It is very natural for a child to want to please it’s parent. Every young child wants their parents approval because it feels good to be commended and approved of, especially by the person whom all young children consider to be God – their parent.
Very young children cannot conceive of a spiritual God. They simply hold their parent as the highest authority in their universe. As a baby, the parent is usually always there. The parent demonstrates that they are the highest authority, and showers the child with love and care. The child naturally worships the parent, sometimes even fears them, knowing how all-powerful they are in their lives.
Just like most people prefer to see the sun shining, naturally the child wants to see a happy parent, because it feels nicer for them, and they know they will be treated more lovingly. They do not want to see an angry parent, for the opposite reasons. So the child learns quickly what pleases the parent. They become aware of the noises that get a good response and the actions they get praised for, and also the noises and actions which get a negative response.
This is the birth of conscious intelligence. The ego gets born – the part of the child which suddenly wants to be in control of something external (the parent) for its own benefit. It desires a certain thing (praise), and fears the opposite. The birth of the ego is really the birth of fear also.
So you have a child which wants to please its parent. And if the parent is not so loving – highly critical perhaps, or even angry / aggressive – the child tries desperately hard to make their parent approve of them, to love them. Yet what the child does not understand is that their parent is not angry, critical or unloving because of them. It is not the child’s fault. But subconsciously the child believes it is. And if they are unable to make the adult behave more lovingly, the child feels like they are a failure. They believe there is nothing good enough within them to be worthy of approval, praise or love.
Often the child, as it grows up, will learn to push themselves further, to be better, to excel and achieve more, all in response to a subconscious driving force to be a better person, a person who is worthy of love, a good person. But in the eyes of who? Who decides if you are worthy? Is it God?
So what if you grew up in a very loving family, where you always felt appreciated and loved? There would be no sense of unworthiness. It simply would not develop. Because by being loved all the time, subconsciously in the child there is a belief that you deserve it. Therefore, young children don’t understand that they never, ever deserve to be treated unkindly or unlovingly. They believe that they deserve whatever treatment they get, therefore they must be bad on some level if they are being treated that way.
And so you have this human being who learns to see that there is ‘badness’ within them – they see flaws and faults. They see what is not good enough about themselves. They are critical of themselves, simply because they had a critical or unloving parent (who was probably also critical of themselves).
As the adult grows up and learns about God, their spiritual parent, they simply project their relationship with their biological father onto the understanding of who God is, their ‘heavenly father’. Therefore many people believe that they have to please God to be loved by God. They have to be ‘good enough’ and get rid of all their faults before they are worthy of being loved by God.
But children who are brought up in unconditionally loving families don’t feel this way. If they do become interested in religion, they are more likely to gravitate towards a religion in which Love is the predominant theme, and in which Gods unconditionally loving nature is the central theme.
Also, they wont see themselves through critical eyes, because they were never seen through critical eyes. They were not judged, so they will not judge. They were loved, so the foundations of their human experience were built with love.
If the foundations of a child’s upbringing were not totally loving ones, then a weakness is built in, and it will show itself at some point in the structure. Cracks will begin to appear in the personality, in the form of insecurity, self-doubt, anger with the self, even self-hatred in some cases. And this is all because the structure was built on something which does not possess the rock-solid strength of Love.
If the structure was built on beliefs, such as “I am this” or “I am that” (e.g. “I am good, I am bad, I am strong, I am weak, I am the best, I am the worst, I am a success, I am a failure” etc) then there is no real strength in such a foundation. Why? Because such dualistic belief systems are held in the mind (consciously or subconsciously) and are prone to change, depending on outside circumstances. You may believe yourself to be a strong and successful person, until an unexpected life event challenges you and shakes your foundations in a way that you do not know how to deal with. This is a very common experience in many people’s lives.
Love however is not a belief held in the mind. It is felt in the heart. And it is a way of being, not a way of thinking. Of course, our thoughts are influenced by this loving feeling, and we think more compassionate thoughts towards others, for the simple reason that we genuinely care. Many people in this world struggle to care, both for themselves and for others, and this is usually a result of a lack of genuine loving care in their upbringing, by either the mother or father, or sometimes both. They were simply not shown how to care.
This is particularly common in boys and men, who look to their father as their role model as they are growing up. The mother is traditionally in the role of carer, giver and nurturer, but the father traditionally has the pressures of the outside world, the world of business and money, upon his shoulders and on his mind. Therefore it is a common situation that the father is stressed, tired, mentally absent, preoccupied, or simply not present in the household due to the amount of work that he has to do.
Therefore a child can easily grow up feeling that they are not the most important thing in their fathers life, when they so desperately want to be. A child simply wants to be the apple of their parents eye, and will do anything to get the loving attention of their parent. If good behaviour does not work, then sometimes out of frustration the child resorts to bad behaviour, which they find does at least get them some attention.
They just want attention, they just want to be important to their parent, they just want to be loved. And it is the same for all adults, even if they are not aware of it. The desire for approval and acceptance plays out in romantic relationships with the opposite sex. They want to be loved by a woman, or by a man, because it heals the wound in the heart, and it counters the painful belief that they are unlovable.
People who seek a relationship with God also want to experience approval and acceptance, love and forgiveness, because most human beings need to experience these things to heal the emotional inner wounds which were inflicted in their childhood. It is natural, and very important, because we all want to be healed. We all need to experience the beauty and perfection of our own heart, because that is what Life is calling us to do. If we do not, life continues to involve suffering to some degree.
Many people believe that they need to be pure before God will love them, because they see themselves as impure and imperfect. But what is the truth of this? Well, the light that shines within our heart is a pure light. It cannot be tainted or impure, because it is the presence of the divine within our physical being. And the divine is perfect, pure, and radiant – always. Nothing of this world can touch it, because it is spiritual and therefore other-worldly. It is similar to the light that shines from the sun. Nothing on earth can taint the sun’s light, only obscure it. It is the same with our thoughts. They obscure the light which comes from our heart, but they do not affect its purity.
The mind of many human beings is filled with thoughts which are not aligned with the purity of this inner light. Thoughts of greed, selfishness, judgment, doubt, arrogance, hostility and even hatred. Such thoughts have no resonance with the beautiful divine light which shines in our heart. They couldn’t be more dissonant. But they come from our mind, from our ego. Yes, they do influence the heart in that they cause the heart to contract, to grow cold, to wither to some degree. But they cannot affect the purity of the heart. It is only the thoughts which are impure.
So as long as we are listening to those thoughts, we feel ourselves as impure, because we attuning our state of consciousness to them, just by giving them our attention. However, if we just step outside and behold something beautiful, like our favourite flower, a magnificent tree or the delightful sound of a bird singing, instantly our awareness attunes to this thing of beauty. The impure influence of selfish thought is not present in that moment, as mother nature’s deep beauty fills our awareness and our heart responds.
Are you still impure in that moment? No. Only if you take your attention away from the purity of natures beauty, and return your mind to the impurity of critical and negative thought do you experience a state of impurity. Your state of consciousness has changed, due to what you are choosing to be conscious of.
So the idea of being pure enough to receive God’s Love is inaccurate, in that our heart is always a place of purity. Yet we have to bring our attention there, away from all the selfish, negative and self-critical thoughts that go round and round in the mind. They are simply old mental programs that we need to let go of.
This is the purpose of meditation, of bringing our awareness to God’s radiant light, which shines within our heart. This is what purifies our consciousness, simply by choosing to become aware of it. We do not have to become a ‘better person’. And we do not have to get rid of any ‘evil thoughts’ either. We just have to learn how not to engage with them, energise them or believe them. We do this by learning how to bring our attention away from our thinking mind and back to our heart, where God’s loving presence can be fully experienced at any moment, no matter who you are, or what you have done. You are worthy.
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