Many of us have heard about the sins the of the father being passed on from generation to generation. There are patterns of abuse we can trace back many generations. We all know we become our parents in some way or another. Maybe we become the exact opposite. We might adopt their core fear and play it out in different behaviors. Deny it if you must, but it is a human thing, and we all do it at some level unless we have achieved a state of complete enlightenment. In case you are wondering if you are fully enlightened: If you are reading this, you aren’t.

I resisted this idea that I (personally) have adopted my own parents issues for most of my life. As I go deeper into my studies and my own exploration of my psyche (for lack of a better way to explain it), I realize it’s all there. Mom and Dad’s need to remain emotionally independent, lack of trust, fear of abandonment, need for external validation, fear of failure, and the resulting feelings of isolation.

Even nastier is to look to our children and see what they have picked up from us. Yikes! And even worse is the day you realize the struggle your child is having is the very same faulty thought you have although you didn’t even know you had it. That is a tough pill to swallow. One of my children has a belief that the world is like a desert handing out free food and water to everyone but him. My heart broke when he said this (although it was more in the context of school when he was younger). I now realize I have been run by the very same belief. Deep down inside, if I am very honest, I believe I am unworthy and therefore have been cast out by society and even by my idea of God. Ugh.

This is all a real bummer. My point is not to go all hopeless, but to open your eyes to clues to your struggle. As I have always said, we are great observers of other people. We are terrible at observing ourselves. So, when we can identify our parents and even our children’s faulty thoughts and beliefs that are creating upheaval in their lives, we have to step down from our pedestal of genetic and human cootie immunity and look into our own psyche and see how these thoughts and beliefs are playing out in our own lives. They are there. I would bet a lot of money on it.

This awareness gives you things to work on to improve the quality of your life, not to beat yourself up with. That is our tendency by the way. Humans are very adept at judging themselves – sometimes to death. Be gentle with yourself. You are human and this is the way we function. We are all the same deep down inside.

Many avenues of research and study have identified the four core fears of humans: abandonment, failure, death, and nothingness. So, you can boil down almost any problem, issue, confusion, frustration, to a core fear. Pretty cool, huh?

So, when you want to cut through the crap, to put it simply, look to how someone or some situation is triggering one of your core fears. If you can’t figure it out, put it in the context of your parent or your child. How would this person or situation trigger my mother, my father, my son, or daughter. Then look in the mirror. You might just find your answer.

Once you recognize your fear, you can choose to let it quietly run you, or you can let it go. Now, I work with specific processes to handle these really nasty fears, and it is not impossible for you to do some of this work of peeling the onion of your psyche yourself. If you can knock off a few layers and feel the weight being lifted, it might just drive you to find someone to help you go deeper. Going deeper sounds scary. Sometimes it is. I always ask myself, “Would I rather be secretly tortured by a thought or feeling for the rest of my life or be brave enough to look the fear straight in the eyes to gain understanding and clarity so I can heal, forgive, and let it go?” I typically choose to free myself of these unhealthy thought forms.

One of my teachers said that eventually she got to the point of being so captivated by understanding the similarities of human minds, she lost all her fear because it was replaced by wild curiosity. Like Nancy Drew with her flashlight, she goes wandering through her own psyche and the psyche of others with an intense curiosity and great love. I often now respond with, “Oh! Look at that! Why am I doing that? I must know!” versus my previous, “Oh, God! Not again!” response.

Many fear they will be judged by their therapist. A really good therapist has done lots of work on themselves and could probably tell you 10 stories about themselves to your every 1. When I stand in the role of guide (I prefer guide to therapist because the client is doing all the work, I am just a guide) I have a great deal of love and empathy for my client because I know what it is like to be in that place. And if I find myself in the same place as my client (meaning I have a similar fear cropping up), I am healing right along side my client when they do their work. Know this, when you heal some aspect of yourself, you are healing many, many souls.

Just like the sins of the father get passed down generation to generation, so does the healing. We often talk of being the one to break the cycle in a family, whether it be abuse, addiction, or any unwanted thoughts or behaviors. When you heal, you break the cycle and you actually heal all those who came before you and all those who come after you (plus a few on the sides). It’s a beautiful thing.

It is a choice to heal and forgive and let go. You can live with it and pass it on like a virus… or not.

This type of healing work, while you won’t get an award or a paycheck, is the most important work you will do in this lifetime. If you want to save the world, raise the level of consciousness of the world, help your family past and future, this is the way to do it. Now is the time for us to go inward to help others.

As Ian always says, “First within me, everywhere else next.”