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.

Working With Dream Themes: Holiday Symbolism

Christmas Tree as Tree of Life

Christmas Tree
Pin by Sheree Graves

With the holidays soon upon us, and a recent dream I had of a Christmas tree, I was reminded that dream symbols reflecting Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year often commonly appear this time of year. No doubt the dreams containing these holiday symbols are drawing off the powerful energy and high intensity of feelings, remembrances of past holidays and gatherings with old friends and family that the holidays bring. So during this holiday season, pay attention to your holiday symbols and ask what they mean for you. Because these symbols are so powerful and are so connected with important times and passages in our lives, they have much to offer in new insight.

Dream: Christmas Tree of Transformation

Many years ago, visionary dreams were fashioning the course for the remaining half of my life but I did not understand those dreams then. They were so surrealistic and majestic that I only knew they didn’t pertain to my humdrum life at the time. One such dream was a Christmas tree dream in which I dreamed that I was standing in front of a very tall and beautiful Christmas tree. Taking up my full field of vision, it was lavishly decorated with brilliant lights and tiny magical ornaments in the shapes of different women. The tree was so stunning it took my breath away. A voice came in the dream and said, “This tree is your life. All those beautiful ornaments and lights on the tree are the various heartaches, difficulties and challenges you will face in your life. Eventually, they will turn from something repugnant into something of beauty, light and wonder—like these ornaments. This tree is part of an agreement you made before you born.”

In terms of symbolism, it was clear that the magnificent tree represented the Tree of Life, my life. The shining lights indicated the celebratory end of a healing process. The tiny figures of various kinds of women certainly represented me in all my aspects—and at the same time could possibly represent all the people I was meant to help, since most of these have been women. (Dreams often uncannily have simultaneously an inner and outer meaning.)

In mentioning the contract I already made, the voice in the dream seemed to imply that it was my job to help make sure the negative aspects of my life turned into positive and literally glowing results. I was already starting to accumulate my share of negative experiences so I knew the dream was pointing out something important! I also thought it very intriguing that the voice said this was something I agreed to before I was born—an interesting concept which I later learned Plato had written about as well as other metaphysical thinkers such as Edgar Cayce and some of the New Age writers.

At the time, the Christmas tree dream seemed to make no sense from a practical standpoint other than give me a lot pleasure remembering the beauty of it. It actually added a burden by implying I had a mission to do, as if I could turn lemons into lemonade! I could easily count the hurts to tally up the lemons but my dream gave me no clue about the pesky details: how, when, why and who would be involved in turning the lemons to lemonade. And besides, what did this have to do with immediate and practical problems of paying the rent, accumulating a 401K, or earning vacation time? However, the dream had a much deeper meaning, pointing to a far reaching and fundamental purpose of my life.