The Child Identity

The Child Identity

Child by Mao Yue
Child by Mao Yue

I used to write regularly about the 3 am-egos, what Adyashanti called head, heart, gut.

Essentially, with Self Realization the me-concept (head) ends when the Self wakes up to itself through the apparent person. The mind goes quiet for a moment and the Self recognizes itself under the noise.

Another way to frame me-concept is ego identification. Mind identifying its self-sense with our individuality. When the mind settles, it’s seen through because it’s mind-made.

As we settle into Self Realization (even sometimes prior), we discover energetic drivers behind those self-concepts. Even though we’ve stopped believing in our old me-idea, life events may still trigger the emotions behind the supporting concepts. That can bring those self-concepts back up again, even though they’re no longer identified. Our history remains.

This is like samskaras and vasanas. The first are the habitual patterns, in this case of the mind. The vasanas are the drivers that trigger the patterns. Both need to be resolved for the patterns to fade.

From a more neutral place, we can observe the stories and emotions arising and allow them to complete. They fall away.

As we heal those emotions, the crust on the heart falls away. This allows a higher octave heart chakra (mahamarma) to open, leading to a phase of profound love and devotion called God Consciousness.

Ideally, this leads to the core or existential identity becoming conscious in the upper gut. This is a fear-based contraction that arose when we lost touch with the Divine.

Some have compared this release to a barbecue as the solar plexus chakra is the fire centre. There can be a sense of roasting our localized I-sense on a deeper level, our given name identity.

We also know this arena as a guardian or protector as it “protects” the lower personal chakras from shared energy. Also as the Vishnu Granthi.

The gut release can set the stage for the Unity shift.

However, the shifts are parallel to but not tied to these releases. This means the shifts can happen without them. And that means unresolved ego issues can still be in play in higher stages.

I’ve also written about a 4th level when the process reaches down into the root and a deeper embodiment in Brahman. And I’ve written on the inner child. However, I’ve now realized the two are connected.

The child-self is founded in the lower chakras. It doesn’t disappear as we grow and shift to a mind orientation during our school years. Rather, it gets covered up as the later layers develop over top of it.

This is what the third chakra guardian is protecting. But while it likes to feel it protects the child-self (not really), it doesn’t shield us from the child-self acting out.

We experience this as irrational emotions and needs. The child-self is about the root and second chakras. This is being, survival, and emotions; our primitive and limbic brains. It is pre-rational, so cannot be appealed to by reason and the mind. It’s looking for its needs to be met.

Because it’s emotional, it has a lot of power behind it. It will show up in urges and cravings around things like food, love, sex, touch, fun, safety, and security. (Those vasanas again.)

You may notice an overlap with the Love Languages, the way adults may give and expect love from others. This is a lower love, driven by needs. It’s often unconscious, leading to discord and blaming the partner when the unconscious needs are not being met. As they’re unconscious, we don’t know what it is we’re missing, only that we feel a lack or loss that we associate with our partner. Perhaps they gave us gifts when courting, but then stopped, for example.

There are a lot of reasons many people have a hurt child in there, carefully protected but shadowing our experience of life. Challenges to our well-being – real or imagined – lead to unresolved needs.

Even if hardship and injustice were not visited on us as children, unresolved trauma can be passed down energetically, ancestrally, or through karma.

When we’re young, we’re like energetic sponges, soaking up our environment so we can fit in. But we’re not yet discriminating the good and the bad, so we take it all in. Much becomes part of our makeup and supports or shadows us.

As we step into a family at birth, it’s said we gain the gift of a life for sharing part of the ancestral burden.

Later, even though discrimination comes online, those needs often remain unconscious in the lower centres. Their influence remains. We still come in to relationships with unconscious expectations, still handle stress in some unconscious ways, and so forth.

However, if we do the work, transcend, and clean house, the unconscious gradually becomes conscious and we see even the deepest shadows.

This can seem such a long trudge, but each step you make is another step up in quality of life. The healing stretches out to cover not just yourself but your loved ones, community, ancestors, and progeny – sometimes for generations. The more of us that are healing, the smoother the process gets, and the easier it is for everyone.

For us Boomers on a spiritual path, it’s taken decades. But those coming up behind us, not so much. Storms or not, the sun is rising. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Updated on November 26, 2020 by Davidya

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 15

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


  1. Gina

    Beautiful, “However, if we do the work, transcend, and clean house, the unconscious gradually becomes conscious and we see even the deepest shadows”, now I understand why even in higher states of consciousness there is the need to meditate and transcend.

    1. Hi Gina
      Right – some take their time and clear more before higher stages and some move into higher stages more quickly. But the latter still has lots of cleaning to do. And nature likes to organize so that it’s usually relatively smooth and we can process and integrate it all. Some of our backlog is simply big stuff we’ve not had time to process yet.
      Not to mention, the higher the stage, the more universal we get and thus the more the collective is a part of that.
      I should also note though that the process does get easier too though. We’re not as “in it” the same way and the more expanded we get, the smaller it all is relatively. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Further, once you become That, it’s not really “transcending” anymore as we’re already there. It’s more dropping the relative. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Guru
      I used to associate the major identifications and their release (head, heart, gut) with the stage shifts. That’s what happened here, with Adyashanti, and some others I know. However, I later saw many variations. Susanne Marie, for example, had her gut release with the Brahman shift.
      I’ve also since seen people have their heart opening post-Brahman. That means the gut release hasn’t happened yet. And I’ve seen post-Brahman teachers acting out identity issues.
      In an ideal process, the releases are associated with the stages but there are a lot of exceptions. And there can certainly be other major contractions in there.
      The other part you reference includes the atman and sattva processes. GC and the refined versions of the higher stages are a process of refinement and purity that unfolds all the layers of consciousness through increasing sattva guna and soma.
      Self Realization, Unity, and Brahman are stages in relation to Atman, consciousness itself.
      SR or CC is a shift from being a person to being the seer or observer aspect of consciousness. The observer wakes up to itself. (This is distinct from being a seer or cognizer – that’s another story. )
      After time in that stage and a bit of refinement, consciousness is recognized to underlie all forms and phenomena. That can be related to a fuller GC unfolding but may not include the heart opening (release) yet.
      Unity is when the awake consciousness within recognizes itself as underlying everything too. Subject already awake awakens to itself as object and they unite in one wholeness.
      If there is a Refined Unity process, then the process of experience – the dynamic between subject and object (and most subtle of the 3) – becomes recognized as That also. This is a little more complex as it’s the intelligence aspect of consciousness and where the creation of experience and devata values reside.
      Brahman shift may be associated with a root release and child identity although here the latter became more conscious later. Brahman is more a knowing. It is transcending consciousness itself so is beyond seeing, beyond experiening.
      It’s not worth trying to understand Brahman as it is beyond consciousness and thus experience. But it is not beyond our ability to know it as we arise from it.
      And finally, if there is a refining process underway, we can transcend Brahman into Pure Divinity. Like Unity, that also unfolds in stages.
      I talk about it mainly because there are people where thats unfolding and it can be useful to have a big picture of our potential. Some traditions don’t talk about more than Self Realization, leading some to conclude thats it. That concept can get in the way of further development, partly because the core identity, now “awake,” is still in there…
      I explore the overall process and common variations more systematically in the book. It takes more than a few blog articles. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Guru

    Thanks for your reply. Now let me digest what you have written. It may take life time. I promise you I will not ask any questions in future as you have given everything that needs to be told. I am at loss of words. You are Rishi in the world of spirituality. I will remain your disciple.

  3. Tim Owens

    A lot of this material echoes the ancient Hawaiian teachings of Kahuna, where there is a teaching of a high, middle and low self. As I have come to understand it, much of the teaching revolves around healing the low self. Low selves are like little wind-up toys; once programmed by early life experiences they just keep repeating the patterns until they are patiently taught otherwise. One of the more famous writers on this subject was Max Freedom Long.

    1. Thanks, TO. I’ve taken a couple of classes on traditional Hawaiian teachings but this didn’t come up.
      There are various ways of looking at and experiencing it. The article is basically positing a 5-layer self: Child self, core identity, heart identity, conceptual identity, and universal Self. However, the middle 3 can be seen as aspects of the same adult self, meaning 3.
      On the other hand, all of the selves need healing except the universal. And you could throw in various layers of the collective self too. Perhaps the Hawaiians were less messed up than we are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Aaron

    Of course I stumble upon this writing at the perfect time…The last three or four days has found me a little more directed towards thinking during and after meditation. I am having thoughts of my not-so-pleasant (to be pleasant about it) traumatic childhood. When the awakening occurred over 10 years ago, all the stories and their emotional pull ended quite suddenly. I saw through the narratives, and of course, thought I was finished. (But we all know that it doesn’t seem to finish!) I kept wondering why there is all this involuntary shaking and yelling going on continually in the my daily practice, afterwards and on retreats. What could I be releasing? Will this ever end? Then a few days ago, I started having these memories of my childhood. My guess, after reading your post, is that they are definitely related. Perhaps my body, in order to heal, is releasing the trauma that has been stored there the past several decades. I sit with it, and let it release. Perhaps one day things will smooth out. Thank you for another helpful post.

    1. Hi Aaron
      Yes, there is an end to the clearing, especially when on a fast track. But it takes time. There is a lot in there. A rough childhood often leads to very protected spaces where we keep the trauma tucked away so we can function. But eventually, that too rises to the surface to be felt & resolved.
      Of course, when we finish that, there is still the collective. But the skills we develop through our own stuff is skill we can apply to the whole, helping raise us all up.
      Thank you for sharing.

  5. Peter

    Lately I have been seeing how the mind obsesses over right and wrong… judgement of “others,” of “self,” and projections of what others may be thinking about “me” (good/bad). There has been some seeing that this is a protection over a wounded child self…

    If i do good, or what is right, I won’t ever have to experience that again… control over “my life” by doing the right thing. An ongoing struggle to know what is right, what others think is right etc. for fear of being “wrong”

    anyway thought this might have some alignment with what is being described, any insight is welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Peter
      This is very good seeing. Yes, it aligns with what I’m talking about. The article is speaking mainly to releasing the identification with that child self which is deeper than recognizing its dynamics. But recognizing indicates becoming conscious. This allows us to see and release much more effectively. This allows faster and more complete healing.

      Also, seeing through the ego is key to awakening from it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest