“It’s not my fault! I had a terrible childhood”. How often we hear these words from people who have failed to achieve success and happiness in life.
I have to wonder how life would change for them if they recognized that their sad “life story” was only a mythic “self-story” created in childhood; the childhood “self-story” they created so their childhood experiences would make some sort of sense; the “self story” they then unconsciously spent the rest of their lives assuming was true.
It’s a rare person who hasn’t created or adopted a childhood “life-story myth”; a “self- story” that is now unconsciously controlling their life, and creating a form of caterpillar unhappiness.
The Mythic Story of Adam And Eve
Our stories and myths do indeed have the power to control our lives!
For example, the well-known myth of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is a story about Eve eating an apple from the tree of life. In this myth God was upset because the apple gave Adam and Eve knowledge of good and evil. So God banished them from the innocence of the Garden. It is a myth about sin, heaven, hell, and the original fall or fallen nature of humans: a myth that countless millions of people still believe is literal truth even today.
The number of people tortured and killed over the last two thousand years by the religious institutions founded on this myth, is beyond estimation.
The Garden of Eden is not a story about human sin, it’s a story about the amazing birth of human consciousness. Once something has entered our human consciousness, it is all but impossible for us to go back to the innocence (eg. the garden) that existed prior to the birth of the new awareness or consciousness. It is humanity’s greatest and most powerful gift.
You and I do not have to become prisoner of our old myths. We can intentionally embrace a new understanding of who we are. We can intentionally evolve our human consciousness, our values, and our beliefs.
Stated simply, we can intentionally change the way we think. We can evolve.
Our Own Mythic Story From Childhood
Now many of you will say, I knew that. I knew the Adam and Eve story was a myth. But what many of us fail to realize is the destructive power unconscious myths from childhood have over our lives. Especially when we literalize them, and turn them into “truth”. These mythic childhood stories are often referred to as “thinking without actually thinking”——and we all have them.
For example, we are often told stories in childhood about who we are, who we could become, our limitations, our flaws, our level of intelligence, what we look like, something that should be changed about who we are, or why people don’t like us. And some of these things we told ourselves so we could lessen the pain when others rejected or criticized us.
Think about the childhood messages you may have heard growing up. What did others like about you? What did they say you should change about yourself? Were you considered smart? Too loud? Irresponsible? Maybe it was about your hair; your face. The way you walked. How you talked. Your sense of—or lack of humor. Your smile; your eyes; how you dressed; or maybe it was about your weight. Were you considered pretty? What kind of personality did they say you had? Were you athletic or nerdy? Did you “fit” in with the others in your school? Why not?
These are the kind of “stories” from childhood that become our “self-story myth”; the way we think about ourselves without really thinking.
Remember The Caterpillar
Like the Garden of Eden, our “life-story” from childhoodbecomes an unconscious myth that easily becomes a literal truth that we fail to question. We unconsciously assume our “sad life-story” is true. And over time our “sad life-story” becomes our reality; our “thinking without really thinking”.
Like the chrysalis spun by a caterpillar, our “life-story myth” can become a chrysalis prison with the power to hold our “true-self” captive——-that is, until we have the courage to re-write our “life story” and transform the caterpillar “self” we were taught to think we are—-into the butterfly “self” we were born to be.
The transformation from caterpillar “self” to butterfly “self” takes great courage, because the ego of the caterpillar “self” has to die before we can transform into our butterfly “self”. It’s helpful to remember that unlike us, the caterpillar has to turn into a gooey, slimy, and squishy mess before it can transform into a butterfly. All “we” have to do is change the way we think about ourselves by questioning the “truths” of our childhood “self-story”.
As long as we believe our childhood “life-story myth” is true, our “true-self” will forever remain a prisoner of that childhood story. We will fail to become the “butterfly” we were born to become——-or do the amazing things we came here to do.
Of course, the spiritual transformation from caterpillar “self” to butterfly “self” is not a one-time event. Like all true transformations, awakening to our “true-self” is a birthing process that takes time, intentionality, and commitment to accomplish.