FROM THE EGO TO THE SELF: THE HUMAN PSYCHOSPIRITUAL  EVOLUTION

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

My hands and feet are cold, and I am anxious to meet the wave that I know is there.

Somewhere within me is the urge to write and to bring order to my thoughts and feelings – in what I consider my inner world, my most precious part of my Self is at work. This Inner Force that has driven my life is a quality of my Self, of that part of me – eternal, immortal, ever present from life to life – that I can no longer deny. I remember when I was in my twenties, the feeling that overcame me as I stood atop the Delphi ruins in Greece. It was a hot summer and all my physical being was happily sweating as I climbed the golden road of the Athenians.

At the top, I found myself before a pile of stones.  But “within” I saw the vision of the Temple where the words “KNOW THY SELF” were carved. All my Being responded to this Moral principle, this everlasting value; and something resonated from a previous Life of which I was then not aware, just as now it is present in my conscious awareness as an IMPERATIVE.

From time to time, from life to life, my Self shines with flashes, and I am left awed and shaken. Now, after long years of inner work, my I-ego at times recognizes the moment, at other times, I still doubt that this Essence is part of Me. It is still frightening!

The feet are warmer, the hands are semi-cold and the internal felt-sense is more at ease: I am tracking my inner world while the sense of fragmentation that was present before is less prominent. Resistance to the expression of my Being and acceptance- revelation of my Self has been obliterated, like the fog is swept away by the Wind. My Self is a Wind that clears the Space and lets the Inner Diamond shine through. My Self is the Diamond that releases the Wind, my Self is an ever-changing Presence that longs to permeate all things.

Yet this process is far from simple! At this moment of our evolution as Human Beings, we are lucky if we recognize the inner call and can pursue it.

In several of my previous Lives I have been involved in this inner quest, so that by now the I-ego has only to rely on this part of my Self that propels the time that I pass in this Plane of Existence and to surrender to my deep inner task.

I still do not distinguish clearly the different aspects of my work in this lifetime, and the struggle feels oppressive, depressive. I have reached a point where I do pass my time working only at the things that interest me, but the I-ego misses the whole picture. I yearn to know where I am heading…..  Obviously so that I-ego may control my journey…….

To really let go and dwell in the moment, enjoying the sheer pleasure of writing what is within me without jumping into the future, without making plans for actions I would like to take – this is the struggle in which I am engaged. To watch the struggle and accept it as part of my Total Being is the Task of the moment! 

FRAGMENTS COMING TOGETHER

It is an early Sunday morning: what a beautiful way to manifest the Self!

I wake up and go back to bed: in this half-wake state, the Self begins to flood the ego with ideas, providing the main design of this creation. The visceral felt-sense of fragments coming together is one of the thrills connected with a Yes to Life, to Pleasure; to fully embrace these separate thoughts of my Self, and give them order! To me, in this moment, nothing is more satisfying and fulfilling to my Soul: these fragments coming together in a unifying way create more of my Self!  I feel that human evolution at this level brings a coherent inner “molecular” order that fulfills my Life Task!

I have always been interested in the inner process of “coherency” – how matter reorganizes itself continuously in a higher order of function or cohesiveness. This is what I see taking place in me.

From my Higher Self or intuitive Mind I receive a word or a phrase and then my cataloguer ego starts to organize a thought-process around it. Energetically, I draw conscious energy around this word and then, reaching sufficient intensity, I go from this place along a connection that tends to reach another group of cell-thoughts. So the linking connection is made, and I achieve a breakthrough or new insight!

As I write these ideas, so new to my ego, feelings of mistrust and suspiciousness arise immediately. These feelings tend to stop my natural flow of insight, and I am left in no-man’s-land. This is what I consciously strive to overcome in this moment.

(This is what came through that Sunday morning)

MY PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOLOGY DURING THE LAST CENTURY

As I read about the progress made in this field by the efforts and work of so many  – from Freud to Jung, to Reich, to Rogers, to Winnicott, to Kohut and many others –  I see how, slowly but steadily, there has been an overall change in what we think about the human “psyche”, its formation and operation as a personality type, and as a being with an ego and a self.

What most strikes me is the evolution that concerns the way we see this inner world and what we think about it.

Freud, as an MD, began to investigate the subject, and became convinced that mental disease could be treated by  ‘a talking cure’. (Rediscovery of the old Aesculapius - Greek God of Medicine, who would heal by words – herbs – knife)

The discipline was born with certain concepts: there is the patient (one who suffers) and there is the doctor (one who heals).  The doctor holds all power; the patient is passive and dependent.

I make these statements mostly for myself: I must remember the early years of my career as a doctor-practitioner, and the inner evolution of my own self-image as a person working in the field of healing – because my intention is not to hold on anymore to traditional thought-forms and never fall back in them.

I notice that when I perceive this inner attitude in other doctors, I must re-center myself in these new beliefs and values.  This requires some effort and continuous self-monitoring.

Here I found another strong quality in my Self: the ability to live in a society that is far less aware without me falling back into its old patterns of behavior when I propose new concepts. The ability to relate to human beings as clients, and not as patients, is my main goal now.

From Freud onward, we began to nurture the belief that mental disease had a psychological basis, and therapeutic intervention required something other than medication.

To date, the debate continues as to whether we cure mental illness solely by chemical intervention or by talking directly to the afflicted individual.

Another belief derived from direct experience of personal investigation into the inner world

 is that in everyone internal conflicts are seen and  are present as forces; and that mental disease is the result of an imbalance amongst these dynamic forces. It was here, within the clinical psychology field, that the psychodynamic concept was born.

While the effort to understand the origin of mental disease and apply that understanding to a fixed model is on-going, it co-exists with a very pragmatic approach which attempts to learn from direct experience of the client-patient’s inner world. 

In conjunction with the psychopathological model adopted, a different therapeutic approach – an attempt to directly relate to different parts of the “psyche” – has developed:

·        The psychoanalytic treatment is directed towards a rational approach to each personality and its problems.

·        The behavioral treatment has referred specifically to the re-living of the symptoms disturbing the individual, the goal being the transformation of unhealthy behavior into healthy behavior.

·        The cognitive model now believes that mental disease is based upon erroneous convictions, and that in therapy we may confront these and attempt to change them.

·        The relational model – Virginia Satir – has put more emphasis upon the family and its role in disease development.

·        The humanistic-existential model – Rogers, Perls, Maslow -- has presented the person as the protagonist of his or her own destiny, both in good or bad circumstances. This model differs considerably from the medical one, which continues to view the patient as a passive subject in relation to his or her disease.

Furthermore great emphasis has been put upon the relationship existing between therapist and client: the need for an emphatic understanding, the need for a more real presence from the therapist, are the fundamental premises for healing to occur.

Lately the Self Psychology – H. Kohut – has tried to provide a comprehensive theory of psychopathology and account for what happens in adulthood based upon childhood traumas.

The repeated and empathic parental failure to respond to the child’s needs lies at the root of almost all psychopathology.

It is mostly upon this theoretical framework that I presently try to understand myself, to redefine – to re-script – my story and come to terms with my own traumas.

The evolution from Freud to our day is quite evident especially in the way we as therapists view the patient-client relation.

What has been most surprising to me is the fact that this entire psychological field, well studied by so many researchers, fits beautifully into the Meta-Psychological field that has been developed by B.Brennan.

HUMAN META-PSYCHOLOGY

Freud, at the very end of his exploration of the human psyche, became interested in energy- phenomena, and gave to this particular aspect of the human dimension the name metapsychology.  I use this term applying its special definition in the field of psychology, and not as it is presented in a dictionary of common usage. (Psychology being restricted to philosophical speculations on the origin, structure, function and purpose of the mind.) Nonetheless, note how correlated the two definitions are.

In metapsychological field we introduce the Subtle Aspects of the human being, the different energetic configurations that constitute our selves, and we take these into consideration as causal factors of the human psyche and physical body. (I will refer to these aspects in accordance with the Barbara Brennan  4 Dimensions Theory)

From my perspective, metapsychological assessment includes the evaluation of  4 parameters:

1.      The Self                         3.   The Field

2.      The Ego                         4.   The Defenses  

All these parameters represent the  “Human Being”. I am attempting to dissociate from the term “Personality” as used in a restrictive context in psychology, where it excludes concepts like Essence or Field. Personality could be defined as a psycho-social construction that it is formed and maintained by the individual in his relationship with the social environment. While Freud considered it a battlefield between id , ego and superego, after Maslow and Rogers’ humanistic evolution, we started to look at it as a “Self realization field”. 

For purposes of this paper, I will not digress about the defenses or the Field: my interest is mainly directed toward the  Ego-Self evolution.

SELF ASSESSMENT:

In the Pathwork Guide lecture series we refer to the Self as the innermost precious part of the human being, the Essence that is the Real Self, creative and eternal.

This is the same concept that has been developed in self-psychology (Kohut, Goldberg, up to Masterson) in which the self is defined as:

1) a psychological structure which organizes the way we experience ourselves, and

2) as an existential entity which initiates actions.

In Lecture N.43, the Guide explains that, while there are other possible classifications of the personality, the basic types can be defined as Reason, Emotion and Will.

The ideal personality, one that would express the Self, would be characterized by a harmonious balance of these three modifiers, each functioning independently and perfectly in its own way, thus leading to the expression of our Core Essence. When this movement does not happen, we have the birth of the fragmented ego.

The Pathwork Guide has provided a good comprehensive understanding of these internal structures that compose the human being, still I intend to bring my own perspective.

It is in the overlap of my medical and psychological knowledge that I feel I can make my best contribution directly “from within”– from my own personal internal experience.

EGO ASSESSMENT: A VIEW OF THE THREE MODIFIERS FROM AN ANATOMICAL-PHYSIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

One of my greatest satisfactions has been to connect and correlate my knowledge of the anatomy-physiology of the physical body with knowledge acquired from energy science.

Here, another aspect of my Self is at work, another life task is being accomplished.

The three modifiers might be made up (or correlated ) of different cells immersed in the same neurological substratum, whether present in the limbic system or in the brain’s associational cortex, or in the area in between these centers.

I am proposing the concept that our body contain stem-cells i.e., very immature cells with the potential to differentiate themselves and function according to the body’s needs. These cells thus present a more highly evolved state, a coherent state. Furthermore I am proposing the possibility that these cells have the ability to make higher-order connections.

These cells are now the leading edge in medical research; they are quite rare in the organism, and medical research is attempting to understand how they can be manipulated to regenerate any tissue required by the organism.

These cells, from my perspective, have an innate, built-in, high-coherent state manifested by their infinite potential to differentiate in any specific functioning cell. What has not yet been demonstrated is their ability to connect in a coherent way, thus manifesting a high potential state as an expression of a more highly evolved form of life in comparison to other cells. They also express a more individuated consciousness that may manifest in any desired direction.

As the Guide says ( lecture N° 94), the nature of the Real Self is expressed through individuation and flexibility, meaning that universal consciousness is becoming both an individuated and  a flexible consciousness. The more matter evolves towards higher orders, the better must be its ability to express itself in a great variety of potentialities.

These cells, my intuitive perspective suggests, undergo evolution from childhood to adulthood following the parallel evolution of the energetic system of the organism.

Here I refer to the meridian system which at birth is underdeveloped but which changes between the ages of 5-7 to assume the adult configuration, with chakras fully grown and well screened. The physical stem cells may be the link between energy meridians and the rest of the specialized tissues cells present in the body.

The evolution which I see and experience establishes a constant slow movement of connections requiring expanded states of awareness. The “ah-ha!” (eureka) phenomenon that we experience at the psychological level is the direct manifestation of the higher connections made by these cells.

During these years of periodic moments of ASC ( Altered States of Consciousness ) in the Barbara Brennan School, especially those moments that B.B. calls the “Goddess”, I have experienced my body-field changing ( if I don’t want to recognize the work done by Spiritual Beings I just call it “changes” ). Once, during an experience of these changes, I had the felt-sense of an intense “bang” happening right inside the center of my head (just behind the pre-frontal lobes). I noticed that my heart was in deep expansion and the wave was coming straight up. In this manner I perceive the coherent movement is linking groups of potential cells – rising up from the heart to reach the frontal lobes.

Returning to the Pathwork Guide personality types, I feel that we can link this phenomenon of “Coherent Light” from heart to head to the evolution of the three types.

This concept is not unlike certain speculations about the formation of myelinization process inside the brain. (Myelinization is the process by which certain nerve fibers which at birth do not have a protective sheath (thus limiting the possiblity for communication between distant cells) gradually acquire that sheath.  The process begins first in some areas, then spreads throughout the brain.) 

The process follows the anatomical evolution of the 3 embryological layers, and gives birth to three personality types according to the Kretchmer classification: viscerotonics, somatonics, and cerebrotonics.

The first center, scarsely developed at birth, is Emotion, probably located in the limbic area where structure like the “amygdala” ( the hippocampus develops later) is already functioning and able to relate to the outer world. The hippocampus remembers dry facts, while the amygdala retains the emotional flavor that characterizes these facts. Yet these cells are very sensitive to high-intense stimuli, so they are inevitably traumatized, and what seems to occur in certain remembered instances is a fixation of the arousal state.

The body seems to lose the ability to process these emotions and remains stuck in this high state. When, during therapy, we reconnect to certain memories and are supported by an “adequate environment”, we are able to let go of these fixated memories and let these cells regain a more natural fluid state.

An example of the beginning of the WOUNDING PROCESS.

I remember a state of serene happiness in the crib: the sun is setting and a warm wind is caressing my skin; I am awake and my inner world of sense-perception is well in balance. Then my mother picks me up and feeds me, but the milk sours when an intense wave of sadness envelops me. Grandfather has died suddenly and I am flooded by the intense emotional state of my mother.

Some of my limbic cells are still holding on to that imprinting, and my life task is to release the level of depression that has been layered upon them after that fact. This amount of sadness, I realize now, has influenced my entire life, weakening the energetic system through an inability to enjoy pleasure. In fact,  I would say that the level of pleasure that I need to reach in order to compensate for that amount of sadness is very high.

I see this process as the swing of a pendulum: when in childhood some cells are traumatized, they remain stuck toward one end of the swing. To regain full flexibility and reach the other extreme while maintaining a healthy attitude is the goal of our physiological  and psychological evolution!

Consequences of the primordial trauma from an object relation perspective.

According to Kohut’s theory, I feel that self object needs (which provide emotional stability and hold value for the internal functional centers ) are formed in this period: it becomes most important to recognize them in adulthood, if we want to heal our wound completely.

Self-object relationship:

My need for food and drink is an example of a self-soothing object because of my mother’s failure to provide the empathic ambient field at that moment – to provide the “adequate” emotional response to my needs of that moment. Consequently, my primary anxiety determines an unhealthy behavioral response (I tend to eat too much) upon which I now attempt to bring my positive will to bear in order to change that behavior. It is not easy to “be with” this anxiety; but my efforts are strongly directed toward reducing the damage for the full expression of my potential.

Loss of the Self and emergence of the ego:

According to Andre Leites the modifiers are “nuclei” around which the ego develops in the course of its differentiation.

From my perspective and my view of the energetic development of the modifiers, the three centers go through ups and down, through moments of high, intense arousal and normal low states.

In cases of high, intense arousal, right and left sides may lose their connection and remain as groups of  “stuck cells” – not synchronized, frozen ( from a psychological perspective)  into traumatic memories.

Because these cells lose the ability to flow – evolve – and connect with others to form a progressive higher order, they become part of our split-Self and the ego emerges as a fragmented self.

Emergence of the Will center

After the Emotional center, the development of the motivational area begins.  The Will center is the place where cells carry out actions through voluntary movement, according to our free will. This center is equally distant from the lower limbic system and the upper reasoning system.

Thus located, the Will center receives energy from the other two centers and so tends to become over-energized or, psychologically speaking, “impatient”.  It cannot contain so much stimuli and therefore acts chaotically at times. Our task as humans is to strengthen it and let it become the “master servant” of the other two centers. ( Pathwork Guide, lecture N° 43 )    

The Reason center is last to develop, and we can locate it anatomically in the pre-frontal lobes.  These cells make connections quite late in comparison to the others. Here we are building our logical and discriminative analytical faculties.

If those cells are energetically stimulated and overcharged by external stimuli without our experiencing a simultaneous increased awareness of what is occurring in the internal world that is connected to the physical body, we have embarked upon the road of complete forgetfulness of our sense of Self.. When we start the process of disconnecting from our “felt-sense”, we limit our experience of balancing our internal–external worlds. Thus we shrink perception of the Self and fall into distorted perceptions, projections and, finally, definite transference.

When we lose our real Self we also lose the ability to understand our needs.  Thus we are unable to bring satisfaction and  resolution to these places in our selves waiting to be brought to the “light”– that is, waiting to become ‘unstuck’. 

According to Kohut only through the patient work of :

1-     mirroring - the need to be reflected by another person;

2- idealizing - the need for an idealized parental imago; 

3- alter ego - the need to be like others with a sense of belonging;

can we restore the healthy basis of the human personality and start to develop the Self.

CREATIVE INTUITIVE MOMENTS

It is now a while since I have become aware of this channeling that is taking place. I am quite relaxed, not really sleepy, but not fully awake. I am thinking and writing in English, not my native language, but certainly the first language whose words and sounds have been imprinted upon my cells.

I write on a subject that I partially know, some things filtering down from a higher order, and my I-ego, not flooded by intense emotion, can observe and allow the process to unfold.

Then I feel fear mounting; skeptical suspicion begins to block the process, and… slowly I surrender and let it “happen”. Tapping into this potential of mine means admitting that I can see inside the body, that I can tap into Akashi realm, that I do have clairvoyant abilities…

But here comes in immediately the pride of a Ego-Reason Type and the creative wave can be weakened or distorted. The Self holds with compassion the moment and wait that it passes… 

BACK TO THE PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT

Basically, as I see it, Self Assessment includes:

1- Core Qualities   

2- Creative Impulses

3- Introspective Awareness: an ability to maintain contact with the inner world and link cause and effect, in the moment, of the “life story” we are striving to accept (through the practice of regular and long-term inner self-directed attention).

While the Ego is there to link cause and effect of the outer world with the inner world, it is the Self that fits the pieces of the puzzle, allowing the outer world to become the mirror for this introspective analysis. The ego is the Framework that governs the process, and the Self emerges from the inner landscape as the Essential Glue that spatially redirects the fragments into an higher order.

This process requires constant support from an open environment that rejects relapse into old habits.  I feel that I received such support through long hours of training, and I am deeply thankful for the experience. This mirroring of how the introspective analysis can best be utilized is what I hold as the most precious gift from my teachers.

A personal example of the Self-Ego Evolution in Integration which I accomplished while attending CIL training is as follows: I am a reason type and have always hidden my emotions.  But I have always been aware that I possess those emotions ( I remember the time spent in trying to hide and control them). I feel that in this second part of my life, I have been increasing my will through a long process of daily commitment to becoming more open and to changing behavior so that I am more free to express my feelings.

During these intense teaching hours of “inner reflection”, trying to remember what had happened in my childhood, about which I had mostly a ‘felt-sense’, many connections  manifested in the cells of my brain. I became aware that I could recognize moments of anxiety, assign to them the right link to the past – by understanding why this flooding energy would submerge my rational mind – and start retraining these cells.

The entire process is only now evident to me; I can hold the entire picture without getting lost in it. It feels like putting together pieces of a puzzle while the framework contains the pieces.

Self quality is the ability to pursue and confront the ever present PRIMARY ANXIETY (the basic existential fear of who I am) while Ego quality is the ability to hold the frame solidly in place

Here, as I said before, I can equate the framework to my ego as the container and to my self as the puzzle: the pieces of the puzzle have always been there, but my life task is to put them in order! And the more pieces to the puzzle, the stronger the framework must be!

The third modifier at work, now, is the will: slowly but gently it reorients the extra energy of my reason center toward the feeling center.without losing awareness of the task it is performing.

Sometimes the “I-as-will” needs to redirect energy from the emotions center to the reason center; other times I feel more locked in the mental state and then I must shift to the emotions.

When I speak of will – as a master-servant – I feel I have already begun the process of shifting from ordinary cells to “higher order, coherent cells”: expressing my Self and no longer my ego. Here again there is a fine distinction between these two states, yet for those who live embodying these states, I think the difference is quite evident

Ego Assessment:

In this section, I could detail a long history of personality assessment as it has been structured and studied in psychology, but I choose to refer simply to the Pathwork Guide.

Basically, the Guide speaks of a positive and a negative ego, meaning that this structure can present pos. or neg. qualities.

Among the positive qualities we can distinguish:

1-     Ability to discern the complex reality of the outer world;

2-     Ability to catalogue the outer world, recognizing the order implicit in it;

3-     Ability to focus awareness upon the inner-outer world 

While egoic thinking is based upon random associations, Self-cognition is based upon an alignment of true awareness, meaning that we classify, put events into a higher level of order based upon  our perception of them.

Here we are speaking of an ego that must become the servant of the Self while still maintaining its functions; we are really at the beginning of this process of understanding how the Self develops and how it differs from the ego. From a broader and simplistic perspective, it could be said that the Self exists in relation to the inner world while the ego exists in relation to the outer world.

Here, I would like to revert to the initial meaning of Ego, Etruscan word: the root of the word is E, meaning eye; GO derives from gaia, meaning Earth.  Thus, the root meaning of ego is our Eyes on Earth.

MOMENTS OF CONTRACTION

I have been away from my desk for three days. Feelings of discomfort and uneasiness about my creation have begun to grow in my body-field. I could not read my editor’s revisions; I became aware of thoughts like: “ My thesis is going to be read by other classmates; my creation has no value, certainly it cannot compete with theirs. I am afraid to compare myself with them.”

This kind of contracting energy came from my negative ego, out of nowhere, just because I start to sense the ending of the creation and felt anxiety about the future.

It took few days to “stay with this process” and let the Self regain supremacy over my inner world. First I just accept the feelings without denying or fighting them. Second, at the lowest level of this depressed mood, I continue to remind myself that the process is always benign and will evolve. Then I could reach the positive attitude of accepting this wave as part of life and transform it – utilize it – for my writings.

This is the latest piece of consciousness that I am in the process of including in my framework. As the Pathwork Guide says in lecture No. 187, “When you meet negative experience with a positive attitude, instead of contracting against it, you remain open, flexible, pulsating, alive – even though at first it means enduring  pain or some other unpleasant emotion”.

To practice this advice, for me, means to be strongly centered within my Self, to re-center the experience around this energy and not to succumb to the negative forces of the ego. More than a battle, I see this process as based upon the amount of awareness that “in the moment” I can switch from a lower order to a higher- coherent order (from cells in chaos to coherent cells).

For a fleeting moment I am tempted to try to grasp “who or what” is producing this change in me. The ever-present ego wants to know, to define, and to categorize “consciousness”…

I-Self accepts the impulse of this energy, lets it be, and lets it go…..!

In this moment the word “consciousness” feels so sacred for the Self that I am in awe and bow to my Creator!      

NEGATIVE EGO ASSESSMENT

From a spiritual perspective – Pathwork Guide No. 199 – ego means fragmentation.

Ego is a “ fragmented piece of total consciousness; and our task is to reintegrate this split-off ego consciousness and to regain forever wider and deeper portions of Real Self”.

When we identify with the ego we have very limited abilities, and our entire process of “enlightment” consists of “enlarging our field of perception, awareness, and operation so to increase our power to create”. 

According to the Guide the ego uses any number of tricks to maintain its separation, up to the point of denying  - not admitting the existence of the Real Self. These kinds of tricks we could categorize into the characteristics of the negative ego.

1.      “ I versus you” – ego wants to maintain its limited state; and does so with pride, always either

1-     comparing  or  2 – competing, because it fears loosing its present state.

 Mask, defenses, pretenses and false shame of exposure – embarrassment about real feelings – are ways that manifest this form of pride.

2.      “ I will stay where I am” – self-will of the ego manifests in stubbornness, resistance, spite, defiance, rigidity. Any flexible movement appears threatening!

3.      “ I fear” – the ego presents all kinds of apprehensions, worries and anxieties,

most of all fear of exposure and denial of real feelings.

4.      Negative intentionality : always indicates spiteful self-will.

5.      Inattentiveness, lack of concentration, abstractedness, absent-mindedness,

all attitude that prevent the “focusing” necessary for the ego to transcend itself

6.      Laziness, tiredness and passivity, which make movement impossible and undesirable

7.   Negative reactions to the negativity of others: distrust and suspiciousness in relation  to other human beings so to stop the movement toward union.

8.      Denial of pleasure, of expansion, of creative movement into life.

POSITIVE EGO ASSESSMENT

While the qualities/potentials of a positive ego are:

1.    Discipline                                          2.   Perseverance

3.    Humility                                              4.   Courage

5.    Commitment                                     6.    Faith

All these attributes are dormant in the ego at birth and are equally present in all Human Beings. Through the various stages of growth and the relation with other human beings, the ego develops its qualities and can “awaken” – recognize - the presence of the Self.

WHERE DOES A POSITIVE EGO END AND THE SELF EMERGE?

Am I still locked into dualistic thinking or should I introduce “ a continuum field” where we naturally evolve from the ego to the self?

Here are some areas of thoughts that I am not sure about:

·        Is the ego in relation to the outer world ( perceive and elaborate external stimuli ) and the Self in relation to the inner world? [ too much dualistic thinking ]

·        Does the ego present passive attention, while only the Self holds active attention toward introspection?

·        Is it the ego that says “Cogito ergo sum” while the Self says “ Amo ergo sum”?

·        Is the ego based on “Egocentric knowledge” while the Self has “ Primal knowledge” or a Unified Field of Knowledge?

From my perspective, I see an evolution from one state to the other in which it is difficult to delineate the boundaries and perhaps even unnecessary when we become aware of the specific qualities of the two states.

The Guide affirms that we need to strike a balance between the Ego and the Self , the ego being the “master servant” of the Self.

I interpret these words as the ultimate goal in life, where the full circle, explored during adulthood, from the Wound to the Self, has been accomplished: how well we have mastered it is not as important as how “aware” we have become.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first time in my life that I am able to write in winter. Generally the creative wave comes in summer when I am in a natural state of expansion.

Accomplishing this task feels very rewarding to me because it means that I have mastered my depression, which in winter manifests as seasonal SOD. It also means that I have healed my primordial wound sufficiently to change old patterns embedded in childhood. 

In some areas of my brain, a few stuck cells (stuck into a high alert state of anxiety ) have been able to release that extra amount of energy, thus becoming more flexible at the level of their wall-membrane. I feel I am able to relate better with people, I am less defensive, and less in an attentive arousal that leads to a strong defensive attitude.

The way back to the Self is a road that, from my perspective, needs a lot of reinforcement

from the environment, and few people have the ability to provide this reinforcement.

On the other hand, the Self  must continuously exercise  its “introspective awareness” and – like a glue –connect the fragments into a higher form of perspective.

Much work awaits before I reach the level where I have a greater picture of my inner landscape, and I am still working on retraining parts of my brain to reach higher levels of coherency. This is yet another aspect of my life task!  I welcome it!  

My childhood story has been revisited many times and I had different insights each time I  took more responsibility. I know by now that this process will continue …

This developmental theory in which, according to Rene Spitz, “organizers”, defined as “centers radiating influence into the psyche” are present in the brain, and correspond to three fundamental points of the development of the ego, also relates to the three modifiers presented by the Pathwork Guide.

The entire process of this Ego-Self development ( model of human growth and development ) is evolving toward a better understanding from my perspective, specially as I live within it.

My personal conclusion around this process is very close to Plato’s ideas. He states in the last chapter of “The Republic” that man is the being who goes on Earth unaware of his inner diamond!

I take from these words that the diamond is always there and strive to shine forth!

May this be the life task of all us Human Beings!

DEDICATED TO ALL THE PERSONS THAT HELP ME DISCOVER “MY INNER DIAMOND”  and TO MY SISTER, VIRGINIA: may she rest in heavenly peace!

E. Cicconi     7 / 2 / 2002

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

1-     LIGHT EMERGING  by B. Brennan -  1993

2-     HANDS OF LIGHT   by B. Brennan  - 1987

3-     THE MODIFIERS      by The Institute for the New Age of Man  - 1977

4-     PATHWORK GUIDE lecture series  by Eva Pierrakos

5-     HEALING THE SPLIT by John Nelson  - 1994

6-     OUR NEED FOR OTHERS and its root in infancy  by Josephine Klein -1987

7-     PARABOLA – The Magazine of Myth and Tradition – Summer 1990 – Article: The practice of attention – by Philip Novak

8-     THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY  144:1, Jan 1987 Article: Heinz Kohut’s Self Psychology: an Overview By Howard S. Baker and Margaret N. Baker

9-   TRAPPED IN THE MIRROR  by Elan Golomb   -  1992

10- THE EMOTIONAL BRAIN   by Joseph LeDoux  -  1996

11-    EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE  by Daniel Goleman –1997

12-    THE FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS Body and Emotion in the making Of Consciousness  by  Antonio Damasio  - 1999

13-    TOWARD A PSHYCHOLOGY OF AWAKENING  by John Welwood – 2000