However, these demons are not our enemy, they can’t be wished away or cut off or killed, they are an integral part of us that we have severed and as a result have taken reign of certain aspects of our lives. In therapy we call this the ‘child of history’ or the ‘adapted child’. At a young age through trauma or abuse, neglect, overly critical or dominant parenting, inconsistent parenting or simply not getting what we want, we create coping strategies in order to survive. There is nothing inherently ‘bad’ about these coping strategies, they helped us to survive. However, when we are grown up and not living with those situations anymore and the coping strategy has taken over our ability to choose what is good for us, we must apply some tools in order to be able to make the choices that will empower and serve us.
I have made headway through yoga, meditation and psychotherapy with my coping strategies. However, I still have times when they get hold of the reigns and rise up, usually when there is some conflict or disappointment. Recently I entered a collection of my poems into a few competitions, I found out the other day that I had not been shortlisted for any of them. I felt rejected and I began to think ‘My poetry is not good enough’ and then I realised, I recognise this feeling coming from the powerful longing of my childhood to be seen and be praised and acknowledged. This feeling is a familiar one to me, having worked deeply with meditation and therapy. On recognising this and bringing awareness, I could soothe this part of me with understanding and hold a loving space for her, instead of allowing the feelings to engulf me and completely rubbish all my work and possibly rubbish other people’s poetry out of spite.
I believe that through deeply understanding the original coping strategies and using awareness to hold a space for the ‘child of history’ we can begin to get hold of the reigns again. However, it does take time and it’s a long journey into the self. This is not a matter that can be ‘cured’ either, it cannot be fixed by a 40 day practice, positive thinking or a few powerful Kriya’s. Although yoga and meditation is a wonderful tool to begin to create more awareness, short term fixes won’t work here, this is a long term relationship which must be forged and attended to every moment through awareness and self kindness, engaging with each situation and relationship with an open heart and an intention to stay open with trust and courage, which is in fact, what I believe true yoga to be.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.
Elaine 'Akal Dev'