SILENCING YOUR SABOTEURS
We are often ruled by emotions that are based on fear due to our prior experiences, and these emotions overrule our rational minds. We avoid the potential for pain, and by default we avoid the potential for fulfillment. These emotions are often subconscious, which is why we sometimes act in ways that our rational minds cannot justify.
One way to begin to identify these subconscious emotions is to give them the forms of the silent saboteurs that you met in the previous chapter. Now we will further explain each saboteur and suggest the principal approaches for transforming them.
Transforming Your Ego
As stated before, the ego is the part of our subconscious that identifies solely with the human body and our current experiences. It is that deeply instinctive part that has ingrained programming for its survival. It has developed coping mechanisms to survive, but these same coping mechanisms sabotage our intentions because they are out of balance.
For example, a child cries to communicate its need for food, water, or a diaper change and to avoid discomfort, rashes, and the potential for infection. We learn to create a fuss in order to get attention, and we learn to associate attention with getting the love that we need to survive. However, as adults, many of the ways that we have learned to create a fuss are counterproductive to our intentions.
A person who continually creates a fuss in the workplace can be labeled a trouble maker, which impedes her ability to get ahead and create the professional prosperity that she desires. The person who picks a fight with a potential partner as a cry for love may actually drive that partner away instead of creating the loving relationship he desires.
In each of these instances, the same response that created a productive result in childhood now creates a counterproductive result. The response that was in balance with the need for survival as a child is now out of balance with what is needed as an adult.
As adults in a highly developed society, our survival is rarely at risk. However, subconsciously, when we feel that to survive we need love―or love’s proxies, such as attention, respect, etc.―we may think subconsciously that our lives are threatened, and our responses are out of proportion to our needs. The ego creates a disproportionate and counterproductive response, so we bring the ego back into balance with the truth of the moment. To do so, it is helpful to further understand the ego.
The ego is simply our instinctive survival mechanism.
The ego has become ingrained in primal fear due to eons of evolution, most of which occurred when the earth was a hostile place for humans, and human survival was constantly at risk.
When humans initially inhabited the earth, they were spiritual beings, unaware of what was necessary to survive the primitive, hostile territory. To survive, they developed instinctive responses, such as a hyper-vigilance against threats. Eventually, even minor triggers such as a social slight became associated with a deep need for love and survival. This out of balance ego clouded the way they saw the world and edged out the inherent, spiritual awareness that the universe could be a supportive and loving place, and they could see the world in a different, more reasoned way.
The ego was and still is a good thing when it is in balance with our innate spiritual knowledge and we can experience the universe as a loving, supportive place. However, the ego is rarely in balance because it has run amok for eons. That is why healing and balancing the ego is a repetitive process where we teach the silent saboteurs a different way of seeing the world.
This process is not unlike taming a lion. The lion tamer doesn’t destroy the lion or fight with it to teach it a new behavior. The ego serves a valuable purpose. When in balance with our inner, spiritual awareness, it helps us to navigate through life. Instead of fighting with it, we want to teach it a new way.
Your task is to invite the ego into your safe meditation space, where you can reconnect it with the Source of creativity, power and grace. This grace balances the influence of the ego.
Redeploying Your Inner Judge
Your inner judge has honed its skills by finding the potential for pain that creates fear in any situation. It has gathered and catalogued all the difficult experiences in your life in a highly intelligent way. It often refers to this database of experiences and uses it to avoid any potential for pain and suffering when it observes anything that reminds it of a past situation that caused pain.
Unfortunately, your inner judge is so busy avoiding pain that it also avoids the potential for pleasure. For example, your inner judge may avoid a potential relationship with someone because that person reminds you of someone in your past with whom you had a challenging relationship. One reason that this reminder is drawn to you is so you can heal the pain of the past relationship and move forward with a more loving experience.
You can teach your inner judge a new truth by giving yourself a different experience. However, the inner judge would rather avoid the disappointment of the prior relationship and hold onto the old story, because the old story is comfortable and familiar. You may have subconsciously adopted this old story as a part of who you believe yourself to be, and it may have garnered sympathy that you equated with love. You may be reluctant to release this old story even when your inner judge compares it to any new situation.
The inner judge is brilliant when it comes to keeping you from your prosperity, but you can retrain your inner judge to use its brilliance to accept the prosperity that is waiting for you. The brilliance of the inner judge is its ability to discern the essence of a situation based on past experiences and past stories.
We can teach the inner judge to reassess a situation based on a new set of maxims.
For example, a woman’s inner judge may have experienced men as unreliable and untrustworthy, and she subconsciously believes that any new situation will recreate the same disappointments. The inner judge may have been programmed to selectively perceive only data that matches its beliefs, and screen out information that differs from the maxims (truths) that it knows.
Giving Your Inner Judge the Gift of Truth
Your task is to teach your inner judge a new set of maxims that it can compare to the information inherent in any new situation. When the data matches the new set of maxims, the inner judge will move you forward toward your prosperity instead of resisting it. For example, a woman might actively review instances where men have been trustworthy and reliable and, in doing so, program herself to see any evidence of this reliability that might exist in her new situation.
The old maxims that the inner judge has held are:
God doesn’t love me. He judges me as imperfect. Therefore, I don’t deserve my good.
The universe doesn’t support me. It punishes and withholds from me, creating lack and struggle.
I don’t love myself. Therefore, I don’t deserve my good.
You can teach the inner judge during prayer and meditation and at other times by repeating the affirmations:
God loves me completely and unconditionally.
The universe supports me completely and unconditionally.
I love myself completely and unconditionally.
These affirmations can create a foundation for a new consciousness that supports your prosperity and also quiets one of your other silent saboteurs, your inner critic.
Calming Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic has been held hostage to the paradox of perfection. As you remember, the paradox of perfection is based on the idea that there is some impossible standard of perfection that we must meet in order to be worthy of God’s love. If we feel unworthy of God’s love, we feel unworthy of our prosperity, and we subconsciously block our good.
The inner critic finds something unacceptable about every situation. For example, you may shy away from an intimate relationship for fear that the person may see the real you and reject you because your inner critic tells you that you are not acceptable. Your inner critic may conjure up criticisms of your potential partner to blind you to the truth that you are criticizing yourself. It may even make these criticisms seem larger than life in order to put distance between you and your potential partner, or to set up unrealistic expectations or impossible tests for them to pass that give you an excuse to reject your partner before he or she rejects you.
Teach acceptance to your inner critic. In the prior example, the real lesson was to teach you that your subconscious criticisms of another are really places within yourself that you believe are unacceptable. When you find places within you unacceptable, you feel unworthy of the prosperity that you say you want, and this inner criticism sabotages your good.
This path of acceptance begins when you are able to accept your outer circumstances as they are and move forward with them to where you would like to be.
Teaching Your Inner Critic Acceptance, Objectivity and Forgiveness
Your task is to redeploy your inner critic by turning its criticism into discernment, and by finding yourself completely acceptable so that you can accept your good.
To minimize your inner critic’s ability to reject your good, you teach it to accept what it has previously found to be unacceptable. This journey into acceptance requires taking an objective view of the situation and applying forgiveness.
In the earlier example, it was very tempting to fixate on your partner’s shortcomings. That fixation causes you to miss the true lesson and opportunity for growth, which was that these outer criticisms were simply reflections of things within you that you found to be unacceptable. Their criticism, judgment and disrespect were outward reflections of your unconscious criticism, judgment and disrespect for yourself.
There may be many situations in your life where you felt victimized, unloved, unaccepted or harmed. Many of these cannot be changed, yet you have found them to be unacceptable. You may even have become so accustomed to your victimization that you are unwilling to give it up because, subconsciously, victimization has come to define you. As a result, it requires some effort to move into acceptance. Acceptance does not mean that you condone destructive behavior.
Acceptance is the willingness to look at a situation without judgment or criticism, and to choose a path that leads to peace. Acceptance is reconciling yourself to a situation as it exists, without the stress or pressure of needing to change it. When you are accepting, you are ready to say: OK, this happened. I acknowledge it. I will not dwell on it in a victim mentality, but I will see the lesson, growth and healing that may come as a result of this situation.
This is a very tall order, so you can move from the comfortable cocoon of judgment, blame and looking outside yourself to the new place of inner awareness and self‑responsibility. Often, it is more comfortable to hold a grudge than to hold the mirror up to ourselves to see the lesson to be learned.
To make this move, enter your safe inner space of prayer and meditation where you are safe creating change. In your safe space, you are adept at bringing in the light that heals the wounds that have lurked in the depths of your subconscious. In your safe space, you can heal this old pain by releasing it into the light of God’s love that you draw to yourself. God’s love will move into these wounded places in your subconscious and you will feel a sense of love and peace that opens you to the blessing of seeing the situation more objectively instead of seeing it through the prism of your pain.
When you work in this way, you attain an inner state of forgiveness. You realize that forgiveness is not something that you give to another, or to yourself. Forgiveness is an inner state that you achieve when you feel surrounded, healed and buoyed by God’s love, and that love is applied to your inner wounds. It is through the process of salvation that we experience forgiveness.
Salvation is the application of the salve of God’s love to the wounds of your soul. Salvation places you in a state of peace, where you are able to see things differently, and where you feel the love that your soul has yearned to experience.
For example, I have worked with many people who have found it difficult to forgive an abusive, alcoholic father who was either unsupportive or absent. These wounds have run deep and have had a lasting impact on some clients’ lives. Many had actually gotten comfortable in their victim mentality and it defined the way they saw the world, especially when the same patterns repeated over and over again. When they opened these wounds to receive the healing grace of God’s love, I witnessed a new energy, a new perception and a new sense of peace and balance based on their seeing the situation more objectively. Pretty unanimously, they become aware of the father’s pain, confusion and turmoil.
This has often occurred after emotional release, the cathartic process of briefly expressing the pain of the old wounds they have suppressed, and releasing this pain to the healing grace of God so it is lifted from them and transformed. They were able to have compassion for their father and for themselves in a way that they were unable to when they were blaming themselves and him for their pain. This powerful transformation, fueled by the objectivity of grace, put them in a state of forgiveness for themselves and for others. From the place of forgiveness, they were able to see the situation more objectively, and to open themselves to the lesson of healing.
With the gift of objectivity, you can see the lesson or healing that is available to you so this lesson or healing can move you closer to your goal. Acceptance may require being able to see a situation in a different way. Acceptance requires a deep understanding and practice of knowing this:
If you cannot change the choices, decisions or paths of others, you can change the way you see things so that their choices do not diminish your sense of well‑being.
Acceptance requires healing the hurt that the situation has created. Acceptance of others and of situations also requires an acceptance of yourself and a forgiveness of yourself for the pain that you experienced as a result of your prior thinking.
Balancing the Inner Saint and Inner Sinner
The inner saint and inner sinner have been just as imprisoned by the paradox of perfection as the inner critic.
The inner saint believes that it must cling to an impossible standard of perfection in order to earn God’s love. The inner saint must accept that the standard of perfection to which it ascribes is just a myth so it can accept itself without condition. The inner saint would starve you when it is out of balance. When it is in acceptance, it will guide you to the most self‑loving choices.
The inner sinner believes that its indulgence (food, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc.) will bring it a sense of loving peace. The inner sinner sees its indulgences as substitutes for the love that it seeks. The inner sinner would have you eat a whole gallon of ice cream.
When these two are in balance, you eat what you wish, or indulge in moderation in what brings you joy for balanced and self‑loving reasons. The inner saint feels that it must limit the excesses of the inner sinner. The inner sinner has been in a frantic search for what it perceives to be the life‑giving force that it needs to survive.
For example, many have learned to subconsciously equate sexual expression with the parental love we believe that we need to survive. As a result, many may be drawn to excessive sexual expression and choices that ultimately are not self‑loving because this sexual expression is a substitute for the love that the soul desires. This is prevalent among adolescent girls who become sexually active before they develop the maturity to make self‑affirming choices. The conflict between the inner saint and the inner sinner creates the guilt that causes us to withhold our good. In the example of a teenage girl, these choices and the guilt they induce can create consequences such as teen pregnancy, limited life choices, and an unsupportive environment that could last a lifetime if not addressed.
Acceptance will bring peace to these two silent saboteurs. When they are in balance, you will accept your desire for fulfillment as natural, and use the wisdom of the inner saint to guide you to the pursuits that offer you self‑loving fulfillment.
To balance the inner saint and inner sinner:
Teach the inner saint that it is loved no matter how things look so it does not have to be afraid of being punished if reality differs from the idealized view it has created;
Deploy the energies of the inner sinner in a balanced and productive way so its energies are not suppressed in a way that creates destructive patterns.
Embracing Your Inner Child
A key aspect of the ego is the inner child. As stated earlier, the inner child learned in childhood how to survive and get what it needed. Unfortunately, these lessons, the impressions they left and the rules of engagement they established now sabotage our desires. These life lessons were ingrained early and are deeply embedded in the child’s subconscious mind. For example, the child learned conditional love instead of unconditional love when parents threatened to withhold love if the child misbehaved. The child then modified its behavior to conform to standards that would garner positive reinforcement.
Creating positive reinforcement became so routine that it became a part of our subconscious patterning. We are unaware of these responses in the same way that the college professor was unaware that he was forced to one corner of the lecture hall, yet these responses keep us from making the rational adult responses that an objective observer would expect. A child’s memories, experiences, pain and fear promote the behavior that a rational adult would reject.
The inner child holds the key to our self‑sabotaging behaviors. It is the invisible hand that pushes us forward into behaviors and actions that are self‑limiting at best and self‑destructive in their extreme. Often, we find ourselves in a situation where we think:
How did I get here?
I thought I already dealt with that.
When we think these things, it’s because of the reactions and responses embedded in our minds from our most formative experiences, and the stories that these experiences taught us. It’s as if the energy that drives our behaviors is not adult, rational energy but the unhealed energy of the inner child, and this energy drives us into ditch after ditch, leaving us wondering:
How did I get so far off track?
For example, one of my clients was preparing to be married and to move in with the man of her dreams. However, she became aware of a strong resistance to marriage, which was one of her life‑long dreams, and she inexplicably took actions that seemed to sabotage the very things that she had dreamed about. As she anticipated the arrival of her wedding dress, she began to gain weight instead of losing it, despite her dieting. She picked fights with her fiancé prior to moving in with him, and she squandered money they had saved to build their dream house on land they had already purchased. She was mystified, but she knew that the answers were buried somewhere in her childhood, so she decided to meet with me.
As I worked with her, she discovered that, as a child, she moved in the fourth grade. When she got to her new school she was teased mercilessly, called ugly and stupid and tormented by other children. Her home situation was not much better. Her parents ridiculed her for being skinny and being a tomboy who liked the outdoors. They showed a strong preference for her brother, who was overweight.
As we unlocked these childhood memories, it became clear to my client that her inner child was sabotaging her adult desires. Her inner child was terrified and was doing everything it could to stop the move so she wouldn’t experience the wrenching pain that she associated with moving. This pain was still buried deep within her subconscious, and avoiding this pain was more important to the inner child than seeking the joy of union was to the rational adult.
In addition, her inner child associated being skinny with being rejected by her parents because she still held painful memories of when her parents rejected her as skinny and preferred her brother, who was heavy. Her inner child resisted losing weight despite her adult desire to fit into her wedding dress. Her inner child associated the parents’ love with life itself. Out of an irrational fear that she would lose her parents’ love and, thus, the life force itself, her inner child had a primal fear of losing weight.
Through a series of processes, we worked together to reclaim, embrace, love and heal her inner child. By telling the child of her loveliness, worthiness and goodness, and by continually embracing the inner child, she was able to trust that loving things could happen if she let herself move forward.
We have believed that we have had to control our inner child, beat it into submission, or destroy it. But our inner child wants to survive. It resists, and its determination only intensifies when we oppose it. Our attempts to control the involuntary tendency toward self‑destructive behaviors causes us to criticize ourselves and to subconsciously withhold our good as punishment, creating a downward spiral.
We can find a new way to work with the inner child. We can embrace the energy of the inner child, listen to what it needs, and teach it a new way by providing it with comfort, support, and encouragement
Our task is to work with the inner child through prayer and meditation to re-connect it to the grace of God’s love. Initially, the inner child is so traumatized by its experiences of pain, rejection, judgment, shame, fear and doubt that it is reluctant to come forward. It fears that coming forward for healing will yield nothing more than the same pain it has already experienced.
Just as you did in the previous chapter, use your safe inner space for the inner child to learn safety and security. When the inner child does emerge, you will be astounded by its wisdom, strength, creativity, vision and power.
Giving Your Inner Child Unconditional Love
Embracing your inner child is a repetitive exercise that enables it to recognize, trust and respond to the power of unconditional love. You build this trust gradually by repeatedly using your safe inner space with the inner child through meditations such as the inner child meditation from the previous chapter. Once you establish this trust, you teach the inner child a new truth, and you teach it to respond differently to its world. As a result, that part of you that has been wounded, demoralized, shamed and frightened emerges as the wise, loving and powerful part of your consciousness that accepts its ultimate love-ability, worthiness, and ability to create and receive its good.
You can work with this process daily as a part of your daily time of contemplation. Begin by taking a childhood picture of yourself into your quiet, private meditation place and focusing on this picture while you chant the words:
I love myself completely and unconditionally.
If you do not have a picture of yourself, imagine yourself as a child. By focusing on this concept, you infuse your subconscious with unconditional love. At first, this may feel unfamiliar and even uncomfortable, because you are not accustomed to being bathed in unconditional love. Just as a prisoner who has been in solitary confinement has become so accustomed to the darkness that the light physically hurts his skin when he emerges, your inner child may initially subconsciously resist the light of love. You may find that judgments that you have held about yourself arise to counteract the words that you chant. You are teaching your inner child a new way, training it to respond differently, and this process benefits from patience and repetition.
Your Transformed Ego
By transforming these silent saboteurs, you can ensure that the coping strategies that you used to navigate during your formative years no longer sabotage your current desires. These are vital stages on your journey to prosperity. By embracing your inner child, you will hear the child’s erroneous thoughts, and you can comfort the child, leading it out of confusion and into the confident clarity that comes from clear vision. You will redeploy the inner judge to seek its joy instead of avoiding the potential for pain. You will teach your inner critic to use unconditional loving acceptance to balance your inner saint and your inner sinner so that you live a more fulfilling life.
In transforming the silent saboteurs, you’ll notice that they had emotional flare‑ups that defied logic and reason. These reactions became habitual out of self‑protection, because the memories of old scripts and the pain that these memories caused became an ingrained part of their routine behavior.
One way to heal the pain caused by emotional flare‑ups of the silent saboteurs is to elaborate on the process that we’ve already used to work with the inner child. The next chapter provides another powerful exercise for doing this.