Healing the Split
Domestication of a child demands, to whatever degree, that the child abandon parts of herself, in order to become what is expected of her in the family. She disowns the parts that are not welcome, and creates strategies like the ones described thus far to compensate. The star must deny her rebel. The thinker must deny her dreamer, and the dreamer must deny her thinker.
A goal of the Toltec path is wholeness of body, mind, and heart. This means that all of the disowned parts need to be brought back from the shadows into the light. The personality of the average person is divided into many different parts, each with a unique belief system about life. The inner rebel will resist the judge, and the inner star will be afraid of the dreamer. The parts exiled to the shadow will sabotage the efforts of the dominant strategies, and the dominant strategies will work hard to keep the unacceptable parts in the shadow. For many people, this inner struggle results in an outer life of missed opportunities, unexpected reactions, and feelings of powerlessness.
Sit quietly for a moment, and relax into your breath. Feel your physical body. Experience your emotional body. Let your body inform you about any feelings that you have been ignoring in this moment. Use this quiet time to become intimate with yourself. Do not think about it; simply feel.
Fear of Intimacy
Young children are “hardwired” to their feelings. They have no internal resistance to being who they are, and feeling what they feel. They have no judgment about their tears of sadness, or their celebration of joy. Children are what they are, without self-conscious evaluation. If a young child is angry, the emotion is expressed in its raw and natural state. It is not until they encounter the external resistance to their emotional expressions that children begin to question and repress their truth as it rises in them.
As described previously, when a child learns a strategy and assumes a mask to get it right for the dream he is born into, he has to split off the parts that are not acceptable. The more he has to deny who he really is to the outside dream, the more he must deny it to himself, also. It is impossible for a young child to know he is angry, and then talk himself out of expressing it. He must distance himself from his own anger, and become who he needs to be in order to be accepted. He must split off the angry part, and deny it exists.
In this way, the child loses his sense of intimacy with himself. He can no longer know and honor the true feelings that rise in him in response to the world. As he matures, he becomes increasingly skillful at hiding those truths from himself and others, and his strategies and masks become more finely tuned. His fear of being discovered hiding behind his masks also increases. The victim child within remembers his lessons very well, and knows he must avoid the pain of rejection at all costs.
Reclaiming Emotional Intimacy
What has been done can be undone. You came into this world free to know and express the truth of your feelings. You can return to this reality, which the Toltecs call “heaven on Earth.” It is the absolute knowing of your perfection as an expression of the “divine” in every action and every moment. In this heaven there is no judgment, and there are no expectations that you be any different than you are. This heaven on Earth is a place of peace and joy, and it lives inside of you. It is not given to you by anyone, and cannot be taken away by anyone or any event.
Intimacy with one's self is a vital foundation for an intimate relationship with a partner. The Toltec wisdom continues to stress self-acceptance and self-love as the true intimacy. To be open to all of your own emotional expressions, without splitting them off or rejecting them, is the key to intimate wholeness with yourself.
By reclaiming your right to be emotionally intimate with your own feelings, you open your heart to acceptance and intimacy with your world. Your relationships change, because you change. You learn to use your feelings as the guide to your life, and do what you know is right for you — instead of what you think you should do to please others or protect yourself from them.
The Toltec master invites his apprentice to look carefully at his strategies and masks without judgment, and evaluate how they serve him as an adult. The tools of the Toltec path serve the apprentice to change the fear-based beliefs and agreements that anchor those strategies, and transform his life.