The Undertow : reflections on the Inner Critic and the Inner Child

Many thanks to a fellow blogger for inspiring the title of this post.  I just reblogged the post in which Laina Eartharcher addressed two powerful forces of our inner world : the inner child and the inner critic.   I could also rename those two ‘The Joy Maker’ and ‘The Doom Merchant’.

As in inner force and compatriot of the force of the Undertow the Inner Critic’s game is to get us swirling into a negative downward spiral.  In some books on spirituality and emotional recovery the Inner Critic is referred to as the negative ego.  It works against acceptance, mercy, gratitude and enlightenment as well as against connection.  The negative critic only sees what is bad or hard, it keeps its focus on what you or others did wrong, how bone crushing that was, how unforgiveable and horrific. That’s not to say what happened to you wasn’t absolutely awful and negative but the truth is are you going to live with the negative power of it going over and over and over in your mind day after day after day convincing you that life will never be safe or joyous again.

On the other side of our mind scape is the joyous, innocent, soul infused Inner Child.  Full of radiance and life this inner child sees hope, she sees the mystery, he feels the pain and suffering and looks upon them with eyes of innocence.  He or she naturally or instinctively reaches out a hand to hold yours when you are in pain. He or she does not recoil in fear.  He or she is the quiet still inward voice that can dissolve the critic’s ceaseless shaming and admonishments.  Loving soulful inner child just says “I am so sorry you are in pain.  I am here.  You are not alone. What you went through really hurt.  Lets just be calm and still for a time and open our heart to what needs to be heard or felt.”  She then says “Don’t you think it would help to touch base with beauty, mystery and awe somewhere say music, nature, poetry, a hot bowl of chicken soul, a frolic in a meadow with your dog.”  He or she restores us to naked simplicity.

Often all of this is what the wounded hurting inner child in us most needs to hear, see or do never moreso than when he or she has just been besieged, attacked or assailed by the pain mongering of the Inner Critic pulling her down deep inside the soul sucking vortex of the painful undertow.

The undertow is not always to be resisted though.  Smetimes we need to be taken down.   There can be a healing power in an undertow that is calling us to descend to the bedrock or bottom of oceanic consciousness that as yet contains unfelt pain or need or longing or grief which is waiting patiently and silently there for us to recognise it and ride its upward surge as it carries us on a powerful wave of soulful love towards a distant shore or recognition, embodiment of suffering, soul awakening and peace.

Insights that hurt us may be contained here, but never the less their healing power and intention may be love.   It may be the necessity of our recognition of ways in which we stumbled, failed, fell short or missed he mark (the real meaning of the word mistake), ways in which our own unacknowledged pain, hurt, shame, anger, need for retribution or fear kept is locked up and imprisoned, barricaded from love and its winged accomplice miracle consciousness.

We may need to be pulled down into and by that undertow for a time.  But I do not believe we should allow ourselves to be held hostage too long by that other negative force the Doom laden Inner Critic who in showing no mercy or deeper insight into the tangled byways of living and journeying towards consciousness keeps our level of awareness frozen, pinned, fixed or sucked downwards in a yawning, empty, hungry soul emptying place.

Such a critic is actually a cadaveur of the soul’s birthing genesis, laying to waste our blossoming as soul conscious individuals and savaging our emerging inner child who may as yet have no legs to stand on, but must crawl or be rocked and cradled for a long time before he or she begins to walk and sing and dance again.

Along this pathway of becoming and emerging we must instead learn how to shrink or shut the door on that voice of doom and unrequited pain and shame and turn instead towards the open radiant loving face of our inner child, pregnant and rich with as yet untapped possibility.  We must not allow the critic to savage his or her innocence but recognise instead through her instinctual reactions to what maimed or hurt us powerful ways of resisting and saying ‘No!  This is me and I am innocent.  I am not wrong or bad but good and strong and most of all I deserve to live! And I will. I will find my voice.”  Our Inner Child must never be killed off or buried by the Critic because he or she is the deepest, profoundest, wisest, realest, most connected and uncorrupted force in our soul.

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