Journeying Within Ourselves

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There’s a hidden world within us all. It’s a world rich with wonder. But it’s also a world with which most of us rarely come into contact.

The world within ourselves is not hidden from the start. In fact, I believe we’re all conceived in perfect union with it, even though we’re not aware of it in the manner in which we typically think of being aware. That’s because what we call conscious awareness is something that evolves. We’re aware of our inner world from the beginning, but we become slowly and increasingly estranged from this world over time. Our life experiences lead us away from it. We come to know things, both good and bad. And that kind of awareness has a way of leading us away from our deeper, truer, inner selves. We become attached to the things that seem to bring us pleasure, and we avoid the things that have brought us pain. We develop personas to deal with our outer realities — strategies of relating and coping. We eventually come to identify with the personas we construct. In the process, we lose touch with who we really are. We also lose awareness of our real place in and our value to the universe.

Becoming truly healthy, whole, and more fully alive means reconnecting with our authentic selves, reentering the hidden realm within. That’s often a really hard thing to do. Life’s hardships, its slings and arrows, and its uncertainties not only invite us to construct personas, they also invite us to build defenses — walls of armor that block the gateway to our hearts. To get back in touch with our souls we have to either let down those defenses or they have to be broken down.

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Some people are fortunate enough to enter the realm within by having an experience that feels so inviting and so safe that they simply let down their defenses. Such an experience can also prompt them not only to open themselves up and give of themselves freely but also to come to more fully know themselves in the process. Others enter this realm by having their defenses knocked down, and sometimes the process of breaking down barriers constructed for good reason and fortified over the years can be very painful. After all, the reason we erect any barriers in the first place is to protect ourselves from pain, and breaking down those barriers only re-exposes the pain.

The hidden realm within is a truly sacred place. I believe that it’s where our life energy resides and that it’s the very same energy which animates and sustains the entire universe. As unbelievable and miraculous as it may seem, we can gain access to that very same energy, but we usually have to cut through layers of fear and mechanisms of self-protection to do it. To enter the noble sanctuary that is our soul, we have to be virtually born all over again. We have to shed the personas we constructed for protection and allow ourselves to be made anew. We have to become like little children — vulnerable and innocent, hungry only for loving connection. And we have to be fearless, trusting in the power of love itself to protect and sustain us. Placing our faith in love and not in all the things we’ve come to believe would keep us safe, secure our pleasure, and prevent our pain is what enables us to become new. With no more need for persona, we have a new identity, the identity we actually started with but let slip away. But now we know that identity in a very different way and for the first time. We know our true selves with a more mature awareness. Coming to know and love who we really are can bring us new life.

Sometimes, discovering the wondrous world I’ve been talking about is a singular and profoundly life-changing event. It can come out of nowhere — as if it were an act of sheer cosmic benevolence — but sometimes it’s merely the beginning of a process, one of self-discovery and transformation. Such a process can take some time and be fraught with growing pains, bt there’s something almost irresistible about getting a glimpse of our real, authentic home, so once embarked upon the course seems irreversible. Several vehicles can help us on the journey. Some use psychotherapy. Others use spiritual guidance and direction. Some practice a method like transcendental meditation or zen. You can participate in a group process or take the solitary, more contemplative route. There are all sorts of ways to get to where we’re all called and perhaps even destined to go. We just have to say “yes” to the enterprise. And we have to have faith. That’s what banishes our uncertainties and fear. It’s when we dispense with our uncertainties and fear that we surrender our old selves and old live for the new reality that awaits in the realm within.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

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