Partnership: The Ego and the Heart Center
So, you’ve answered the call and done what you were told to do: took classes, engaged in counseling, improved study habits, learned how to fix yourself, worked hard, improved communication, and tried to have mature relationships. In general, you learned lots of things, interesting things. But, you say, things only changed or appeared to change, for a little while, and then the old ways and thoughts returned.
It makes sense you’d be discouraged when nothing you did created lasting changes and things didn’t happen the way you thought they should or would. Nothing works. Same old, same old. You’re back at ground zero,
You wonder what ‘this call’ thing is all about. You’ve heard such terms as self knowledge, awakening, spiritual awareness, union with God, enlightenment, being saved. But nothing works. It must be for other people. There’s no way you could ever be perfect enough to be good enough to measure up.
Our dilemma: We–the Ego–can never be good enough.
In this journey, the first thing we each have to deal with is ourselves.
And, it’s ourselves that has always caused the problems: our parents got angry because of us, people didn’t like us because of us, we had to go to detention hall after school, to confession, and say our prayers for forgiveness, and promise never to do ‘it’ again… because of ‘us’, because of who we thought we were.
No matter how much you’re punished, criticized, or instructed, or how hard you try, you’re still the same old you. Never enough. You can’t get ‘there’ from here. ‘Yourself’ is the one thing you can’t overcome. And yet, here you are. Still having to deal with ‘yourself’….stuck with your self. Seems like a trap.
Self knowledge is an interesting process because in learning to understand ourselves, we’re working through the ego state of consciousness which is fearful, inadequate, and defensive, and isn’t too excited about going deeper because it could only get worse. So we’re trying to understand ourselves by using the eyes of the ego, the very vehicle of consciousness we’re trying to understand! And the lenses are very dirty. But we don’t know it. and even if we did know it, we wouldn’t know a remedy.
A New Way
As far as I can tell, all the spiritual traditions are focused in some way on ‘rising above’/saving/killing/taming/educating or someway ‘forcing’ our little self/ ego/ surface mind that is never ‘enough’ to somehow ‘be enough’. It’s like Cinderella’s sisters trying to put their large feet into Cinderella’s slipper. Impossible, you say. We’re grateful that ‘someone has died for our sins’ so we can be relieved of these horrible things we can’t get rid of. Even then, we may wonder if that really makes a difference. We’re still sinful. Not good enough.
So, what do we do with this self?… the little,every-day self, the ego, that we think of as ourselves. Somehow, we’ve just got to make ourselves good enough.
Some people say to ‘kill the ego’, but you don’t know how to do that without killing yourself. What to do?
The ego’s fears and needs for safety, looking good, and being good enough make it difficult to explore our deeper aspects because these self-critical eyes find more and more evidence supporting the notion that we’re not enough. These eyes are always looking for what’s wrong so we can hopefully fix it, but never can. We see no hope.
Actually, the situation is even more complicated. Remember, the ego is us. And for most of our lives we believe that that is all there is. So for now, let’s just go with this this: We are the ego and what we want most in our lives is to be loved. And our greatest fear is that we aren’t good enough to be loved, and even if we are loved, we’re positive we’ll do something that will show we aren’t good enough, and we’ll loose what we have. And then, where would we be?
So, it’s clear we can’t do deeper work through the ego state of consciousness because it’s too threatened.There are two pieces to this dilemna. First of all, we must learn about the psychological principle called projection. Understanding projection enables us to see that what we think other people are thinking is not what they are thinking, it’s what we’re thinking that we’re unconscious of. And we project it on to them, believing it comes from them. The ‘rule is’ that the material that we’re unconscious of, especially material that is highly charged ( ie., we have strong opinions about, including self critical judgments about ourselves) is hidden away in the Unconscious. We can consciously and unconsciously hide things about ourselves in The Unconscious. When it’s hidden in the Unconscious, we’re unconscious that it’s there and we’re unconscious that we’re unconscious.! What a state to be in!
It’s these things that we aren’t aware of about ourselves that always cause us the problem. Until we can see into ourselves, down into these levels, we can never know ourselves, and never be at peace.
The primary way we can get in touch with it is by noticing what annoys us about others, what we judge in others. We follow our pointing finger that’s directed to ‘these lesser beings’ that we’re criticizing, and then know that the pointing finger points back! The source of the this bit of information is typically too much for the ego to bear. If the information is true, its worse fears would have then come true. It truly is not good enough!
So, if we are to own this unconscious material, we have to find a way to do it without
destroying the ego. We have to find a way to uncover and own this disowned material if we are ever going to do deep work. We have to be able to shift states of consciousness and see ourselves through new eyes.
And just how are we to do this, you ask?
This is where The Heart Center comes in.
The Heart Center
The next step is to develop, or access, a new vehicle, a new state of consciousness that’s able to explore and be comfortable with all our inner depths. This vehicle of consciousness comes from the Heart Center, whose primary attribute is Unconditional Love.
Developing/attuning to/ this state of consciousness is a critical step in this work. It involves a shifting from ego state of consciousness to one which rests in the experience of the oneness of all creation and our inherent birth out of the Mystery which is the core from which everything arises. We can easily see our spiritual nature and our human nature and hold them both in reverence.
When we look at ourselves through the eyes of Unconditional Love and Compassion, we can see the difficulties we’ve had because of our fierce need to feel loved and safe. We see what we’ve gone through and where our confusions and dilemmas have come from when we could never get this. You begin to see that it’s possible to truly accept yourself, in fact all of your selves and totally love yourself Unconditionally. Read more: The Heart Center, the Multi Dimensionality of the Psyche.
Engaging Our Development
Once we begin to find new eyes to see with and experience the Heart Center and this state of Unconditional Love, we can build a strong inner foundation which supports our exploration of our inner world of the Unconscious. We learn to develop a non-judgmental observer and a witness state of consciousness to take the place of the inner critic. With these life enhancing skills, you and your ego begin to see a way through the jungle of inner confusion and hopelessness.
From this vantage point, you can explore your childhood, your woundings, beliefs, and patterns, the Unconscious, your Multi-Dimensional nature, the stories you’ve made up about your life, your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, as well as your talents and gifts which long to be expressed. From the place of Unconditional Love, you’ll see things differently, learn to love, respect, empower, be patient with, and sit with all parts of yourself. You’ll see how certain forces have been set in motion in your life, and even though there have been difficult traverses, you’ll see how everything fits together. These difficult traverses have actually been essential for various stages of your development. The puzzle of your life begins to fall into place.
You’ll see how your whole life supports you and yearns to be understood. Now you can engage your personal and spiritual development from a totally new place.
You’ll see that you’re the main player in your drama, and that when the main player gets conscious, everything changes.
You’ll learn what it is to love yourself unconditionally, and then to love all others. Now you can more consciously engage the soul’s journey from a place of appreciation of yourself and all that is you. You begin to know and live the mystery of incarnation.
As we examine how various spiritual traditions express this journey, you’ll begin to know, or know more deeply, in a way that’s right for you, your connection to this Divine Mystery of which you’re a manifestation. Then somewhere along the way the mystery of your relationship to Source opens in ways that amaze you. You find yourself being drawn to your own Soul’s spiritual path, or paths.
Then one day, perhaps much to your surprise, you find that a major change has occurred.
The ego has subordinated itself to The Self, what Carl Jung called the inner organizing principle of each person. Or you might call it the Soul, Spirit, Essence, Divine Center. The ego finds there is something within the Being-ness of which it is a part, that it can trust and surrender to. This is the Partnership: the ego no longer has to find its way through the jungle alone without a light. There is a deeper guiding principle that’s been there all along, but that it takes the journey to find. The ego begins to find out that it has constructed itself out of its fears that it wasn’t good enough or lovable. It begins to find that it doesn’t exist in the way that it thought it did.
Who am I then? Who am I if I’m not who I thought I was? I am a figment of my imagination, you might say. But, and this is the problem, I am believing that what I thought I was was who I was. Then who am I?
This can be a difficult time. It involves a loss…a loss of your carefully constructed self. This loss sets in motion what’s often called a Descent. Everything is falling apart. Everything seems dark. Truly no hope. Your worst fears have come true. Hopeless. Helpless. Totally confused and bewildered: ‘Is this what this is all about? I seem to be loosing everything. The Descent.
There is no transformation without the Descent. The letting go of what the ego held to be truth. And for awhile you are left exposed, naked. Without hope, it seems. What now?
Its a letting go. A surrender of what the ego has held on to, carefully built up. It is the beginning of the renovation of consciousness. Things are in process.
Continue letting go, Allowing. You notice you’re always deepening, realizing more fully ‘I am the Journey’. You experience that your soul’s path indeed seeks and finds you. You are caught up in the full energy of Unconditional Love. It’s real. A recognition of ‘For This I’ve Come.’
The journey takes not less than a life time.
You deeply remember you’ve always been enough.
Read more about this journey on these pages:
The Heart Center
The Multi Dimensionality of the Psyche
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