AT HOME WITH THE INNER SELF

by Jim Burns

6. CHILDHOOD

Starting as a child you seek guidance outside yourself because you know no better and you don't have the brain to even imagine being a source of your own guidance. Everyone wants to belong, and when you are a child you want to belong to all of the idiots who don't think, which is the whole crux of the problem. Ultimately your own system is the guidance you're seeking and is perfectly attuned to your circumstance.

In the short of it, without knowing it, a child thinks that its parents are god. Only later does the brain develop to the point where the child can have a concept of god, beyond the concept of parents. You must constantly keep this in mind when dealing with young children, because if you are harsh or strong with them, they think "god" is attacking them. They think god is all-knowing. They think god's knowledge is absolute and infallible. So if god is attacking them, they must be evil. The reason you have to be careful with them is because they can fall into thinking they are evil and never know what happened.

This carries into adulthood and when people throw god out the window. It is because they cannot stand the pressure of feeling worthless, useless, evil, and they have to throw away the thing that is making them feel that way. When one has the concept of an all-powerful god, and one sees people who are casting you upon youself, and making you feel inferior, guilty, worthless, useless, evil, you have to throw away the concept as worthless. You are going to try and maintain your own sense of worth. You get to the point of not being able to tolerate the thought of not seeing an end to it all. The "devil" exists because of frustration. The real black forces of this earth are the pent-up forces of frustration. 'The desire to be positive forced to be negative. It's a half-truth based on ignorance, and a half-truth can be more dangerous than ignorance.

We are born with fantasies. The child believes his parents are god, and they are exactly equal to the job. The first time he suffers any discomfort, he can't make any sense of it. It is in complete violation to the way his mind works. The reason they give you the idea of "god on high" is because when you were a child you lived in a land of giants. One of the most important things you can do with your children is to get down on the floor and play with them. When you are a child, you have to get someone to do everything for you because you aren't big enough. The child is constantly persued by the questions: Am I doing all right?; Am I holding my end up? When you hold your end up as an adult, you don't question it, you know it. There's something radically wrong there. I can remember these things very clearly. The mind of a young child is a gold mine. If you want to see where the main event is, just look.

The new born infant only has wriggling and crying to signal that it wants something. The infant's mind frame is one in which it knows of nothing but itself. Everything is itself - the room, the world, the people, and it is the source of its own fulfillment. In the best situation, the mother figure, whoever is taking care of the child, has to be someone who doesn't have an inner revulsion to expressions of individuality. Most do and cannot tolerate individuality, because it reminds them of the fact that they were not allowed individuality.

If the mother figure has a positive attitude toward the child and with experience is sensitive to the child's needs and wants and provides them, then the child starts off life with acquiring the attitude of achieving success in what it wants. This attitude forms the basis for the rest of life. It can form an attitude of being the one in control, of getting what it wants. That is the whole issue and it starts at the very beginning.

This is not spoiling the child. You cannot spoil a child. What people call spoiling a child, is the parent forcing the child into the desires of the parent and which are the ones he's allowed to have. It is forcing the child to put all his desires into a particular pattern the parent decides upon. That's why the "spoiled child" always has fits and tantrums. It is because he is forced into a false self and is not allowed

to be his real self. You cannot fulfill a false self. The spoiled child occurs from coddling and creating desires that are not real in the child. They are fantasies and are only real in the parent's own mind. The child is only allowed to want what they want it to want. That's the whole problem in a nutshell. The kid never gets what he wants, but only what he was allowed to want. After awhile he no longer knows what he wants, and only frustration remains.

It all starts in the mind set of the person tending the child. If they can't tolerate "joie de vivre!", let go and let go, let her rip!, the rage to live... If they can't tolerate it and almost none of them can tolerate, then they just put a pillow on the child's face, no matter what it looks like, and that's the end of that.

Parents beat their children because it is very well learned. They've spent their entire life beating themselves. You can't really separate between yourself and the child. There's no real guilt or pain involved in it, because in you inner mind you are chastising yourself - for things, I might add, the child may not have even done. You project some failure of your own into the pattern. You never see it objectively.

The reason we are so long in raising children is that their brain has not developed the ability to answer to themselves. You are actually an effective part of their brain. You have to do their thinking for them, because they don't have the ability to do it themselves but the need. It is a tremendous and terrible task.

You have a child, and the child is sick and you do not recognize the sickness, as was the case with me. The child from that person cannot experience release from the sickness. The child hungers for the release from its sickness without knowing that it is the need for the other person's mind in its life, to do what it can't do yet. The child without exception is being denied the presence of another person in them and they in the other. Honorably to do so is the right thing for the child. Honorably is the big word.

The child by design sees itself as others see it. If the child is seen as good and well, the child sees itself as good and well. Most of us darn near had none of being seen as good and well. The result is that most of us carry an unnamed burden throughout our lives. It generates the sense that there is something wrong here. The question of there being something wrong here is what ends up being answered to.

The work of childhood is play. The minute the play doesn't have that genuine sparkle and vivacity, they are off the track. It has to be an on-going and constant thing because the child cannot stand the frustration. Children keep dealing with something until it is over. Many traumas that occur in childhood aren't retained as psycholgical difficulties, but resolved right as they happen. Most serious things are post-pubescent.

It doesn't take much positve reinforcement in the average child for them to reach the point of feeling good about themselves. But if one runs into a negative aura in the father or mother, if the parent is the type of person who is so upset that they can't want to give the attention that is needed, they can't want to and there's nothing they can do about it. The child will spend its life looking for an acceptance that even if it finds, won't fill them up. I call this negative impression on the child "imprinting." Imprinting is an over-riding subconscious determining factor.

The thing about people who are really divorced from themselves is that they possess an almost psychic ability, being careful by what I mean by psychic. They know how to hurt. They are able through the bond that exists between parents and children, for instance, to be sensitive to when an action on their part will hurt the most. They will pick the moment when you are ripe and hit you. It is uncanny.

An odd thing is that female to male imprinting is seldom accomplished, but when it is it is very obvious. The female needs the constant presence and acceptance of a male figure. The female, in my mind, is never capable of self determination. It is always through the male figure. It is because of their dependent role, I think. I think it is chemical.

When I see a woman who is headstrong, self-determined, independent, this is all hostility in my mind. The difference between arrogance and humility is hostility in anybody. In women it is hostility over the fact that they never felt wanted securely by their male imprinters. It could be a father, an older brother, an uncle. The odd thing about it is that this state can transpire in a woman for forty years, and then they find a man and it can completely turn around, which is the unusual thing about it. I've seen it happen several times. Unlike men, they can turn around. If men do not get a favorable imprint by the time they are two years old, there's nothing you can do about it. If a man doesn't get favorably imprinted as a child, he ends up constantly trying to control his environment. They are motivated by a desire to "engineer" in people. They want to be the pope.

If you haven't spent a minimum of fifty hours thinking about the mother child relationship, you aren't going to have a nickle's worth of sense about what is really going on. You can't understand psychology until you understand the mother-child relationship. You see yourself as others see you, period. That is what the mother-child relationship is all about. If you don't get treated right from the start, you never get started. It doesn't matter if you live to be a hundred, or what any therapist can do. If it isn't done right in the beginning, it's never done right. It starts with the first minute of birth and probably before.

Ideally when the infant demonstrates that it wants something to change in its environment, someone is there who understands what the child wants and sees that the child gets it. Mostly at the beginning, this is physical manipulation. Importantly the person responsible to the child should be someone who does not have a deep-seated objection to independence, their own or anybody else's. It's all there in the first six months for most people. If the string of ego reinforcement, ego encouragement, ego building and ego support is broken at anytime between then and thirty, you are still in trouble. That's how precarious it is. Nobody will make it through if it isn't - and people talk of a "beneficent god!"

The child-like state is the state that every human alive is trying to get to. When I was about twelve, I came to the conclusion that adults were insane. They were as rammy as billy goats, and so is everyone I've ever met. Until I meet an adult with the flowering feeling and drive of a young child, I will know I've never met a sane person.

There is a big difference between childish and child-like. The general state of consciousness of the child is a state that we would label euphoric. ... The child avoids any training that tries to burst his balloon. In our education system, all so-called learning is imposed upon the kids from without and they hate it. If the desire to learn something comes from within, the kid will devour whatever it is.

School was totally devorced from my questions. That's why I hated it. I had so many unanswered questions that I was hanging from the ceiling by my toenails. In my last year of high school, I didn't go to five classes. I'd come to school two classes late, and then hang out in the hall and smoke a pack of cigarettes. A Catholic Brother would then come out and tell me I had another million years of detention. I could pass the tests, but couldn't stand sitting in some class with some guy telling me how important an apostrophe was in a sentence, while meanwhile I'm feeling like my insides are falling out. I had no one to talk to, so I had to get my answers from the inside. I was an excellent student until I got into this, and then I didn't care if the place burned down. To me, I had to totally understand everything I sutudied. I didn't memorize. I had to follow my own master. There was absolutely nothing in this world I could permit to be more important.

I escaped into my mind from a world I couldn't stand. I forced myself to think. I started out with a blank page and everyone who comes up with something new does the same thing. I learned to notice when something important went by in my mind. I stopped everything, even if it took hours, to track it back down and follow it up. After a year or so of this, I never missed anything. I came to the conclusion that I had to find all my answers from within, that I wasn't going to get them from anyone else.

People were making me so miserable that I had to learn what made their heads tick. I had to do it with no fantasy involved and strictly and clearly see what made them operate. At the time I had never heard the word "psychology." I had never heard of Freud. When I fully understood people to my own satisfaction, and still it brought about no relief, it caused my inner death. I went to the other side.

Sometimes analysts claim that people or children imagine that they were abused and that this is the source of their problems. No one ever imagines they were abused. There could be a family of sixteen kids with only one that became a psychiatric patient. All the psychiatrist would say is that it was genetic. It wouldn't be genetic, he was the one that was used. He was the one that got all of the kicks. I can never be convinced that anyone can imagine that they were abused. If it is a hundred to one of people saying that he had a good home and the like, it's not possible that he wasn't abused.

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