The Emergence of Lao Tzu, the Old Child

Endings Herald New Beginnings

Lao Tzu, The Old Child
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To live fully is to be blessed fully. An adult who has gone through significant suffering and comes out the other side transformed with deeper, trusting consciousness, and a greater compassion for the suffering of others is like one who is reborn again with the open, trusting heart of a little child. It is like a rediscovery of a lost kingdom with its own graces and powers. The meaning of the name of the great mystic sage of ancient China, Lao Tzu, is Old Child. It implies that living within the fully realized person is paradoxically the wizened, seasoned and experienced old person who has been through it all and the fresh, open-hearted child, full of wonder and innocence.

From my own experience, I believe the Inner Child is often rediscovered, acknowledged and healed under challenging and often frustrating conditions. It happens when something much greater than the ego, call it Soul or the Self with a capital “S,” is aroused itself like an enraged dragon, finding its very being questioned. Any catastrophe such as the loss of a dearly loved friend or relative, natural disaster, or major health issue has the power to awaken and shift deeper energies at the essential energy level of the person. This awakened energy creates irrevocable change. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy summed it up perfectly after being sucked up into the tornado, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The Kansas of the inner home is no longer there or is so badly damaged that any repair will only be a facsimile or the original. One is left with only the force and consequences of a new power which can be experienced in various ways such as profound emptiness or a terrible energy.

This force, aware that its constraining ego cage has been weakened, yearns for freedom. It begins to arouse itself, sometimes roaring and shaking to further tear the already incapacitated ego prison apart. The force initially manifests itself through its own growing pains as it breaks down the shallow sense of self that once had confined it and lulled it to sleep. The dying old self is filled with acute anxiety, anger or depression. What is ending; what is beginning?

If old age isn’t for sissies, then this process that makes one become like a child definitely is not for sissies. Unlike old age, it is a form of weakening deterioration which strikes at the core of how we view and process reality. Some may experience this suffering more acutely than others because everyone’s view and experience of the catastrophe is different. But bad as it is, it is nonetheless the blessing/wounding that can lead to the rediscovery, and recovery of the inner child, and can come as an fitting completion after life changing events.