Nature vs. nurture? The fundamental question. Are we a product of our environment? Or is the person we become predetermined by our genetic coding? Most research points to a combination of both. And not a little bit of one here and a little bit of the other there, but rather they are inextricably connected to each other. It’s not surprising that we are affected by the physical and emotional energies that surround us as children, but current research suggests that some aspects of our personality are actually embedded in our DNA, the very building blocks that make us who we are. You may have a vision for the way you would like your life to be. Yet at times, you find yourself thinking and behaving in ways that are completely contradictory to that vision. That’s because your actions are being informed by emotional patterns that were passed on to you from your parents. Patterns you aren’t even consciously aware that you have. But before you decide to pick up the phone and give mom and dad some what for, understand that they simply passed down the patterns that they inherited from their own parents. On it goes, down the line, like a Russian nesting doll. And until you become aware of the patterns you carry, you’ll likely pass them on to your own children.
As a kid I was always looking for approval from my mother. But no matter what I managed to accomplish, the praise was never there. As I got older I started looking for it from others. I began to study martial arts under a descendant of a long lineage of traditional masters. I worked five to six hours a day, seven days a week, and slowly but surely, I began to excel. I started to win regional and national tournaments until eventually it was time to start competing at the international level. I doubled down on my training, working harder than I ever had before, and when I won my first international title, I turned to my instructor, ready to receive his praise and admiration. It meant more to be than any trophy. But rather than showering me with his approval, he simply said, “It’s easy to get to the top. It’s hard to stay on the top.” Then he turned and walked away. It wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for, but of course it only drove me to compete even harder. It’s fairly easy to see that I was seeking the validation that I never received from my mother. It would also be easy to pin her with the label of “bad mother” for not showering me with praise and affection. But the truth is, my mother never received the programming necessary for becoming an affectionate person. She was one of nine children raised by parents whose time and energy were consumed by simply trying to make ends meet. No matter what I did to try and earn my mother’s approval, she was incapable of giving it because she had never received it herself. Put it this way, you can spend your life trying to squeeze water from a towel, but if the towel has never been soaked in water, you’ll never get a drop out of it. That doesn’t make it a bad towel because it’s not giving you what you want. It’s just being a dry towel. That’s all it knows how to be.
It’s easy to get caught in the belief that the external world creates, or is responsible for, our experience of life. We think that happiness and fulfillment will come if only we surround ourselves with all the right people and all the right things in all the right places. When happiness and fulfillment don’t show up, we assume there must be something wrong with the people, things, and places. So we chuck them to the side and look for new ones, sure that this time everything will fall into place. The truth is that it’s not what’s on the outside that shapes our experience, but rather it’s the makeup of our Inner Matrix and our level of awareness that defines our relationship with the external world. Your Inner Matrix is composed of four components: the mental, the emotional, the physical, and the intuitive, which you might think of as the “higher self”. When we access the higher self we are able to embody pure states of the energy of peace and love. In order to access the higher self, the mental, emotional, and physical components must first be in alignment. Most people don’t know how to access, or are even aware of any aspect of their Inner Matrix. So where does our Inner Matrix come from in the first place?
Let’s start by dipping our toes into the science of genetics. At the moment of conception, you received genetic and epigenetic coding from your parents. The nucleus of every cell in your body contains the same genetic coding in the form of DNA, or genome. You can think of your genome as the instruction booklet that tells your cells how to perform certain functions, like how to become a heart cell, or a muscle cell, or a bone cell. The epigenome is a bundle of chemicals that acts like a switch, turning certain genes “on” or “off”. Simply put, the epigenome tells the genome what to do, where to do it, and when to do it, then the genome tells the cell how to do it. Your epigenome can be affected by lifestyle and environmental factors such as smoking, diet, and infectious disease. It can also be affected by emotional factors such as stress or trauma. What’s important to understand for our purposes is that, like genetic coding, epigenetic coding can be passed down from one generation to the next. In other words, stress and trauma that was experienced by your parents resulted in genetic changes, like say, heart disease, that were passed on to you. It doesn’t mean you will develop heart disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the likelihood that the heart disease switch will get “turned on”. The point is, you did not come into this world as a blank slate—a certain amount of coding was passed to you in the womb, including emotional programming.
While in utero, your mother’s environment affected your epigenetic coding. Her world was your world. All of her thoughts, beliefs and ideas, all of her physical and emotional experiences were imprinted on your developing physical and emotional body. These energetic patterns formed the foundations for how your mind, body and emotions function throughout your life. Likewise, if we don’t receive certain emotional patterning, we spend our lives trying to fill that void from the outside, in the way that I looked to my martial arts master to provide me with the approval I didn’t receive from my mother. But the process of patterning doesn’t stop once you’re out in the world. Throughout early childhood your brain acts like a sponge, soaking up all the emotional and physical energy surrounding you. Your Inner Matrix was overwhelmed with information and, as a child, you were incapable of keeping only the positive imprints and tossing out the negative. All of it stuck.
But the good news is, you’re not a kid anymore! You can learn to explore your Inner Matrix, to identify and discard patterns that don’t align with your vision of life, and create new ones that will. I have a client, Elizabeth, who is a highly accomplished attorney. She’s never met a challenge she couldn’t turn into triumph. But don’t try to tell her what a good job she’s doing. Compliments made her uncomfortable. Offer up a criticism on the other hand, and she’ll spend days, even weeks, picking herself apart. Elizabeth has a daughter who, maybe not surprisingly, is highly accomplished in her own right. But guess what? The daughter is uncomfortable with praise and takes even the slightest of criticism as a personal attack. By now you may be able to see that Elizabeth’s daughter is incapable of being inside the experience of self-pride or worthiness because Elizabeth didn’t have those emotional patterns to pass on. This doesn’t make Elizabeth a bad parent. It simply means she never received those patterns from her own mother. We could probably continue to trace this pattern of non-pattern through a lineage of multiple generations. After implementing the strategies and techniques of Inner Matrix Systems, both Elizabeth and her daughter were able to identify their patterns of unworthiness and learn how to untangle from them. They were able to shift their thoughts and emotions around both success and failure, and move to a space of self-acceptance and create a new experience for themselves.
If you’re ready to start exploring your own Inner Matrix, there’s no better time to start than right now. And guess what? I wrote a whole book about it! Visit theinnermatrix.com where you’ll find a special offer on my book as well as a complimentary 3-session mini-course with one of our certified IM Trainers.