Doing inner work is about looking deep within yourself.
It’s a form of introspection that requires you to be completely honest about your emotional state and how it’s affecting you on the subtle levels of your awareness.
The rewards for getting to know yourself in this way are great. But it’s not a path that’s for everyone. Many people are too preoccupied with what’s in front of them to question themselves at the deeper layers of their being.
If you want to progress on your spiritual journey, you need to acknowledge your pain. That doesn’t mean you have to play the victim. It’s about bringing awareness to your wounds and allowing yourself to release what you’ve been suppressing for so long.
You don’t need to have suffered horrific abuse to justify doing this work. We all carry scars – big and small. And they all contribute to the make-up of our character. You can either choose to let these experiences make you or break you. That’s what doing the inner work is all about.
But what is it exactly?
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What is Inner Work?
Doing the inner work is how you liberate yourself from your past circumstances. It’s a process of self-discovery, self-acceptance and liberation. You can think of it as a form of inner alchemy. A form of transmutation.
By committing to a consistent practice of personal introspection, you can gain a whole new appreciation for yourself. It creates a shift within your field and allows you to develop a true sense of inner strength.
The more of your energy you dedicate to your inner work, the greater the rewards. And from there, anything is possible. The term ‘inner work’ suggests a toil – that it’s hard. And there’s no denying that it can be at times. But you can bring joy to the process. It can be an uplifting experience. But you have to believe.
When you’re ready to start your inner work, it can be broken down into three steps:
- Awareness – The Initial step of turning your attention inwards and to your feelings.
- Acceptance – This is the recognition of one or more problems that are holding your back.
- Action – The conscious work you doing to alleviate yourself of your limiting behaviours.
By doing this work with your innermost self, you’ll be working not just on the conscious level of your awareness, but also the subconscious part of yourself. This will involve working with your inner child, shadow self and spiritual ego.
Why it’s Important to Work with Your Inner Being
Quite simply, your inner being is the key to your long-term happiness.
If you consider yourself to be on any sort of spiritual journey, you need to start paying attention to what’s going on inside. Doing the inner work is the key to your heart-spaced awareness. And through that comes the capacity to have greater empathy and compassion for yourself and others.
On the macro-level, your inner being is made up of your dreams, ego, inner child and shadow self. However, when you really dig deep and start doing the work, you realise it’s also your belief systems, behaviours and memories, and emotions that you’re working with.
When you acknowledge your inner being, you begin the process of letting go of your old patterns. It’s a cycle of death and rebirth that few are willing to take. But it’s how you take yourself from a place of stagnation to state of rejuvenation.
You need to be willing to work at these deeper levels because no one else is going to do it for you. Sure, you can get help along the way. In fact, you should. Seeking out healing practitioners is a great way to make fast progress. But the effort needs to come from within. It’s your journey. No one can understand your circumstances better than you.
If you suffer from poor body image or low self-esteem, that doesn’t have to be your world. You can make changes. It might not seem possible from where you’re sat. But it is possible. And it starts with you making a simple choice, by just saying yes. That’s all you need to do. You hold accountable and celebrate each step forward as a victory.
The Relationship Between Inner Work and Recovering from Emotional Trauma
When you boil inner work down to its core, it always leads to your childhood. This is where the majority of your negative traits originate from. Between the age of 5-9, your mind is like a sponge. You take in everything that’s thrown at you and shape it into the view of the world you have now.
Unfortunately, that means the good and the bad. It all gets dumped into your subconscious mind unfiltered. Your friends, family, and teachers all leave their mark you. Everything is filed away as a reference point for how you should respond when faced with a similar situation in the future.
What Causes Trauma?
Anything that you found offensive, that stepped on your boundaries or caused you discomfort in any way can cause you trauma. It exists on a sliding scale. As we’ve already talked about, you don’t need to have suffered horrific abuse to have been traumatised.
In childhood, you’re a lot more sensitive than in your mature state, which means you’re a lot more susceptible to experiencing trauma. It’s not your fault. You just haven’t developed the mental resilience to brush off discomforting experiences. You can’t process them. So they rest within your subconscious, lying dormant.
And this can happen in any number of ways. Trauma can be rooted in neglect just as much as it can be in direct abuse. Abandonment is the perfect example. It’s not an issue that spring to mind when you think of abuse. But it’s a lot more prevalent than you think.
For example, if you were left alone for long stretches when you a child because your parents had to work away, it can lead to feelings of abandonment. You process your parent’s absence as a lack of care – and hence not loving you. This neglect causes a trauma that you then carry through to adulthood.
That trauma might see you develop a neediness complex. It can affect your relationships, causing you to become co-dependent. All because of your wounds that were created in childhood. One that in this case is rooted in your inner child.
The Paradigm-Shifting Changes That Take Place When You Do the Deep Inner Work
When you’re on a spiritual journey, you’re doing the inner work and when you’re doing the inner work you on the spiritual jounrey. The two go hand in hand. And as you peel away old layers that no longer serve you, you’ll notice a profound change in your life.
It’ll be subtle at first. Old hang-ups will fall away, people won’t be able to trigger you as much anymore, and you’ll be much more grounded within your true authentic self. Once you start clearing away all the clutter, you’ll realise just how much lighter you feel and you’ll gain a thirst for more.
Change will become something that you cease to fear. You’ll embrace it. And as you continue on your journey of spiritual transformation, you’ll notice not only do you feel better, you develop awareness of other people’s thoughts and emotions. The more you work on yourself, the more you become attuned to the world around you.
At first, there may only be a trace of these latent gifts within you. But as you continue with the process of healing your emotional trauma and building your self-worth, they’ll become harder to ignore.
You’ll develop a keen sense of empathy. Over time, that will feed into your intuitive abilities, which in turn becomes pre-cognition. And there may be much more besides… The more you commit to working on yourself, the more you’ll able to see yourself in others and act from a place of compassion.
Once you realise that people are simply doing the best with the tools they’ve been given in life, it becomes impossible to be offended by their actions. It’s almost never you that’s the cause of someone else’s pain. You just happened to be stood in the way when it came spilling out.
That is the great shift that will take place within. It may not sound like much. But when you come to realise that you are not the centre of everyone else’s world, and they have just as many if not more problems than you, nothing seems as bad, anymore.
How to Connect with Your Inner Self and Reclaim Your Personal Power
To start doing effective inner work, you need to develop self-awareness. Your inner terrain is so vast. Unless you become aware of what part of yourself needs attention, you’re stabbing in the dark. It pays to know what you’re dealing with and to have a strategy before you begin.
The following are some of the most common areas you can focus your attention on. It’s by no means exhaustive. But it’s more than enough to begin. The scope of providing a complete list of all aspects of your inner being is beyond this post. I’ll provide a more comprehensive list in the future.
Inner Child Work
Your inner child is the innocent part of you that lives on in your psyche long into adulthood. It retains everything you’ve experienced as memory and can become emotionally overwhelmed if it’s exposed to uncomfortable situations.
When your inner child feels uncomfortable, so do you. It is you. And what it needs more than anything is to feel safe. The trauma of the inner child often involves abandonment and shame. So when it’s triggered, it can lead to either lash out or withdraw.
When your inner child acts out in this way, it’s a call for attention. It’s feeling vulnerable and needs love. What that part of you is expecting is a response from an adult to provide reassurance. That is your responsibility – to act as the loving adult to your inner child.
Working with your inner child is all about providing nurture. You’re not trying to banish anything or rid yourself of the crying child within. Your aim is to let it know it’s being heard. You want to repair it, not replace it.
Your shadow self can also have its roots in childhood. Although it is quite separate from your inner child. Whereas that part of your psyche presents itself as needy, vulnerable and victimised, the shadow is much more aggressive.
It’s a multi-faceted part of your psyche that has links to your past traumas. But it also represents the dark intentions you harbour, especially when you’ve been triggered. Your shadow doesn’t withdraw itself. It’s always on the front foot.
If you’ve ever been in an altercation with someone and come off worse, you’ll have had thoughts about what you’ll do or say to that person next time you see them. But when you do meet again, everything is fine. You act as if nothing has happened.
That’s because all those vengeful thoughts weren’t coming from you. It was the shadow speaking. It’s the vengeful, spiteful part of you that only knows how to express itself through negative emotion. Your shadow represents all the pain you’re trying to keep locked away.
What you need to remember is your shadow is in need of just as much – if not more – love as your inner child. Just because it manifests as aggressive tendencies, doesn’t make it any less wounded than the more vulnerable parts of yourself.
So when you’ve been triggered, rather than scolding that part of yourself, be mindful. Catch yourself in the moment and respond with words that are understanding. Don’t try and evict the shadow. It will only come back stronger and more aggressive than before.
Your Higher Self
This aspect of your consciousness isn’t an area that needs your attention. But it is a part of you that can help facilitate your healing by tapping into its wisdom. The Higher Self is your soul consciousness. It’s the part of you that’s always connected to source.
And by connecting with your Higher Self, you can bring a whole new point of view to your challenges. When you view your traumas from the perspective of the Higher Self, the emotional charge that is present within your conscious mind fades away in an instant.
You’re no longer consumed by your sense of ego-self or the negativity that accompanies it. Because this part of your consciousness transcends the physical world. You can see your traumatic situations from the point of view of the other person involved. You can see why they acted the way they did.
Working with your Higher Self is by far one of the most effective ways of doing inner work. Because it cuts straight to the heart of the issue. Journaling, art therapy and other complementary therapies are all useful aids. But working with yourself on the deeper level is where you’ll see the big shifts in your personality.
I’ve created a complete guide for connecting with your Higher Self, which I’ve left the link for below. But like all spiritual techniques, it takes consistency to get the rewards. It’s a simple meditation. But you need to stick at the exercise to master it properly.
If you do, it ‘ll be a valuable tool going forward on your spiritual journey.
Learn how to connect with your Higher Self.
Why Inner Work is the Foundation of Any True Spiritual Practise
The truth is that without looking at your flaws in an objective but constructive way, your sense of spirituality is always going to be lacking. It doesn’t mean what you’re doing is wrong.
It’s simply that you’re not doing all you can for yourself.
Doing inner work in whatever guise it takes isn’t just about you and your goals. Of course, it is one level. But the more you release yourself from old traumas and attain new insights, the more empathy you can show towards others.
The work you do on yourself is equally as valuable for those around you as it is yourself.
And that’s why it’s such a foundational aspect of spirituality. In many ways, it defines the concept. If nothing else, the act of being spiritual is based on the idea of coming into harmony with those around you.
When you’re capable of loving yourself so much you emanate that feeling with every word spoken and every action taken, that is spirituality.
You cultivate your own internal feeling of oneness, not so you can reside in an ivory tower of spiritual isolation, but so you go out into the world and share yourself with others.
As an awakened being on a spiritual journey, that is your responsibility.
That is your contribution to the world.
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