it deserves. Use your imagination to fuel the process.
1. Assign a specific book to record the journey of this relationship. If you want to make the process more powerful then ask your inner child to choose the book or the journal he/or she would like to use. Give the inner child the conscious power to choose, create and even decorate the journal. This is the beginning of the invitation and it creates an environment of safety for the process. Since for some this will be this first experience of consciously connecting to the inner child then do not get frustrated if you cannot hear what he/she is asking for. Be open to whatever arises within you and go with it. It is important to keep a record because later it may be difficult to remember the details. Also, the act of documenting this journal is giving the process value, saying that it is important to you. It creates a map to which you may later refer.
2. With your dominant hand, write the two questions which will begin all of your dialogue “How do you feel? and “What do you need?”. It is important to phrase the questions in this way because what you “need” is much different than what you may “want”. Since this is about addressing the unexpressed needs of the child it is important that you be clear in your approach. These subtle differences can create completely different responses from the child.
3. After you ask the question, switch the pencil into your non-dominant hand and allow the child to answer from the other hand. At first if you do not feel anything coming up to be expressed be patient. It may take time. At this point you can actively imagine what your child might say, continuing to invite the aspect of consciousness to express itself. The writing quality and vocabulary may be “child-like” Do not attempt to alter this.
4. The point of this process is to re-parent your inner child aspect in a manner which it was not parented: with love, consciousness, patience, kindness, acceptance and compassion. Be the parent that you always wanted to have. You are playing both roles here. The dominant hand is the parent, and the non-dominant hand is the child… Switching hands is switching personalities…
5. Begin the process of developing a new conscious relationship with this aspect of self through your written dialogue allowing the natural flow of the conversation.
6. Pay attention to your language. Make a conscious effort to be loving, and create loving dialogue. If you are confused by information being presented, then lovingly ask for clarification.
7. Ask what age of the child you are speaking to. On different days you will have different aspects and ages of the child to come to the surface. Determine who you are speaking to. You may adjust your language and dialogue depending on what age you are speaking to.
8. Begin your day with the process. What better way to validate your child as the first act of the day to show how important he/she is to you.
9. Ask your child to assist you in your day. Remember a wounded un-loved or ignored child usually “acts out” unconsciously sabotaging things in your life. This unconscious behavior can often be the cause of those feelings of ” being stuck” or “nothing is working” and the feeling of “some unknown thing” that seems toget in the way of the flow of what is happening in your life. In some cases, that is the only forum, unhealthy as it may be, manner in which the inner child has to express itself. You are now creating a safe place where the child can be validated. So ask the child to assist you through its divine qualities and nurture the hurt, ignored, wounded parts of the child with love.
10. Always keep your word to your child. Remember if you cannot keep your promises or commitments that you make with your child then renegotiate. So many of our wounds come from our parents not keeping their word and internalization of it. It is an act of vulnerability for the child to respond to your question what do you need. Be respectful to yourself.
11. Pay attention to patterns. This will help you understand how different ages of your inner child relate to your life. The documentation helps for analysis later on.
12. Be consistent and disciplined. Keep a regular routine and ask how often he/she wants to connect, but remember that a daily practice will develop more trust, and faster results, and a deeper bond with that inner world.
13. Respect the process. This is not an exercise or a game. It is a forum of exploration of self and the building of awareness
Allow the process and the communion with this part of yourself to evolve. Refine your communication as you learn more about yourself. Get out of the way as best as possible. Do you best to let go of any judgments about how you think this should look. The process is effortless, so if you trying to make it happen or forcing it you will not get authentic results. Be kind and patient with yourself. This is a forum to develop Self-love.
Most of all, remember to pay attention to your relationship to your outer world during this practice. At first the results may seem very subtle, but you will quickly begin to see the patterns and your relationship to them depending on your commitment to the process. Remember that your focused intention is a powerful tool. It creates your relationship to your reality and your Self. Everything is happening exactly as you need it. Any information you receive is exactly what you need. Enjoy the journey.
– Markus William Kasunich
For more information and detailed approaches to other forms of Active Imagination consult the book Inner Work by Jungian psychologist, Robert A Johnson
Also refer to a blog by Jerry M Ruhl, PHD for more information on-line information go to Inner Work Blog
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