After a few week long struggle with self and wrestling with God, He (God) told me that September 8th would be my turning point. We were in Orlando Florida the following week attending Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. September 8th would fall on the Monday after that event, the day I was to fly back home later that evening.
I decided to visit the place where I had my “White Light Experience” over 36 years ago, a hotel not far Disney. I was naively hoping that maybe God would once again visit me in this place, even though I knew that God never does things the same way twice. I was aware that I tend to depend too much on the miraculous, an immature approach to life, expecting God to rescue me at every sign of discomfort or fear that I faced, a habit that I was at least partially aware had cost me significant growth and maturity. My childlike fear played out in many other ways of course; looking to false comforts, living a very narrow experience of life, squeaking by with the very least amount of effort that is needed to get by in life, lacking courage, looking for approval and playing the good guy for everyone, constantly trying to get it right, (for fear that if I didn’t, life would fall apart), trying to defend and preserve self in order to create the safest possible world that I could, and various other forms of childlike self-soothing.
So there I was sitting by the poolside, crying out to God one more time, desperate for an answer. I became aware that the setting of this poolside looked a little different than I remembered, (the hotel had several pools) and so I went in search for the one where I originally cried out to God and for the room where He answered me miraculously 10 minutes later. Looking at a hotel map it became clear that half of the property had been sold, and that both of the locations I was searching for were now parking lots. This picture shows what it looked like then and now. The two pins mark the spot where the pool and room were located.
As I got back into my car, I chuckled to myself as I felt God reminding me that it’s not about the experience or the location, (even things from God can became false securities), but that it’s about Him, here and now. This was something that I believed and had experienced before, but that fear narrowing mindset and all of the defenses that I had built up over the years had created what felt like a box over my head that only allowed me to see and experience the things in that very limited mental space. I knew there was a bigger world out there. Sometimes that box would become translucent and I would see this glorious world of possibility beyond, but fear kept me from reaching it.
A week later I was visiting my best friend Ken. He was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year, the worst kind you can get. The treatment seemed to arrest the growth of the tumor but the doctors had just found another one of significant size. He told me that they were going to put an actual box on his head in order to shoot the tumors in his brain with a gamma gun. He said he was no longer worried or concerned whether or not he would live or die. He had truly laid it at God’s feet and trusted Him regardless of the outcome. He said that as he was praying one day, he saw a vision of Christ sitting outside under a tree, legs stretched out, as though He were having a picnic. Christ told him that he had to lay his burden down at His feet and let it go. He said, “You are going to be tempted to pick it up again, but you must not”. Ken agreed, and with that Jesus threw a picnic blanket over all his cares and covered them completely, (covered by the blood as it were). Since that time he has had peace about his disease (although he has his days from time to time). As my friend was telling me these things, tears were streaming down my cheeks and I said to him, “Ken, God has been asking me also to lay down all my fear and striving to get it right, and if you can lay down your fear of the outcome of cancer, I can certainly lay down my silly childlike fears”.
My problem, put simply, is that I never fully grew up. My child ego has kept important parts of my soul and psyche buried for a long time. This excerpt from the following blog article, posted in Understanding the Mind on December 13, 2011 by Sen, explains it very well:
“Carrying a strong child identity, as an adult, is a major cause of negativity. The child identity is basically the “ego” structure that you had when you were a child. A lot of adults carry this “child ego”, or child identity, in them way into their adult lives because they fail to let go of it as they grow up in the physical sense. The presence of a strong child identity, in an adult, leads to a highly dysfunctional adult experience. The adult life has responsibilities that the child-identity is scared of and hence it stands in resistance to allowing a smooth unfolding of your adult experience. Also, this child-identity disallows the presence of an “adult maturity” that’s required as a pre-requisite for the manifestation of several of your desired realities as an adult.
The hall-mark of the presence of a strong child-identity in you is the presence of “childish” fears in the mind. By “childish” fears, I mean the type of fears which are normal to have in a child but are understandably incongruent to be seen in an adult. Such an adult is also prone to child-like guilt (leading to several hang ups in adult life) and is easily influenced by outside authority. An adult who has a strong child identity is constantly scared of moving in the adult world, with all kinds of day to day fears. It’s also common for such adults to constantly seek approval, and emotional support, from the outside without the maturity to be his/her own person”
“If there is a presence of a strong child-identity in you as an adult, the resistance that it creates to your life movement manifests as a lot emotional suffering created by fear. This fear/suffering is usually the catalyst, or wake up call, for you to become aware of the dysfunction of holding on to this child-identity. Fear is the fire that burns through the child-identity when allowed in fully. As long as you keep running away from fears, you stay stuck in the child-identity, but the moment you allow the fears in completely it burns through the structure of the child-ego. Remember that a child always pushes away from fear, while an adult has the capacity to develop a maturity/awareness to face the fears in, to not run away from fears. Fear is a huge catalyst for inner transformation if you allow it in fully rather than try to run away from it.
Most people who have strong child-identities in them resort to escapist methods as soon as they are faced with fears that come up during their journey into adulthood – they try to deny/escape the fears (usually by drowning themselves in some distractions like entertainment, drugs, alcohol, spiritual escapism etc, in worst cases some even resort to suicide). The child-ego thrives on escapist methods. This “escape mode” of living causes you to live in fear all the time and this fear causes the attraction of some fear-based realities as an external reflection. When you finally decide to stop escaping fears and allow yourself to bring an open awareness to the fears in your being, letting your being be penetrated by the all the fears that arise, it starts dissolving the child-identity in you and what emerges is the mature you (the adult version of you that was always present below the child-identity).
Spiritual literatures have a name for this movement in your life force, where it brings you in touch with realities that create fear in you so that it can burn off the child-identity you are holding onto – it’s called “fierce grace” of life, where it puts you through some fears for your inner growth (Scientifically, you attract these fear-based realities through the presence of the strong vibration of fear that’s present in the child-ego). You reach a point where you can no longer run away from your fears, and hence you just surrender to them, and in this moment the child-identity is dissolved completely. The dissolution of child-identity allows you to live your adult life in a positive manner, allowing you to take up the responsibilities that are required of you in this realm, this maturity also rids you of inner resistance allowing the manifestation of personal realities that you desire as an adult.”
So what is the key to letting go of our fear and immature coping with life and coming out into the open, into that spacious, free life beyond the box, living in greater fullness? Not letting go of fear but embracing it! We create a space in our soul for uncertainty and in that space of the unknown, we are faced with our fear, but instead of running from it, we let it in. What we are actually letting go of are all the mechanisms we use to cope with fear, and having no other recourse, we stare the scariness in the face. Embracing uncertainty dictates that we let go of the need to figure it all out, to control our environment, and to seek old comforts. Almost instantly, our child ego starts to melt away and our adult ego that has been present all along begins to emerge. A sense of adventure and opportunities begins to emerge. This space of uncertainty is also a space for faith to flourish. We are not letting go with the immature expectation that God will give us a different comfort, but rather a faith that he has got us no matter what, and in that knowledge is great assurance. God can do so much in our lives, but he can only work in the space we provide for Him. In the same way He doesn’t come into our lives unless we invite Him, He also doesn’t push us around internally trying to free up space without our permission. When we do allow Him into that uncertainty, the possibilities of what He can do in and though your life is endless. The faith to face the fear becomes the fire that burns away the false infrastructure and makes way for the fullness of life.