How to end the war between your authentic inner light and your protective ego selves. How eventually your Higher Self can transform your ego to become a trusted vessel for your emerging light.
When we begin the spiritual path, it can feel like a whole new universe opens before our very eyes. We open our hearts and minds, try out new ideas and spiritual techniques, we learn meditation, play with mantras, and meet new interesting people. In time, we find out about the importance of listening to our intuition, spiritual hygiene, raising our vibration, and consciously creating our reality. We discover we are more than the personality, we have a Higher Self. All of this and more is of course absolutely wonderful, yet there is one problem. Our personality/ego at some stage will start to put their metaphorical foot on the brake pedal and slow the whole thing down. It might even bring the whole journey to a grinding stop. Now why would that happen. Before you started this journey, there was just you and your ego. You know the parts of you that you would get into conversation with in your head from time to time. The parts of you that would comment on all the stuff happening around you or to you in the world. This may have been fine at the time, but then your Higher Self and guides came onto the scene and those old voices that kept you company for so long were not the only ones trying to communicate with you.
So, what is the ego? The ego is a set of selves that we develop when we enter this world. They are a sort of software support to help us cope with a variety of challenges as we grow and move through the physical world. The ego has primarily function, to help us cope in a difficult environment. The more difficult the outer world seems the stronger the coping mechanisms we will develop. In some circumstances developing a strong rebellious nature can be helpful, in some circumstances a more pleasing nature helps us navigate the world. For some, a primary set of selves evolves to help us simply survive. Imagine growing up in a war zone, or in a dangerously abusive family. Building a metaphorical psychic fortress against the world is how some people cope. For others going invisible is the protection strategy. There are many, being overly aggressive, highly critical, unpleasant or contradictory can all become valid means of self-protection. When we come to the spiritual path we come with all our ego selves. Some of these are very young, we could call them inner child and adolescent selves. Some are more mature. The challenge we have on the path is that when we start to breath and drink in light this shakes up our internal psychic landscapes. Suddenly our egoic defenses are threatened, not by an outside threat but an internal one. Some of our ego selves may not like this intrusion into their psychic space. Some of these selves will seek to oppose our path of spiritual growth. The ego is ruled by the past – your ego was born out of the attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors of your family and peers as you grew from child to adolescent to young adult. All the critical attitudes and negative experiences we experienced during this time is the fuel for any current anti-growth, anti-adventure, anti-whatever behavior your ego has decided upon.
Getting to know, challenge, neutralize or upgrade these inner selves is an essential part of the spiritual journey whatever your particular path you have chosen to walk. To understand the viewpoint of the ego just think of Bilbo Baggins in the story of The Hobbit. Bilbo himself is very well off and fond of food and clothes. His house is a beautifully furnished hole in the ground. One day he meets a stranger who introduces himself as Gandalf the wizard. Gandalf is looking for someone to join in an adventure. But Bilbo is not interested in having an adventure. Much to Bilbo’s surprise, the next day, Gandalf and thirteen dwarves come visiting. They make themselves at home and demand refreshments. They eat, talk, smoke, and then sing of going on an adventure to seek a treasure buried under a mountain guarded by a dragon. Hearing this Bilbo, who had not planned to join the group, becomes frightened and falls into a fit.
Your Higher Self wants to anchor you in the present and focus your mental energies in the direction of your highest future. Your Higher Self is not concerned with your safety, unlike the ego. This is part of the problem and why these forces seem at odds with each other, at least for a time. Your Higher Self is interested in your growth and knows that your path will, at different points, pull you out of your familiarity zones. This is the very antithesis of what your ego defenses are all about. This is why your ego resists the process. It does not understand why you would want to give up comfort and safety for something as abstract as activating your inner potential or embracing the so-called path of spiritual growth. It is important to understand that part of the process involves upgrading your personality. The journey is meant to transform you and so when your ego starts to block or resist the process this is a sign that something is working. It is a bit like feeling scared before taking a major step in your life such as speaking in public for the first time or meeting someone romantically that you really like for the first time. When nothing really important or significant is happening then our ego selves are not shaken or stirred. So, when your spiritual path starts to shake you then at least something is happening.
What if your ego is trying to protect you from a genuine threat? One important thing to note is there is a difference between your ego selves being shaken because you are shifting your core vibration and they are being shaken because they are being activated as a genuine defense against something not being right with the approach or group you are involved with. This is the tricky part. How I managed to distinguish between the two is the former seems exciting and scary at the same time. This can feel like agreeing to do a parachute jump for the first time and then when the door opens for you to take the jump you resist doing it. Then when you jump you feel exhilarated. The latter feels like walking through glue. There is not that much joy in the process. Tell-tale signs are: odd dynamics in the group you are involved with, an authoritarian approach that discourages you thinking for yourself and isolates you from the thinking of any other spiritual teacher or path. (My advice, if in any doubt, is to Google ‘signs of being in a spiritual cult’ if in doubt). To give an example of this, I have known someone for a few years who is on a particular spiritual path with one spiritual teacher. This person suffered from terrible anxiety and depression which the spiritual practice did not seem to alleviate in any way. Her spiritual teacher advised her to continue the practice with greater dedication. This did not help. I advised her to get more into her body and emotions and take up dancing or something similar. She did do this which helped, but she continued with the spiritual practice which was not helping. The issue for her was she had invested so much time and energy into this group that leaving felt like unplugging a large part of her life. Her boyfriend was also deeply embedded in this group and was very supportive in many ways. Unfortunately, all of this merely kept this unhappy game going.
OK, so let’s say that you are on a spiritual path that works for you and you want to know what to do to. The good news is that your ego selves can be helped to grow up so that it becomes a more reliable force and ally for your journey. Another way of looking at this is the spiritual path is meant to upgrade your ego programs. Just like any computer programs that needs replacing or upgrading your ego selves are meant to grow and shift with the changing outer and inner landscapes. They are not meant to be permanent unchanging fixtures. So, if this intrigues you here are a few steps to consider:
- Know the difference between your Higher Self and your ego selves.Your HS has a calming, loving, compassionate and gentle presence, it does not feel judgmental in any way. It does not impulse you to take knee jerk reactions. It is not interested in short term gratification. Your HS is interested in win-win situations. When you are connected to your HS the world seems different, you feel more open and alive, your life and contribution has meaning and you sense a greater level of possibility. Ego selves have a protective function, they are often highly critical of others and of you. You may feel depressed especially if these voices are being critical of you in some way. They trigger old memories and stories from within your subconscious that justify why you should do x or y. When your ego selves are in the driving seat you feel you are running on automatic. As you progress on your path of light these ego parts will change. This is actually one of the signs that you are on the right spiritual path for you. It is also important to note that they can also be upgraded quite quickly. I have had conversations with clients during a Soul Matrix Healing session where I have spoken directly with an ego part and helped it to make a shift within minutes rather than months or years. The important thing here is to discover its primary purpose and to show it that it could do it so much better in another more positive way.
- Start becoming aware of your mind speak.People often listen to their inner voices without realizing it. Without having some awareness around them they will seem almost like background noise. It’s important to become more conscious of the moments when these voices start speaking to you. They may berate you for not being a certain way or doing things a certain way. The more judgmental ones may say stuff like, “You look so stupid/fat/ugly.” “You can’t do this.” “You messed that up.” “What’s wrong with you?” Some voices on the other hand, can sound soothingly helpful, “Just relax. Stay at home. You don’t need to worry about all that meditating business. Why not just have a nice glass of wine and watch television.” Then, when you give into to this voice another more critical one may pop up later, “You have no self-discipline, just a coach potato. You drink too much. Alone again? Loser!” (A really good book to get if you want to get to know this inner landscape better is Embracing Our Selves by Hal and Sidra Stone. I cannot recommend their work enough). Do not blame or judge yourself for having an un-evolved ego. This just puts you back into fighting with your ego. The fight is pointless and draining. Remember what you resist persists. Awareness is the way. Awareness with persistence. Know that all of these ego voices are trying to be helpful in some way. They will help you even if they have to kill you in the process. Once you know what they are trying to do, such as help you be more liked which will help you feel safer in a group for example, then you can work with these parts to help them find a better way to be more helpful.
- Start to disengage from these voices. When you notice a voice speaking with you is that voice male or female? How old is that voice? What is the quality of that voice, soothing, demanding or critical? Some voices may sound parental, like your mother or father is in your head. Once you have some awareness of what/who the voice sounds like you can begin to disengage. A powerful exercise is to alter the tone, pitch and volume of the inner voice speaking with you. Imagine you have a set of dials inside where you can turn the volume up or down. Another way to do this is to imagine the voice speaking to you from the outside. Perhaps the voice sounds a few feet away or even shouting in your ear. Imagine sending this voice ten feet away, or twenty or to the other side of town. Imagine adjusting the tone to make it more gentle. Another exercise is to reverse the language of the voice. You can write down the statements of the voice in the first person as “I” statements, i.e. “I am not smart. No-one is interested in my opinion. Then change it to “You are not smart. No-one is interested in your opinion.” This helps you to more sensibly appraise these inner voices rather than just habitually follow their demands or acquiesce to their judgments. You can also respond to these voices in a more affirming way. “I am smart. I am interested in my opinions. Using affirmations is a great way to neutralize critical internal voices.
- Do something different. Your ego selves have lots of advice they want to give you. “Don’t take that risk.” “Don’t speak up.” “He/she doesn’t really love you.” “Who cares if you’re healthy?” As you get better at recognizing these ego voices you can notice when they trigger certain habitual behaviors. When you listen to such voices unconsciously you may find yourself getting angry, shutting down emotionally, becoming quiet and withdrawn and so on. Once you notice the triggers do the opposite. If you feel yourself withdrawing take a few moments to listen to your mind speak and then do something to break the spell. Go for a walk. Have a cup of tea. Ask someone for a hug. Then do the opposite of the inner voice directive. For instance, if you are at a social gathering and feeling like withdrawing start to engage with someone. If the impulse is to drink alcohol, then go and eat something. Change the behaviour.
- Call upon your Higher Self for help. In all of this you can call upon the assistance of your Higher Self and guides at any time. Actually, it is important to do so. Do not assume they will help you if you do not ask. Meditate on light, on opening your heart, on grounding your energies into the earth. There are meditation techniques where you can imagine your HS as an angel of light taking a ego part on a journey where it is upgraded. Imagine your HS taking your inner critic on a break to the seaside. Or your HS taking your inner perfectionist to a day of messy fun. Eventually these ego selves will realize that they can relax and shift with you. So, enjoy the journey, go easy on yourself, remember to smile and laugh often. Find supportive people who share this journey. Compare notes. Most importantly do not believe everything you think and feel. Know the difference between genuine intuition and knee jerk ego reaction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Steve Ahneal Nobel is an author (5 published books) coach, and Soul Matrix Healer. He was a director of the not for profit organisation, Alternatives (based in St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, London W1) for 13 years. He is a devoted father/grandfather.
Check out his website for more here. http://thesoulmatrix.com/