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Part One, introduction
I believe that if our early childhood needs are not met in a timely fashion, that deficiencies can develop in our cognitive processes (there is much research to support this – the developing central nervous system has certain windows of time in which certain needs must be met to grow in a healthy fashion). I go on to suggest that if these deficiencies are not addressed before one starts out on a potent spiritual path, then potent spiritual practice will aggravate and cause these deficiencies (unmet needs) to surface unexpected, possibly alarming manifestations. I believe that developing and strengthening inner resources (meeting these needs as adults) is a vital and necessary facet of spiritual practice, another foundation if you will. I describe a little of my personal process as an example. And just for the record, I am a humble, ordinary human being, who has much to work on. I am neither a psychotherapist, nor a licensed counselor. So if you are in need of support involving what I am describing here, please go out and get it. I am not the person to contact. Call a psychotherapist and ask if they do DNMS, EMDR or meeting childhood needs work. See below for good support suggestions. This blog is for informational purposes only – it does not intend or pretend to cure, heal, treat or prevent any disease. With that said however, I have been blessed with many incredible teachers who have given me living examples of kind adult parts of self and psycho-spiritual conceptual resources to bring onto the path.
What is a resource? According to the Development Needs Meeting Strategy website (and book), resources are mature adult parts of self that can help child parts heal. Many people have these resources within them, they may just need strengthening. In certain extreme cases, people may need to reconstruct these inner resources.
For those of us (Americans or members of the human race in general) who have busy and productive yet caring Western parents, there is a good chance that some of our needs as children were not met. Yes, you might be thinking – how can any parents meet all the needs of their children – impossible!!??!! Well you are correct in thinking ALL of our childhood needs could be met. However, there are some needs that are vital, which if they are not met within a certain window of time, it hinders the developing brain. There is much research being conducted on this subject as we speak. One resource on this subject is the Circle of Security Project – http://circleofsecurity.net Click on the resources button in the top right and then click on downloads. They have much information available for free. See below for more resources on resourcing children.
Now if you are so lucky to be born into more of a traditional culture, for instance in Central America, South America, some African cultures or among Tibetans to name a few, then maybe you had the majority of your needs met as a kid. Your parents would be kind, attentive, present and unconditionally loving (some of the most important needs of all children). If that is the case, then you may not learn much from reading this article. However, you may know someone who is affected by what I describe in this series. And for the rest of us, these words might just strike a chord.
There are some needs children have which if not met, as I mentioned, can affect the child’s developing nervous system. I have heard recently that there is the theory that children make the decision very early in their development, possibly even in utero, whether to pursue a life of “consciousness” (creativity and abundance) or “survival” (contraction and inappropriate hyper-vigilance – just trying to get by). For those of us born into Western families, many people have healthy environments (uteri) to develop in and healthy families to be born into, leading to many inner resources already being present and accounted for. However, for those of us with the karma to survive a traumatic (pre-)birth or a traumatic first three years (a time of increased central nervous system growth and development), we might have some resources which just were not modeled for us or which our parents did not even know to be concerned about. Keep in mind I am not trying to blame anyone here. Generally speaking, our parents are doing the best they can! 🙂
Here are some resources which are vital throughout a child’s developmental years (and hopefully beyond): parents protect child, comfort child, delight in child, help child, watch over child, helps child organize their feelings and enjoys things with the child. These are just a few of the resources which are necessary throughout multiple developmental stages – and of course the basic resources of providing food, shelter and safe, comfortable housing go without saying. These resources above are from the Circle of Security Project and the Development Needs Meeting Strategy website. Also, for any mothers reading this, you are doing a great job! Just do your best and seek support as much as you are able to (there are many resources available to you in the community). Keep in mind I am not a mother but I am growing to understand the vast importance of kind, appropriate mothering to our society as a whole.
So… raise your hand if you had all of these above resources at least for the first three years of your life… probably no one. How many of us had most of these resources going for the first three years? Maybe some. Well guess what – for those of us who did not raise their hands to the first question, we may be in need of a bit of solid resourcing to replace these deficient inner resources.
As I mention above, I believe that starting down an authentic (and often potent) spiritual path too soon, that is before one has done childhood needs resourcing work, or before one understands where the path leads, can be a dangerous or a fruitless journey. I believe the body and the mind want to heal, and that if given the time and space to rest, they will start to unwind and show their person what is needed. In the next piece, I will talk about my own experience and introduce further points.
Continued in Part Two.
Circle of Security downloads: http://www.circleofsecurity.net/cos_downloads.html
There is a great, if a bit of a monotonic, overly-simplified slide show on the following site – Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy website: http://www.dnmsinstitute.com/
A description of DNMS on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developmental_Needs_Meeting_Strategy_%28DNMS%29