Self-awareness: Where do I fit between my ego and my hero(ine)?
A. We can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others, just by paying attention to our thoughts and feelings. This is the essence of self-awareness.
The ego is the cluster of thought patterns that we use to create and sustain a self-image, the public face that we present to the world.
The belief in an “I” that I define according to my history and heritage; That I am separate from everyone else; That I live in a world over which I have limited control; That I was born and that I will die; That I am principally responsible for looking out for myself, because “People are only out for themselves.”
They are like poorly trained pets, or badly behaved children; We, the owners of our personal egos, are mostly blind to them ; The ego is intensely judgmental, biased, and it yearns for total control, mostly achieved through manipulation.
“This is why it is a tunnel. What we see and hear, or what we feel and smell and taste, is only a small fraction of what actually exists out there. Our conscious model of reality is a low-dimensional projection of the inconceivably richer physical reality surrounding and sustaining us. Our sensory organs are limited: they evolved for reasons of survival, not for depicting the enormous wealth and richness of reality in all its unfathomable depth. Therefore, the on-going process of conscious experience is not so much an image of reality as a tunnel through reality.” The Ego Tunnel Thomas Metzinger, 2009, p.6
Our sensory organs give us only a minute amount of information about what is out there, and even that is highly processed before it reaches the conscious mind. Our experience of reality is way more heavily influenced by our expectations than by incoming information. In other words, we see what we expect to see.
Scientists estimate that 90 to 99 percent of the total mass of the universe is missing matter (4). Actually, "missing matter" may be misleading-- it's really the light that is missing (5). Scientists can tell that the dark matter is there, but they cannot see it. Bruce H. Margon, chairman of the astronomy department at the University of Washington, told the New York Times, "It's a fairly embarrassing situation to admit that we can't find 90 percent of the universe" (6). This problem has scientists scrambling to try and find where and what this dark matter is. "What it is, is any body's guess," adds Dr. Margon. "Mother Nature is having a double laugh. She's hidden most of the matter in the universe, and hidden it in a form that can't be seen" (5). 1995 Chris Miller Cosmic Hide and Seek: the Search for the Missing Mass http://www.eclipse.net/~cmmiller/DM/
Terrorism The killing of innocent civilians to make a political point
Hiroshima & Nagasaki Estimates of civilian dead in the immediate aftermath: 150,000 – 246,000
“First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.” http://www.mrdowling.com/706-hiroshima.html
Truman said he did not agonize over using the bomb. He wanted to make Japan surrender without a ground invasion. “The atom bomb was no ‘great decision,’” Truman later said. “That was not any decision you had to worry about.” http://www.mrdowling.com/706-hiroshima.html
I want what I want, I want it my way, and I want it NOW. Stand in my way and I will destroy you.
The energy that closes you off from loving the totality of who your relationship partner is, warts and all, and lovingly accepting him or her, is the same energy that closes you off from accepting yourself, so the accepting of your own dark side must occur within before it can occur without.
THE POWER OF YES from Radical Acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach, 2003, p.87.
Another kind of psychological boundary is one which determines where one person ends and the other begins. It says: “This is my domain, and that is yours.” We have blurred boundaries when we: Speak for the other instead of letting him or her speak for herself; Mind read the other, or expect the other to read our minds; or Try to manipulate or control the other.
A co-dependent relationship is a relationship with this kind of boundary problem. In these relationships it is hard to tell where one person ends and the other begins.
Clear examples are around situations that affect: my personal space, my body, my right to take care of myself and meet my needs, my right to take on only the responsibilities that I agree to take on, my right to be treated with respect.
You are responsible for meeting your own needs and protecting your own rights, and you must set boundaries in order to do so. But remember, it is your job to set boundaries, not theirs. The other does not know your limits, and cannot intuit or read your mind.
It’s one of the ego’s favorite tricks. Projection is the ego’s attempt to vomit on others, not on oneself.
It is much better to refuse to do, give or sacrifice honestly, while still allowing yourself to love. You just honestly own your decision, taking responsibility for it and the consequences that follow from it.
Problems occur when you: blame or judge the other for not agreeing with your decision, or not mindreading or intuiting your limits, or forcing you to set limits in the first place.
a. State the problem in a clear, non-blaming and non- judgmental manner, and propose a solution that would be acceptable to you. b. Consider any honest constraints that your partner may face in agreeing to your proposed solution. Make sure you have fully and sincerely understood your partner. c. Come to a mutually acceptable agreement. Make sure this is stated clearly, and state what will happen if this agreement is not abided by. d. Stick to your agreement.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer Take me to the Truth, Nouk Sanchez &Tomas Viera, 2007, p.33
The ego has only one goal, to which it is entirely devoted, to maintain autonomy from the Higher Self. Our purpose is to remember that our true goal is to merge our personal will with the will of the Higher Self.
The point of developing self-awareness is to preserve our loving relationships and foster our ability to be compassionate. To this end, we must track the ego’s functions so we can become aware of its hypocrisy.
It is a master of deception. We should get help from others to increase self-awareness. Relationships offer us this opportunity. We can make this a journey together. In a relationship, we can walk together as two people joined, or as two separately.
Maybe we exist to wander through this world, just to lead each other home from somewhere east of Eden. East of Eden, Michael McDonald
First, we must become aware of our egos and how they control our lives and literally create our reality, causing us to get kicked out of paradise. Second, we must become aware of our Hero within, and the extreme importance of connecting and relying upon its view of the world and not the ego’s view of the world. In this way, we can return to paradise. Third, we need to use the 4 tools of the conscious mind to kick the ego out of the driver’s seat, and put the observer self in its place.
“This is why it is a tunnel. What we see and hear, or what we feel and smell and taste, is only a small fraction of what actually exists out there.”
“Our conscious model of reality is a low-dimensional projection of the inconceivably richer physical reality surrounding and sustaining us.”
“Our sensory organs are limited: they evolved for reasons of survival, not for depicting the enormous wealth and richness of reality in all its unfathomable depth. Therefore, the on-going process of conscious experience is not so much an image of reality as a tunnel through reality.”
Cultivate the observer self, and distance from the ego.
The alternative to victimhood is Oneness, unity, tolerance of whatever is. Separation is dissatisfaction with the present, a constant struggle with contraction, separation and projection when we fear we will not get what we want in the future.
The mature concept of happiness is the view that happiness is not dependent on outer circumstances, because when we don’t get what we want, when life isn’t the way we think it should be, it is just an opportunity to learn something from the situation and from the Hero within. That learning will bring us closer to achieving a peaceful, compassionate state of mind.
If we can foster tolerance within ourselves for the ego’s frailties, both our own egos and those of others, we will be far more able to live in truth and not within the misguided limits of the ego tunnel. If we expect our egos to behave as they do, if we accept that we will fail sometimes because we are hoodwinked by our sneaky little egos, we will also accept the shortcomings of others, and treat them and ourselves with tolerance and compassion, because we are all one, we are all in the same boat. This is the wisdom of the Hero within.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural speech