Here is some excerpted material from chapter 1 (Birth: The First Major Internal Developmental Milestone) of my second book entitled “Integral Resolutions Vol 1: The Evolution of a Human Lifetime.”
At the point of a live successful birth, there is always much more going on than ordinary sense data would show. For instance, there is a non-physical mind, which becomes attached to the physical organism and the brain. This non-physical mind is already equipped with a memory bank that contains abilities, skills, memories, etc, which would far surpass that of any super computer.
Yet, the non-physical mind must wait for the brain’s physical developments to occur. All of the non-physical mind’s qualities may not necessarily be used during the life lived. This is something which will be determined by the personality living the lifetime. Additionally, know that before the child ever arrives, the way has already been prepared. The parents, knowingly or unknowingly will have established a place in the world for their child.
This is done by way of “choosing an icon,” and this icon is quite literally a sacred image. I put “choosing an icon” in quotes because the process is much more involved than this, as it is more of an unconscious process than a conscious one. This icon is that which gives structure to their perception of the family. It provides a framework for the child to work with for the particular lifetime.
In order for a family to maintain a sense of identity, it is necessary for the family to name itself and assign a function or a role to play. Usually before a child is ever born into a family, an icon is selected for them [again, this is literally a sacred image, so to speak] and this image is the role the child is expected to play in the family.
To help reach some more insight into this concept of the icon, you could describe it as the conceptualized ideas, and feelings the parents-to-be have already in place before the arrival of the child. The parents-to-be quite simply know [consciously and unconsciously] what this child-to-be will be like when they come into the world. Understand that this “chosen” icon is not necessarily positive. However, regardless of this icon being positive or negative, it is absolutely necessary to have a place to stand, and bring about life action in this world we all live in, and this is where the icon comes into play.
It is through this icon that the personality will come to form itself. Once more, understand that this choosing of the icon is not necessarily a conscious decision making process only. It is very easy to underestimate the significance of this necessary icon.
Without the structure provided by the icon, the very young infant/child has no means to bring about life action. Let me make something clear here, it is not so much that these children were not wanted, as it is that they were not perceived as having a place to occupy in the family structure by the parents. There is a difference here.
Families, who have one Autistic child, [whether this is alone or with other siblings] will report the greatest uncertainty or ambivalence about having had the child. That is, if they are being truthful or candid about the matter. For those children who have had a place prepared, the parents “selected” an icon for them.
This may be anything from a most flattering and encouraging idea and image, to the other side of this. This is to mean a most unflattering and discouraging idea or image for the arriving child. In life, the icon can be a “boost up” or a “necessary evil,” but it is the structure of having a place to occupy in the family that is the important part, not whether it is positive or negative. Many individuals, child or adult, who are suffering from low self-esteem, are those burdened with icons that cast them in an unflattering or unsupported position within the family.
The family’s “needs” are what determine the icon selected; and that is a loaded sentence. For example, the “spiritual needs” of each family member, as well as the family as a whole, are what are taken into account as these “needs.” It is not the actual individual’s personality, which determines this chosen icon by the parents, for after all, they are not even here yet. Sometimes, these two are at great odds with each other [the child’s personality and the chosen icon.] Icons set up the nature of the family and its actions in the world as well as among the members of the particular family.
As it is, the newly born infant/child actually needs very little beyond the necessities such as food, drink, shelter, clothing, etc, to survive. To thrive in life, an infant or child requires only feeling safe, secure, loved, and interacted with. Automatically, the rest falls into place naturally.
It is indeed unfortunate that there are those who do not get these basic requirements in life. All human infants need to be held by others. This means holding them securely but unconfined in one’s arms. A very young child needs held by either parent when they seek it, or else they will become desperate. Families establish the basis by which a newborn learns or does not learn trust. I am aware that this may sound obvious; however, upon reflection you may find it is a much more complex matter.
Trust is essential in developing a basis for intimacy. Achieving intimacy in the life is through the means of trust, if it is achieved at all. Not only will self-intimacy or intimacy with another be almost impossible without trust, but also the individual will have a very difficult time attempting to trust other individuals. In fact, they will not be able to recognize trust when it is offered to them in later life.
The single most important way a child learns trust, is by direct personal response to crying. A child who cries needs held in a secure but unconfined manner and reassured. A child who does not learn trust at this very critical time of their life [this is to mean by approximately age 3] will have a very difficult time later in the life, as the access to fear within the psychological and emotional being of the personality increases dramatically.
An infant or very young child learns all that they will ever “believe” about the family, society, and culture, by the time of the process of individualization, or approximately by three years of age. This is the time of the second major internal developmental milestone.
Ask any parent or adult caregiver who has spent countless hours telling a child before the age of three, how to act or behave in the most proper sense, yet if it is not in accord with what the young child observes, it is more or less a waste of time. A very young infant/child observes more attentively during the first part of life than at any other time in the life.
Although a very young child may be told repeatedly that it is wrong to hit other people, know that if “daddy” beats up on “mommy,” particularly where the very young child can see it, then the child will never fully accept such behavior as wrong. In addition, how you deal with problems [with respect to the child] is extremely important in terms of how they learn to deal with their problems later in life.
For example, while comforting them in pain, no matter how brief or minor is very positive for their development; fussing and nervous apprehension is not, nor is ignoring or belittling the pain. For you see, these responses confuse the experience so that it is difficult for the very young child, let alone an older one, to comprehend what is actually going on, and therefore the choices are not well defined and the ramifications are not well understood.
Response to pain and threat are in large part conditioned by family and culture. A one year old, two year old at the oldest, already knows the appropriate response to pain and threat. Behavior comes from what is acceptable by the child. This response pattern of the family will largely dictate the way in which the very young child reacts to pain or threat, rather than the actual experience itself.
The preceding information is excerpted from the first chapter (Birth: The First Major Internal Developmental Milestone) of my second book “Integral Resolutions Vol 1: The Evolution of a Human Lifetime.”
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Enjoy the changes coming into your lives,
(An Old Soul Spiritual Teacher)