We each come into this world as a precious spark of divine spirit, I believe we each come with our own energy imprint and its a big gamble as to how this unique part of us is received. So much can happen in the interface between our spirit seeking to unfold its uniqueness and what occurs as we look to find a ‘home’ for who we are, a place of grounding and seeding with particular parents within in a particular family and a particular society.
In the course of growing up all kinds of beliefs get imprinted in us. We are told certain things, we either meet a mirror or a blank wall or a wall of anger, shame and fear. Some of us may be fortunate enough to find loving arms that soothe and hold us and comfort us in our distress. Those of us who aren’t so lucky may meet crossed arms and a sneer or a snub or a look of disgust or be teased or taunted when distressed. Some of us will be held in mind, some of us will fall out of mind or barely register on a depressed or self involved parent’s radar. Some of us may meet a void in many ways, an empty place where the inner feelings inside we have not yet found words for turn around and around inside us like shards or splinters. Some of us will hear soothing words, some of us will hear sharp words and all of these words will register on us in our consciousness to one day reappear as voices inside or within, voices we absorbed, voices that advise us, voices that limit us but underneath all of these voices there is one still small voice that speaks to us, not from a sense of contraction, fear, approval seeking and limitation but from purer place of love, openness, expansion and unconditional acceptance and this voice may know a lot about who we really are in essence as opposed to who we may have become in an attempt to fit in or not be hurt again.
Just following my bike accident in June 2005 I had a reading with astrologer Melanie Reinhardt in London. At the reading she recommended a book to me Soul Without Shame : A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within by Byron Brown. Sadly for me I didn’t get the book until last year and it has sat on my bookshelf along with other books “I just haven’t got around to reading yet”. But lately I have been becoming more and more aware of the voice of the judge within, which can also go by the name of the inner critic or superego that I really felt the need to open the book. I am so glad I did, as it is not a book by an ‘expert’ but by a writer and spiritual seeker who on his own path has learned a lot about how the judge operates within his own life and consciousness through watching how his own inner judge works.
He also calls attention to the fact that underlying this part of our consciousness is that precious unique energy of our true nature which is less concerned with approval seeking and more concerned with pure self expression. This is this part of us that is so often stymied or limited or undermined by conditioning factors in our upbringing which make the power of the judges voice become very, very strong, often working to over-ride some of our best creative impulses.
Any of you who are creative surely know this force well. It is that part of us that wants to tell us all about how inept you are, how far you will fall short, how badly your creative efforts may be received and how you should just learn to play it safe, not dream too large, risk too much or express your heart, opening up to all the other critics out there who will certainly remind you of how what you are trying to express is rubbish.
And most certainly we do need some kind of discriminative sense to decide what we feel may be worthwhile or not, but the point that Brown makes about the judge is that he is never concerned with you expressing your true nature, only that what you express be well received and meet with the expectations and social accepted ideas and ideals of others. The judge constantly evaluates you to see if you are ‘good enough’ according to others and to imposed standards, it gives you no awareness of the fact that being good enough is not important, what is most important is to be authentically you (and even if you cannot not even judging that! Gets tough, doesn’t it?
Negative judgements stimulate feelings of rejection, guilt, doubt, shame and self hatred, while positive judgements tend to arouse feelings of self esteem, pride, excitement, self righteousness, and superiority. Either way, these results are conditional, and you are left dependent on the judge to reject or approve of you…I am encouraging you to go beyond turning rejection into approval and to question the very assumptions underlying self judgement.
I am sure there are some lucky souls out there who don’t let this side of them permanently stymie them or their creative efforts, in the face of the judge’s criticism they go ahead anyway and with courage take action to move through the wall of fear. We all have to face the judge, and we all have to do our own battle with this force, but with awareness and attention we can find ways not to be so strangled by it, we can understand how fear of being rejected can underlie certain behaviour and then we can choose to embrace and love our true self or essence anyway, taking the risk to be ourselves and let out from inside of us the individual life juice that so wants to flow forward and builds its containers of valid self expression, acceptance and being.
Often when we get quiet enough we hear all kinds of voices inside. We can do inner work with these voices and judgements in order to understand which come from our inner essence of soul, expansion, creativity and joy and which come from contraction, fear, separation, false beliefs and old pain. We can open to all the voices and find which support us, which heal us and which cut us down causing us pain in our body and disconnecting our soul not only from ourselves but from others too.