This is (kinda, mostly) one for the ex-Catholics.
I was introduced to the concept of original sin at the tender age of eight.
Without getting into all the heavy duty argy bargy about it, the basic gist is this:
We all have a wrongness at our very core, ostensibly stemming from Adam’s fall from grace (eating the apple – ie, acquiring knowledge of right from wrong).
Now, as an eight year old, that’s a pretty deep concept, so the way it gets translated is as follows.
Once a week, we all got shepherded off to confession (the priest hears our “sins” and allocates us a certain number of prayers to say as penance/punishment).
While waiting for confession, we all wracked our brains as hard as we could to think of any “sins” we might have committed that week.
We had to have something to say, after all. We couldn’t simply go into the dark and say “Well actually Father, I’m terribly sorry, but I’m just a normal eight year old. I’ve done nothing much since last week.”
Of course, we’re eight (and not bad kids), what the hell could we possibly have done anyway? So, you start thinking of every little thought, deed or inaction that might be cause for blame.
In other words, once our delightful teachers inform us that we’re flawed (and there’s nothing we can do about it), IT BECOMES OUR JOB TO PROVE THIS IS TRUE.
Starting self-flagellation early? Nice one.
Of course, this one “fact” leads to all sorts of nasty beliefs and habits.
- Perfectionism (every tiny fault is a sign that we are indeed flawed)
- Beating ourselves up (about those flaws)
- Self criticism (to a ridiculous degree)
- Expectation of punishment (for this inescapable sin)
- Wanting ourselves to suffer (as penance for our sins)
… and so on.
In short? It’s fucked.
Obviously, this isn’t the only way to pick up the above habits. We all do them, to some degree or other.
Now, in some doctrines the theory is that when Jesus died, he fixed this all up. Voila, sin healed! Go and play, (previously) happy little kids.
But, of course, somehow this all gets lost in translation. All we remember is that we’re evil little buggers, and it’s our job to figure out just how, so the priest can “forgive” us (and I use that term very loosely in this scenario).
So. Ok. This concept leaves us with a lot of crap to clear up.
How do we do that clearing?
Well, here’s what worked for me.
First of all, many of these beliefs (eg perfectionism) can be reinforced later in life.
For me, all the way through school I got stupidly high grades (in the 80’s and 90’s). In my final year of school, the teachers wanted to scare us into working harder for finals. So, they graded us super intensely. I came home for the first time ever with a grade in the 60’s (English. Turns out I’m crap at writing. Who knew? Thanks Teach!)
My parents eviscerated me. 45 minutes of concentrated scolding from both of them and I realised – this was the first time I’d had that much attention since I was a baby. This is one downside of being in a large family, of course. It wasn’t that they didn’t love me, just that they they didn’t have time to express it very often.
At the time, how did I interpret the above bollocking? Well, I had to be perfect (or near perfect) or I would suffer. Badly.
So, my perfectionist belief got strengthened.
Needless to say, all of the above beliefs can be reinforced in this way. Strong traits often don’t come from a single isolated life event.
So, each of these needs to be gently pulled apart. Event by event. Emotion by emotion.
EFT, of course, is very good for this – there’s no particular need for anything more complicated to clear all this junk out.
Most of these habits (perfectionism, beating myself up, criticising myself etc) I’d already worked on at length.
This morning however, I realised that way deep down, I also wanted to suffer.
What the hell?!?
Ok, now logically, obviously, hell no I don’t.
However, the trick is – look at your life. Just describe it. Dispassionately, without blame, judgement or attachment to outcome.
What you see around you, you’re creating.
So, if I could see suffering in my life, well, at some subconscious (obviously not an intentional, conscious) level I wanted to create it.
For example, if I looked really closely I could see a pattern in my drinking, if I was feeling particularly shitty about my life. Once I passed a certain level of drunkenness? I’d want to go hard out. Really hammer it.
I disconnected from the fundamental truth of loving, respecting and caring for myself and tapped into something uglier.
This sense that I was somehow, deep down, flawed, and thus should be punished. If I looked really closely, I could see that I was drinking to avoid this pain.
This, needless to say, gets dark pretty quickly.
Good news is? You can just tap it out. TALK OUT LOUD (This makes a HUGE difference) and it all clears out. Super fast.
- Be specific (one event/emotion at a time until it’s clear)
- Be persistent (keep going until done)
- Drink lots of water
- If you feel energy sticking or emotion welling up when tapping a single point, keep tapping that point until it fades.
- If any random life event pops in your head, talk about that
- Don’t worry about what to say, just talk around the subject
- Focus on the specific emotions associated with any given event
- Start with the negative, eg “I deserve to suffer, I want to suffer”, but always end with the positive, eg “I deserve to be happy”
- Go easy on yourself
To begin with just start on the basic subject. Eg “I have to be perfect because…”
As long as you’re relaxed, pretty soon something will pop in your head. Even if it’s just “Wahhh, I’m fucking this all up, I’m useless, I can’t even do THIS properly” Ha ha. Awesom! Go with that!
It’s worth taking it a little bit at a time, because, well, people can be complicated. There’s often subtle aspects that might get missed if we rush through.
Ultimately, once you’ve dealt with the side effects listed above, you’ll want to get back to the core of it all – this original sin bullshit. Coz here’s the take home point:
THERE’S NOTHING FUCKING WRONG WITH YOU (except maybe, going to the wrong school as a kid and that whole crying during Rambo II thing).
To get to that, I started with something like “I’m broken deep down. There’s dark sin, right at the core of me. Somehow, I’m wrong, and I deserve to be punished for it…” and so on. Being a little melodramatic is good. You’re trying to tap into something a little below the level of consciousness, so some overacting will often help you connect into that deeper belief.
Generally, deep inside ourselves, we often really are that intensely over-the-top about things “OH, I SUCK. MY LIFE SUCKS. EVERYTHING SUCKS!” Obviously it doesn’t. Our conscious, slightly more rational mind knows it’s not true. But we’re talking about almost lizard brain level automatic thought patterns here. You’ve got to expect things to be a little nutty.
So, particularly while you’re fishing around trying to find a resonance with yourself, a core event that things stem from, or how things are phrased best for you, ham it up a little. Make it end-of-the-world dramatic. Don’t worry about sounding silly.
If you said “I’m a purple cabbage” (an obvious lie), well, that wouldn’t bother you in the slightest, right? So, you also have nothing to fear about saying other ridiculously exaggerated statements about yourself. If they connect, the energy/feeling will come up and you’ll heal it. If they don’t, they’ll affect you about as much as being called a purple cabbage.
The bottom line is this. Really? The whole original sin thing? Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s complete bullshit. However, there’s no reason in hell it should be screwing up your life, OR making you feel like crap every second of every day. Even just in a tiny little way, in the background.
Nobody deserves to have this kind of pain and mess swilling around inside themselves, I don’t care what any church teaches.
On a side note, the funniest thing about all this? Apparently aliens might not have original sin at all. Thanks declarative priest dudes, good to know!