Will the Real Inner Child Please Stand Up?

Preview Copy

I would like to thank my partner Shoi, for putting up with me when I have been less than clear. My son, Mark, for allowing me to be his Chess Coach and for his honest feedback, where I clarified my ideas for this book. Lisa Lamoreaux for being the first sponsor for my book and for words of encouragement when I stumbled—Must be a frightening experience trusting someone so far from home, in his novel experiment to publish a viral eBook via sponsorship, and before seeing the work in its present form. Thank you for your gift of trust. To the readers of in-the-loop and It's My Life! ezines who wrote in to comment on my writing as I struggled to find my footing for this book... and to so many more who have shared with me in this journey—There are too many for me to acknowledge individually, but you know who you are. My heartfelt thanks.

This book is also dedicated to the late M. Scott Peck for starting me out on the spiritual journey.

Inner Child - Spirituality & Business


This eBook is a part of my work that will argue for spirituality in business - as distinct from the business of spirituality.

Allow me to expand. To me there is only the laws of spirituality - and scientific laws are but a subset (as the new science of quantum physics is beginning to show us). And in order for us to explore spiritual laws deeper, we need to be productive. I even go as far as to say that in the act of being productive, we get deeper insights into those laws (the story of the talents in the Bible). The historical separation of spirituality from science is a major cause for the great confusion we see today.

For me spiritual principles should be practised in business - for that allows the laws of attraction to operate. But, the business of spirituality is another thing.

The questions I ask are: Do feel-good seminars & retreats advance or retard spirituality? Is it a movement towards, or away from, reality? What is the evidence of it doing any good? Is asking people to sit down in meditation to imagine/visualize a greater world, better than... asking them to get on their feet and DO something (with their lives, to change themselves and their reality...not change the world)?

It seems to me that the new spiritual movement is falling into the same traps as some religious practices of old — False promises, no results. And the illusions are offered by master persuaders. If the the laws of attraction are working for them, then my confusion lies in why - despite all the brand presence they have, and all the opportunities for them to make money by themselves - they still need to continuously ask for donations? Practise what is preached. If the ideas of the laws of attraction they present work as described, wouldn't it be seen in increased affluence, together with vastly increased energy towards spirituality (albeit in small steps)? Do people who participate actually get what they want? Or are the offerings half truths?

The gurus of the past provided education and teaching. They never said reality was easy. In fact, they were very particular about who they accepted as pupils (for many are not yet ready). The door remains open when the pupil is ready. Thus, the master will come when the pupil is ready.

If we were to offer the laws of attraction (as presented today) to our forefathers, and said they don't have to do anything, I wonder what they would say. Have we dropped the ball? Have we fallen to either/or thinking? Is it not both/and? So, to me, there seems to be only one beneficiary to the business of spirituality - and that is the business owner (or least that's what the evidence available to me indicates). So, I'm suspicious of the attempt.

Guru means "the dispeller of darkness" in Sanskrit. What better way to dispel darkness than by helping people be productive in business and in life — Business conducted with, a life lived with... integrity, values and spiritual principles. Chasing feel-goods only encourage addiction and foster a sense of helplessness. And in my attempts to see WHY and HOW these messages seduce, I present this as a part of my work: Will the Real Inner Child Please Stand Up?


You are likely familiar with this "phenomenon" — We see it on reality tv, in boardrooms, chess competitions, the family home, conversation with friends.

And that "phenomenon" is this: When you are caught up in a "drama" with another person, the other people around you are more likely to see what's REALLY happening a lot clearer than you can. It's been explained that as neutral observers, our dispassion allows us to view situations more objectively; that when we are entangled in a "drama", we often bring in our own anxieties, fears, past hurts, ego, etc. to filter our perceptions. And if that's not enough, we also bring along our other favourite toys to play - denial, rationalization and mental constructs. This further clouds our perception, and prevents us from seeing reality with clarity.

I call it a "phenomenon" because the drama is happening to us. So shouldn't we be the clearest on the issues?

I hope to demonstrate here that the inner child is the key - as well as the route - to this illusive quality. And I also hope to show that business is one of the best venues for this to happen as this inner child has a formidable arsenal at its disposal.

Inner Child

The inner child is that unresolved portion of our psyche defined in childhood that can exert an inordinate amount of influence on our personalities. This child emerges under perceived threats. The child is also a spinner of illusions and will do all it can to keep you from the spirit of things and clarity. And in doing so the child also becomes the prey for the spinners of illusions.

Spritual growth is that growth in the direction of reality (God's imagination) and that journey is to see through the illusions caused by our mind/body and seeing things from the spirit. I also call this journey as peering beyond the veil and we do this in little steps. I believe that it is when we work from beyond the veil, the laws of attraction (that is described in current popular mediums) actually work. Before that, the laws work by bringing you the lessons to enable you to see beyond the veil.

“Character Defects” and “Neurotics”

M. Scott Peck in his book "The Road Less Traveled" described two categories of people who enter into therapy: One he called "character defects" and the other "neurotics". He basically said character defects are people who are unable to take responsibility, and neurotics are those who take too much responsibility. He also said that neurotics are closer to psychological resolution than character defects. And most of us have some of each within the topography of our personalities.

I have pondered for years why, out of all the traits, he chose RESPONSIBILITY as the defining feature. But he may have found the needle in that haystack. However, I would further qualify that character defects can be responsible - but the responsibility lies only to themselves. And so, they are beyond concepts of the greater good except in the most cursory way. Many will be found in the realm of business — They exhibit high energy for they have fewer conflicts (they do not have to reflect upon their actions on other people, their community or the world). With sufficient understanding of psychology and other skills, they become master illusionists both to themselves and to others.

I also believe that it is when the neurotics have done the work of integration that they will emerge "looking like" character defects, full of energy - but different. And I can find no better yardstick than RESPONSIBILITY. And it is so easy to get lost.

Note: With your forbearance, I will continue to use these two terms. I have found they are very useful in the enquiry of control dramas (covered further below). If you find the usage of these two terms offensive, I hope you can substitute "not responsible" and "too responsible" in its place. Also the use of the male prefix is not gender biased. I just happen to be male.

The Journey

It appears to me that all of us are born character defective - if character is defined as the result of a personal struggle to do the right thing in the face of adversity. And unless some traumatic event intervenes - that fixes us on the conclusion that the world is an unsafe place - the taking and accepting of responsibility is something we are gradually taught to accept and bear from childhood, as we learn, acquire knowledge and discipline. And as the evidence mounts from deep friendships, seeing the goodness in others and in the world, we begin to accept the responsibilty with more grace... learn to peer past the illusions... and approach truth and spirituality.

But sometimes - because of cultural conditioning or trauma, or both - we come to responsibility early in life. I think this is the case for many women. In the case of men, many reach this point in midlife crisis. They may have been taught financial responsibility but not responsibility for their lives, for its meaning. They have lived many years of their lives for an idea or a need. But whatever the case, with overwhelming or misplaced responsiblity, many will cross over to the neurotic state - which according to Scott, brings them closer to resolution.

I must say this statement has also perplexed me for years. People have such complex personas, and many times someone who may fit the description as neurotic can exhibit the most irresponsible behaviour. I think this is what happens: From my understanding of the unity of opposites, extreme sense of responsiblity can suddenly turn to total irresponsiblity — The strain of trying to be "perfect" is too much and a "flip-flop" happens. That is a good thing. With the flips and the flops, what really happens is a movement to the center (where there is balance) if we learn from every flip and flop. So it does look that way to me. Neurosis is a step further along the road less travelled.

There are usually elements of both in most of us, and it is in the interaction - between the character defective parts of our personalities with the neurotic parts of others - that most learning takes place (that's why I think single-gender environments are a little lacking, eg. an all-guy enclave tends towards gung ho) — This interaction is the primary drama of life and, to my understanding, essential to promote learning in a healthy environment with healthy relationships. I describe this primary drama as the drama with an internal engine to grow. This drama learns from evidence. It is this drama that leads to the building of a healthy community.

However, many of us are not in this category. Somewhere along the journey, the character defect gets fixed, the neurosis gets entrenched - usually through trauma. Learning stops, stuck somewhere in childhood. This is what I call the "inner child" — The inner child resists evidence. The child has already formed a conclusion and nothing is going to shake that conviction. This child is an expert in compartmentalisation, rationalisation, etc. The child is so powerful that it can conjure up illusions. I call this drama the control drama. It differs from the primary drama in the sense that evidence is rejected. The child seeks to conform the world to its conclusions. It is an "imagined" fear-based system. Many times the conclusions will have no bearing on current reality, it comes from the past. As the saying goes, you find what you seek. The guardian of this system of thinking is the ego - for without the ego, learning can take place without resistance.

Control Drama

The control drama differs from the primary drama because the child is in control — The drama is distinguished by manipulation, lies, obfuscation, denial, etc. It is the drama of one bending to the will of the other. Reasoning goes out of the window. This is a drama to avoid. There is always a victim. It saps your energy because there is no way to win without the other losing. No amount of evidence will convince the child. The child will resist all attempts at integration. The child sees a compartmentalised world. No amount of evidence will convince this child, for it will explain everything away. This child's imagination is unlimited. Any attempt to integrate the child from the outside will fail, for the resolution of the inner child is always a personal one.

In the primary drama, there will be resistance too but usually - with convincing evidence and healthy communication - there is a forward movement.

I think most of us have some of the inner child in us. It is almost impossible to escape. Many of these conclusions will have been formed in childhood - before we have the education and the skills to properly evaluate. And once conclusions are formed, it takes energy to re-examine them. The idea is to journey to the state of the primary drama, and beyond. If not, we will always be playing a stuck tape. If we look closely at people who do not learn despite experience to the contrary, then the child is in preeminence.

For me, spirituality is the journey towards reality (God's imagination). But to see what He has to teach us, we must be able to learn. If not, the same lessons will come again and again until we do learn (or not)... until we run out of time. So, spirituality is the journey towards learning - and with learning comes clarity. And with clarity, comes concentration... for the chatter is abated.

Note: I have heard some assert that we already know everything, it's already within us - inner wisdom. I don't think evidence shows this. We just do not have the right thinking skills as children. That needs an education - the right education, if I may add. I agree there is an inner spirit that acts as a guide IF we can hear it above the chatter - but the education, the learning, is for this world. I believe it was designed that way.

The Chatter - The Two Traps of Illusions of the Inner Child

When the child grows into an adult, he picks up a few extra skills to defend the decisions he has made...

Trap One: The Intelligent Trap

In order to avoid the feelings that he has locked away, he will apply the use of denial — He denies the evidence before him via selective hearing or selective reading. He practices semantics, he splits hairs on definitions, or he will define you as a means of control. He will do almost anything to avoid facing up to those feelings (his pain) or to see the spirit of things. And the more intelligent he is, the better his own traps. These will usually be quick decisions and the speed at which they are made, seemingly impressive. Many factors are ignored. There is no integrity.

Trap Two: The Emotional Trap

On the flip side, one can get mired in the emotions of guilt, shame, etc., and from this vantage point, also use the tools of denial, semantics, mental constructs, etc. - but this time, it's to keep them in their emotional/negative state (seeing the cup half empty). Anything to justify why it's OK to feel miserable, unsafe.

If you meet someone caught in the emotional trap, and manage to convince them that what's worrying them is not true or real... then they will find something else to worry about.

So, one will use his intelligence to avoid feelings... and the other will use his intelligence to keep him in negative feelings.

The two traps are part of the control drama — They are employed to resist integration, to resist truth. The resistance can be very strong because with integration, the child dies and the adult becomes whole. The chatter (inner child) abates and there is greater clarity. There is perhaps one spiritual truth that particularly defies integration, that is the most difficult to integrate - and that is there is nothing you can change except yourself. So the attempts at control is a slippery road. Nevertheless, the child will seek to control you for he seeks to control his world view. The child will not allow the other to be the other if it does not conform to its conclusions. It will not allow the adult to grow up.

That is why I feel the role of spiritualists is merely to educate. The rest is up to the individual. The attempt to create spiritual experiences in a "laboratory" enviroment is fraught with dangers. It makes it appear that the answer is outside, with someone else. It's not. The answer lies within. There is a need in the spiritual world for scientific reasoning, critical thinking. Science may be misapplied, but it did not come from a vacuum: it's part of the reason for our existence, it comes from God, to help us to learn, to help us to understand his message. His answers are all around us - if we learn how to look past the illusions. And to do that, we need to engage the inner child and help him to grow up. It is this struggle that provides learning. That is also why we have this inner drive to be productive - for as we learn to be productive, without compromising our values, and as we take the action of being productive, we learn. We learn about ourselves, about God.

What I'm saying is, there is no resolution out there. You can't change anything but YOURSELF. Look into your inner child: The character defective one, the neurotic one. When you come to terms with them, you will see the drama changed. Your fight with the world is only a mirror of the one within.

In other words, you can say that YOU, the universe, will conspire to bring you the lessons you need in order to grow - and until you do, it will remain the same. You create your own drama, you search for it, you attract it.

So if you believe in the laws of attraction, it only works as advertised IF you have done your inner child work, WHEN you have moved beyond the veil.

But all you need to do is change YOU, your inner child.

The Zen Buddhists have said, "All that exists in the mind/body is an illusion."

So you need to learn to move from the spirit — [ I will expand on this in my future articles at The Spiritual Realist column ] — In many ways, the spirit has "mirror" feelings to the body. It can fight too, but the fight has grace.

An aside: In the writing this book, I experienced a powerful struggle within myself as my own inner child fought back by spinning illusions, irrational fears. The illusions can sometimes be so strong that they are manifested physically (as sleepiness, lethargy, etc). It felt like a life struggle of colossal proportions, a life and death struggle - for the angry inner child "dies" when he is calmed and becomes integrated... and the inner spirit/true inner child begins to shine.


I believe the path to spirituality is the path towards peering past the illusions - and that path lies with your inner child work.

But there is another path, one that goes in reverse — When you are stuck, spinning your wheels, there is a strong temptation to create a "bubble", to imagine you are moving forward. If this bubble cannot be burst, that journey leads to self-delusion. That is why I caution the use of meditation for this purpose.

Note: Some have problems when I say BUSINESS is one of the best avenues for spiritual growth/inner child work — I believe most of us need to be productive. In business, there is that drive. There are goals to set and measurable results to achieve. This is important because without these checks and balances, it is so easy to spin your wheels. If the objection is the way businesses are conducting themselves today, then you can choose new values: yes, to the pursuit of profits; but no, if the situation is not win-win; and no, if one party ends up as the victim. In fact, the inner child is so masterful at illusions that very often we do not know WHO the real inner child is. Business keeps us real.

INTEGRATION is very hard work, and working within a model like business helps - pressure helps, timelines help, measureable results help - for the illusions can be so seductive (but it'll never take you to the place you want to go). Another thing is truly creative ideas are formed in the cauldron of integration - so long as the values remain intact.

And so the key to CLARITY is to deny the ego, the defender of the inner child. And business is one of the best venues for business is about learning. In fact, business is about learning FAST. And the ego can only be in the way.

My approach is based on both "unconditional" love and "conditional" results. Unconditional love for the person, but the coach-coachee relationship needs to be based on both parties wanting to achieve a goal. There is a danger in engaging the inner child in a business environment. What happens in practise is the child can test the adult/business unendingly - and since no amount of proof will satisfy the child, the approach of unconditional love alone does not work. Rather, a differentiation needs to be made about fighting from the flesh (ego) and fighting from the spirit. This calls for tough love, and it needs to be based on both values and measureable results (within a time frame). This is real.

The Inner Spirit - The True Inner Child

The gift of the inner spirit/child is joy, peace, contentment, patience.

He has been there all this time - but you can't hear him. The storm has been too tumultuous, the illusions too strong. But when the damaged child has been healed and loved, the spirit can be heard and the illusions vanish.

The spirit knows no fear. It is indestructible. It continues to act, even on the character defect. You may shut down your feelings, but there is no button to shut down the spirit. It calls to the neurotic to have courage, to see past the illusions. For the way out is through your fears and anxieties. To stretch, to have new experiences, to examine, reflect, confront, assert. To define yourself. And the route is from character defect to neurosis… and then out. Growth.

In this journey, you need to engage your feelings for they aid in the process of individuation. They tell you what you like, don't like, what you are good at, where your talents lie, etc. And this can't be done if you run away from yourself.

The spirit calls to learning, to knowledge. The spirit calls to the evidence that there is a higher power in play that shows that there is no need to control, to manipulate. The spirit calls you to FAITH - such a precious commodity that the Bible says you only need a mustard seed's worth.

From the spirit you will see we are all connected. From the spirit we can embrace a community where we can celebrate our uniqueness. From the spirit, we see with CLARITY, the spirit sees true... and this is the PROCESS to be the best that you can be.

If we go back to the phenomenon mentioned above... now imagine yourself in that scenario, but without your ego. Would you now see clearer than the people around you? After all, you have all the facts. You know yourself best - or you should.

Caution: Inner child work is initially enervating. During the process of integration, you will experience a drop in energy. The point is to experience a release of new energy after the integration is complete - rather than live with dull, chronic lethargy, low-grade depression... the feel-good comes after. I believe this work is necessary for couples, businesses, etc. in order for them to be the best that they can be. Avoidance of this work means creating a bubble that has no bearing on reality. This work cannot be forced on anyone, and you should only contemplate it when you are ready to move on. Another thing is, sometimes we find it difficult to let go of some aspects of our inner child work, and if it is not resolved, it will come back like a virus that is not thoroughly cleaned from the system will eventually re-infect the system. Another reason why business is a good medium - it is ongoing, with constant checks and balances, if we're honest with ourselves.

I invite you to join me in It's My Life! for an ongoing discussion.

© Copyright 2007-2008 Raymond Siew. All rights reserved.

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