Life statements represent the sense we make of the world as children when we are exposed to a dazzling array of sensual, aural, and mental impressions. We are compelled to make some kind of sense of this mixed media of stimulation to ensure our survival. We ask: What is this? What is this world? Who are these people? How should I behave? What is valued here? What is this place where I have come? The answers we arrive at from our experience of the world are life statements.
Now notice how these questions simply lead to limitation. They lead to a closing of gates, a lessening of wonder. Isn’t that what they do? Fearful, we seek to define. Without limits or at least boundaries to hold us, we try to set a defining influence on the world, a set of contracting beliefs and understanding of what is. Later we may find out again that there are no limiting definitions, that the world is an unfathomable mystery. But without models, mentors, and teachers to guide us through the miasma, the confluence, the harmony, and the tempest of not-knowing, knowing seems to be the way.
We seek guidance desperately. Like the tribes of Israel in the wilderness, we will respond to commandments. Command me, we seem to cry. Tell me how it is; give me instruction in the expectations that will make me good, acceptable, and loved. I will agree to them, just tell me what they are.
Here then is the atmosphere in which life statements are received and delivered. It is a desperate affair, a critical point in time that causes us to jettison inner wisdom and our acquaintanceship with the unknown for these hollow and ultimately void prejudices.
For that is what they are: life statements are prejudices that orientate us, define us, and accommodate the world’s need of us to appear in costume and form.
How are Life Statements Communicated?
Life statements may be communicated verbally or non-verbally, conveyed through the physical body, posture and body language, or tone of voice, remembered as a traumatic memory or modelled on a combination of behaviors over time. Non-verbal messages can be particularly influential by conveying powerful unspoken and indirect messages through body tension and appearance, facial expression and movement.
Some life statements appear as inner voices, often modelled on parental voices in the outer world and consisting of commands, like “Be a good girl,” “You must be careful,” or “Grow up!”
The brash, insidious, all-pervading, and authoritative nature of life statements provides us with an unconscious communication of supposed certainty about how to feel, act, and behave. Their dominance and power lies in meeting us as children in our vulnerability, malleability and nascent fluidity.
How Life Statements Develop
This fluidity calcifies increasingly through later childhood and adolescence. By the twenties our life statements are set in stone as their inherent patterns are re-enacted as repetitive compulsions. Impenetrable and unyielding, we are equipped with a powerful accumulation of assumptions, expectations, and prejudices. They reassure us, provide us with reference points for behavior and relationships, give comfort and security, as they define and proscribe our understanding and sense of our inner and outer worlds.
Simultaneously they limit us, defining the confines of our aspirations, governing the extent of our personal potential, restricting our capacity, and contracting us in any number of ways through the ego-processes.
We may experience inner conflict in relation to these restrictions, as our deep desire for freedom clashes with our instinctive need for safety and security. We may become frustrated as our life continues to unfold in predictable ways.
Life statements single-handedly build a mighty edifice which represents a self-fulfilling prophecy of exactly how life is for us. The comfort zone is set to such a degree that as a client progresses through their inner work they can feel the compelling truth that their entire life has been choreographed, preset so to speak, and the feeling that they are conforming to rehearsed and scripted lines as in a play may be unavoidable. The insight that we are merely re-enacting a drama over and over again may be received in a number of ways: anger, sadness, grief.
Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [email protected]
Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [...]