Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Outer vs Inner Space
I was working on a writing workshop for kids when a phrase kind of jumped out at me. It seems when we refer to aliens we often refer to them as "beings from outer space". I paused to consider why we need to qualify space as being "outer" space. Is that opposed to an "inner" space? And do we perhaps feel equally as intrigued and nervous about inner space as we do outer space perhaps?
As I was considering this I remembered overhearing a casual conversation yesterday. One woman told the other one she had been talking to herself and the joke was that it was okay as long as she didn't start hearing answers. I used to say that joke sometimes. I don't anymore. I realize that I am in fact, the most in tune with my "inner space" when I both talk to and listen to myself!
And yet, that is often where we draw the line in mental health. People have been and continue to be institutionalized or medicated because of hearing inner voices. As a health professional I have certainly witnessed people disturbed by voices from within and it is truly frightening and tragic when those voices become destructive. But as with everything, I believe there is a balance. And perhaps it is just as tragic when people don't listen to the inner voices and don't hear when the voices are constructive. Maybe if we could be more reflective than frightened we could discern the difference.
I think kids have this figured out. They are as curious, investigative and accepting of inner space as they are outer space. Before we tell them it is wrong or unhealthy to hear inner voices they listen quite attentively. Anyone who has ever had an imaginary friend understands this. Inner space is comforting and fun and a joy to discover. A lot of teenagers I know seem to be keeping this concept and refuse to be "socialized" out of it. They accept inner guidance as a "just is" concept. I hope the adult world can keep up and foster that rather than squish it. In her book "Psychic Children", Sylvia Browne discusses the "inner space" of children and offers tangible ways for adults to accept, understand, and encourage their knowing instead of stifling it.
The Bach flower essence Cerato can help you trust your own inner space. It won't make you hear voices. But it may help you understand that you do have the answers for you. The answers come from within, not from external advice from others.
White Chestnut can be helpful when you really just can't shut off your inner space and you mind keeps going around and round trying to work out problems or revisit mistakes and issues. That's why White Chestnut is particularly helpful if you can't get to sleep because you can't shut off your thoughts.
If you feel so overwhelmed with your inner space that you fear you may loose control of your behavior or feel on the verge of "breakdown", Cherry Plum is indicated. Cherry Plum can help restore a calm mind so that you can think and act rationally.
Aspen may also be helpful if there is sense of fear. When the concept of an "inner space" is not supported or discussed, children can often become afraid of their thoughts and fearful. This can lead to nightmares and night terrors that Aspen or Rock Rose may be helpful for.
I'm not dismissing counselling and other conventional mental health therapies or medications. I am suggesting there are other ways of looking at ourselves and our reality and somewhere in their we might find a way to balance better.
I think we have a tendency to focus on the external when we can't bring ourselves to deal with the internal. I wonder if we didn't develop our fascination with outer space and aliens and "conquering the outer limits", because we just didn't know what to do with our inner space.
So... the kids workshop will be focusing on exploring and writing about inner emotions rather than outer space! All aliens will come from within!