Tag Archives: Psychology

Thoughts on the Separation or Fall

Eden was an epic event. Whether you believe it to be allegorical, psychological, anthropological, developmental, or a doctrine of absolute literal truth, I believe at least some of the following will still apply.

One point we can glean from this story of the fall, or separation as some like to call it, is that when we grasped to be like God [or our Higher Power] by knowing the difference between good and evil, we not only separated ourselves from God, but we also separated from each other and even our own selves.

Before that event, our relationship with Him was so close that the entire concept of being like Him was foolishness. We were already so near Him in our natural state that there was no real conceivable need to be as him, except for perhaps the desire of the Ego. He communicated with us. We understood Him. Only peace and harmony existed. Division among men had not yet been conceived. No issues to divide us had yet come into existence.

Once we fell and we separated from God, we likewise found ourselves with a new separate identity considerably different from the previous one. The consequences of knowing good from evil were more than what was anticipated. We now had a good and bad self. Judgment, shame, good and bad, right and wrong, fear, danger, reward and punishment all came into being.

Man gained the capacity to oppose God, other men, and even himself. The core of our being was fragmented. We could dislike parts of ourselves or dislike ourselves entirely. We compared ourselves to others and found ourselves superior or inferior. Hence we not only split from God but likewise from others and ourselves.

Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Adam und Eva (National Gallery of Art)
Adam and Eve in Paradise by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553)
From that point forward, we based everything we see, do, and believe on that new flawed or fractured identity. The ego rose to supremacy, alone against all others and even somewhat frightened as our psychologists will tell us. It created a group called us for safety, protection, and support. It created the group called them as in those who are different or not among us, who are enemies, or at least potential enemies.

Nearly everything mankind has created from that point forward was built on that separation, that fractured personality, or the new renegade ego. All society, ancient and modern, reflects this with me, us, and them mentality. Society at large is the macrocosm of the microcosm.

Mankind has been trying to fix himself and his problems ever since and just one look and we can see how well he is doing. The us and them mentalities are so ingrained that if it were possible for one side of the equation to drop that mentality, surely the other side would conquer and destroy them. And that they must do, as it is the nature of the separation, the fractured being, and the extended fractured society.

The other side could not help but to continue the judging of right and wrong, superior and inferior, and reward and punishment. It must do so by its fractured nature. It is one of the bigger consequences of the fall. Man needs to attack others and defend himself. Attacking others is part of his defense. He is an ever comparing, ever criticizing, ever projecting, and ever judging creature. Just list all the judgment and criticism you hear for one single day. Write it down as the day progresses. It comes at you from all directions, work, relatives, friends, the television, the papers, and more. Also, add your own critical and judgmental thoughts to the list. You will be surprised if you can stay focused enough to do the exercise,

Man has a need to prove himself or his group right. Prone to violence, man will strike others to prove himself correct. He justifies his anger then justifies his attack on others verbally or physically. The cycle escalates. Entire societies get involved and the division increases exponentially resulting in fights, elections, murder, protests, and riots. The ultimate effect of separating, of creating us and them, is war.

Although the rate of death from war is declining since 1945, we have no guarantee that trend will continue. The Peace Pledge Union Project claims that three times more people have been killed in wars in the last ninety years than in the previous five hundred. My search on how many days there have been no wars in the past century ranges from 26 days to 45 days. One could argue that having a fifty-year decline during a historical surge is not the best argument for progress. Perhaps that is why it is said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Before the fall there was no need for peacemakers. Since the fall, however, creating peace is a very difficult thing to do. Ironically, it’s a good way to make enemies or even get killed.

[Inspired by ACIM Chapter 5, II, 1-11]

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Facing Problems and Fears

Thoughts on Facing Problems and Fears

What is the best way to face our problems and fears? We are told many ways not to face them. Do not dramatize them, as that makes them bigger. Fighting them also makes them worse. If you push them down, swallow them, or run from them that makes them bigger too.

Everyone knows ways to run from things. We can use drugs, over-working, alcohol, relationships, games, or other entertainment. We can use food, illness, denial, anger, humor, or neurosis. It becomes obvious that running is rarely a good idea.

By facing them properly we are told, the fears and problems dissolve and you see that they never were anything at all. At least, that is what Gangaji and other great teachers tell us. It sounds good but quite frankly the author of this post just isn’t there yet. Are you?

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Ultimately we lose everything. Everything we fear must eventually vanish, but we also lose all we hold important. Our jobs, our homes, health, our mates, our children, our possessions, our friends, and our pets; we lose them all eventually. Nothing lasts forever and no one gets out of here alive.

We understand these things intellectually. They are obvious. Still, it is not so easy to actually live these ideas at the higher spiritual levels. Instead, all those things become even more problems and things to fear.

We can remember Ramana Maharshi, in “Who Am I?” We grasp the realization that we are not our bodies. We realize that we are not our thoughts and emotions. We are not even the air that we breathe. We discover that we are is that force which animates or allows all those things.

Can’t that just be another intellectual layer? A person can say I’m not this body and the problem is only an illusion, but if the fear or problem remains, the process is only another layer or a cheap mask at best.

The intellectual realizations may calm us in many instances. But how do we know we are really succeeding? How do we know we are facing problems and fear properly? The answer would be when they no longer consume us or cause, fear, worry, anger, or any other negative emotion. The answer is when we stop replaying them within our minds, in a repetitive loop.

Somehow we are to live, love, and experience both good and bad, but yet let go once the experiences are over. We are not to attempt recreating things the great teachers tell us.  But we do try. We experience fun, love, or joy and we try to recreate it. We have a special moment with someone and try to relive it. A couple has a special moment with the first child, they try to replicate it for the second child. Often it is not the same. Sometimes it is a disappointment. Clinging to happiness, we are told, chases it away. Misery appears as the joy vanishes.

We also recreate problems and fears. We humans like revisiting them too much to let go. We do it constantly. We worry. We obsess. We replay our fears and problems over and over in our minds. It’s almost a bit masochistic, isn’t it?

Some people carry their problems, pains, and fears so proudly they tell everyone they meet.  You would think they were medals of honor they received for heroic deeds. They can’t stop trying to relive and recreate the problems, the fears, or the pain. It becomes their identity. Still, embracing them and clinging to them is not truly facing them. “Emotionalism is the avoidance of the deepest emotions,” Gangaji tells us.

We also try to recreate spiritually. Meditation is an example. If we achieve a great feeling or realization, we keep trying to get it back. The chase almost always ends in frustration. We are told that we are not to do that. Krishnamurti instructs not to expect anything when we meditate. If you are expecting, you really aren’t meditating. You are chasing, or running. Trying to relive the past experience is not meditating. Furthermore the more you chase that blissful feeling, the more it eludes you. Only when you let go and let go of the grasping and expecting are you meditating he tells us. Many of the great teachers go on to tell us that life is the same way.

Problems, fears, happiness, life, and meditation seem to have some commonalities. Running from any of them seems futile. Nothing is gained. Clinging to them does not bring happiness or solve things either. It is opposite. Clinging to any them makes you feel worse or backfires.

It seems like you need the same approach for all of them. There seems to be a middle road that is difficult to find.   Do not cling. Do not run. Do not overanalyze. Do not recreate. Do not expect. Do not force. Do not fight. Do not judge. Do not justify. Do not regret, Do not repress. Do not hold grudges. Do not blame. Do not hate.

There seems to be no escape. The only way to approach fear and pain is with a calm level mind. “No matter how much you try to run away from hurt, you still experience it.”  Gangaji



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Psychosomatics and the Rewards of Illness

ACIM among several other philosophies teaches that illness is a choice and when we no longer find value in it, we no longer invest in it and it withdraws. Others will claim illness is simply misdirected thought.

When I was in college, I was amazed to discover how I would get sick at the times I needed to get away from all the stress of work and school combined. I simply thought it was the body’s way of helping, that it possessed an inner wisdom. I would never have bought into any theory that it was I who created it with my mind. Now I wonder.

Initially, the idea someone is creating their own illness does not sound very credible to them. They may become angry for mentioning such an idea. Still, buried in our unconscious are many conflicting values and teachings given to us by our families, education, religions, and society.

One of the many subtle teachings society gives us is that illness has its rewards. As children, we learned it gets us out of things. When a child is sick, especially with something contagious, he stays home from school. The child is often excused from any household responsibilities. If the child is sick enough, mom will stay home. The child will get special attention, even perks such as breakfast in bed and the television moved into his room. Sometimes the patient will get special deserts.

Faking an illness works just as well. Both children and adults play “hooky” to avoid school and work. Most adults have a paid day off. If you want a nice family day, call in sick and write notes to the kid’s teachers.

Even partial sickness or injury works. I remember kids who were well enough for everything in school except for Physical Education class. That was the ultimate, getting excused from gym class. Sometimes we envied them.

For those who feel guilty or dishonest about deceit, a little bit of convincing may be required. “Maybe the thermometer will show a fever and back my desire so I won’t have to tell a lie.” The more skilled among us learn how to create the illnesses or the symptoms.

Eventually, the minds of honest people can unconsciously create the infirmities for them. They no longer have the guilt of lying. It’s a really cool trick that they aren’t even aware they possess. Instead, they modestly credit germs, genetics, environment, or another phenomenon.

 photo woman-698948_200 x 299_zpsnwomatuf.jpgDid you ever hear someone say the following? “It’s flu season. I know I’m going to get sick. I always do.” Soon after they are sick. It is a classic case. The focus on sickness repays this person by manifesting itself into an illness. But at least now they can prove they were right.

Some people lack love or attention. What better cure than through a medical condition? What worked as a child works as an adult, however not quite to the same degree. Yet it will often attract attention or sympathy.

The more diabolical of our society will create the illness onto their children. They get all the benefits of sympathy and attention, without having to manifest the illness. Most of us have met parents that keep a child in a suspended state of infirmity while appearing to be good parents or even appearing as heroes or saints. Not even Child Services would lay a hand on them.

Some find illness or infirmity financially beneficial. You can receive money from the government or insurance companies. You could a get a big bonanza for an injury, or may get minimal financial support for life. You no longer need to work. Some people create their own disabilities, even thru accidents. Naturally, it is at the unconscious level.

Don’t forget good old-fashioned masochism, self-punishment, and martyrdom. Here is where the unconscious rears its ugly head. Parts of our society teaches things such as suffering is a virtue. There is nobility in suffering. Sacrifice is a virtue. We also believe the guilty should be accountable for their crimes. We also feel it is good to help the sick. With teachings like this, is it any wonder some wear their ailments as a badge?

If we believe ourselves guilty, and undeserving of anything good, we may unconsciously use illness to fulfill another unconscious need for punishment or justice. If we dislike ourselves enough we may inflict pain unconsciously. It is even possible for a person to like pain at the unconscious level, in direct contrast to what is consciously thought to be believed. In such a case, the illness fulfills the unconscious need.

It can also be a case of “look how much I sacrifice! I did everything till I got sick, and no one appreciates it.”

Sickness and disabilities can also be revenge, a husband’s way of punishing the wife or the wife’s way to punish the husband. Sometimes a heart attack or an ulcer can prove how bad and stressful someone or something has been to you.

In summary, psychosomatic sickness and injuries can assist you with the following. They can get you out of work, get you sympathy, help you avoid things you do not want to do, get you money, allow you to punish yourself, prove you are right, or can be used for revenge.

As for me, I seem to give myself headaches. Both a medical doctor and an eye doctor found nothing wrong. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. I have not yet discovered what my unconscious thinks of these headaches. Maybe I want them and just do not know it yet.

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WHAT IS THE EGO?

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WHAT IS THE EGO?

From: A Course in Miracles Workbook [Part II, 12 What is the Ego?]


The ego is idolatry; the sign of limited and separated self, born in a body, doomed to suffer and to end its life in death. It is the “will” that sees the Will of God as enemy, and takes a form in which it is denied. The ego is the “proof” that strength is weak and love is fearful, life is really death, and what opposes God alone is true.

Art- Personality and Ego image from Pixbay The ego is insane. In fear it stands beyond the Everywhere, apart from All, in separation from the Infinite. In its insanity it thinks it has become a victor over God Himself. And in its terrible autonomy it “sees” the Will of God has been destroyed. It dreams of punishment, and trembles at the figures in its dreams; its enemies, who seek to murder it before it can ensure its safety by attacking them.

The Son of God is egoless. What can he know of madness and the death of God, when he abides in Him? What can he know of sorrow and of suffering, when he lives in eternal joy? What can he know of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt, of hatred and attack, when all there is surrounding him is everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed, in deepest silence and tranquility?

To know reality is not to see the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts, its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes, its plans for its salvation, and the cost belief in it entails. In suffering, the price for faith in it is so immense that crucifixion of the Son of God is offered daily at its darkened shrine, and blood must flow before the altar where its sickly followers prepare to die.

A Course in Miracles text bookYet will one lily of forgiveness change the darkness into light; the altar to illusions to the shrine of Life Itself. And peace will be restored forever to the holy minds which God created as His Son, His dwelling place, His joy, His love, completely His, completely one with Him.

Any thoughts? Please share below. If you like it, feel free to share.

A Course in Miracles

The Ego and the Tyranny of the Superego

The Freudian model is a great representation, but keep in mind it is only a model. The model points the way and conveys the information, but your brain does not have 3 separate compartments with walls between them. It is not a three in one trinity.

SUPEREGO

The superego is the policeman or the judge. It keeps the rules given to us by our families and culture. It could be seen as your conscience and a storehouse of rules, laws, and values. The superego has the tendency to demand perfection and will judge itself and others harshly as it develops. It can be viewed as opposite the id.

Freudian icebergID

The id, present from birth, contains a human’s basic instinctual drives. It is the source of our wants, desires, impulses, and bodily needs. The Id has no judgments of value, no sense of good and evil.

EGO

The Ego deals with the outside world. Per Freud, the ego mediates between the id and reality. It works to fill the id’s drives and needs in sensible ways and should eventually learn to do so in a way that benefits the person in the long-term, rather than causing pain, grief, or other problems.

The ego navigates a tricky three-way obstacle course between the outside world, the superego, and the id. Following the rules of the superego, the id may not be happy. If the ego makes mistakes, the superego may cast harsh judgments. Meanwhile, the outside world watches, rewarding and punishing according to its standards.

One can view the ego as common sense compared to the id which is uncontrolled desires and passions. The ego is the seat of reason, thinking, and conscious awareness, although not all operations of the ego are conscious. The superego, as the law keeper and judge, also has operations that are not conscious.

JUDGE, JURY, & VICTIM

This sounds like a good model so far, that is when everything is working in balance. The problem is that often things are not in balance. We are all aware of those who seem to have no superego (conscience or ability to follow laws) and or those whose id is unchecked and out of control carrying out desires, and impulses in antisocial ways.

Yet, what we often overlook is the superego’s assaults on the ego. The super-ego or judge constantly watches every move of the ego then punishes the ego with feelings of long-term guilt, anxiety, and inferiority for any failure, or even perceived failure or shortcoming. The superego occasionally rewards the ego for what it considers good behaviors with positive feelings, but they appear short-lived in comparison to the judgments and punishments.

The superego, as keeper of the rules and laws, sees itself as right and its judgments infallible as though God Himself was on its side. It does not matter that the rules and customs it exalts are not the results of any original thought. It does not matter that most of its ideas came from someone else. Nor does it matter that many of the rules and laws were never challenged, but were accepted blindly, many before the development of critical thinking.

Growing up, the superego accepts all that is programmed into it by family, friends, neighbors, subculture, culture, the educational system, television and various other societal sources. It accepts the rules it is given as absolute and judges harshly by those standards. It aims for perfection and the person it occupies is not capable of perfection. Neither is anyone else the superego meets. With the images of perfection shown by modern media, the judgments are even harsher. To make matters worse, many of the superego’s rules and values are below ground or in the unconscious realm.

Thus the ego after being judged by the superego believes (consciously or unconsciously) that it is not good enough, not skilled enough, not smart enough, not lovable enough, or not pretty enough. Its teeth aren’t white enough, its car is not stylish enough, its spouse and kids don’t measure up to what is on television. In short, it does not have enough of whatever it needs to feel good. It can never measure up to the superego’s standards and never will. There will always be some regret, feeling of inferiority, failure, or dislike about either itself, its circumstances, or the body it occupies.

The judgments cast against the ego forces it to adapt by taking several of many options. Some of the options available to a suffering and persecuted ego include masochism, co-dependency,over compensation, rationalization, repression, regression, dissociation, splitting, projection, identification with an outside model, and somatization – the unconscious manifesting of repressed emotions into psychosomatic illness.

This war between how things are supposed to be (the superego) vs how things appear to be (the ego’s perception) has huge and devastating consequences. It results in a large host of disorders including, depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, and many types of physical illness ranging from ulcers, arthritis, headaches, heart problems, and even cancer.

WINNING THE WAR
One step toward getting better and happier is to challenge the rules and the “shoulds” that have been forced on you.

Ask – Whose rules are they? Did you choose them or inherit them? Do they serve you or hurt you? Do they bring happiness or do they bring bondage?

The Ancient Toltecs also had simple effective ways of dealing with this issue. Don Miguel Ruiz offers the following simple aid among several in his book “The Four Agreements.” I call it questions to the judge.

Get a marker and write the below words on a bright piece of paper. Whenever guilt, anxiety, shame, depression or any value struggle occurs, look at the words and say to the judge:

Big deal!
Who cares?
So what?
Why not?
(If none of these satisfy your situation, then remember this last one.)
It doesn’t matter.

Try both aids together. Good luck and please stop persecuting yourself and others. We need to quit being judge, jury, and warden. We need to lighten our load from this tyranny as much as possible.

Never forget, most of what causes our suffering is based on someone else’s ideas. Many of these ideas are hundreds of years old. Many of these ideas were not necessarily created from any real wisdom but were simply good ideas at the time. Many of them are incorrect and are inaccurate at best.

I will cover more on these subjects in the future. All Comments, discussion, criticism or advice are welcome. Please post below.

Credits:
More on Freud – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Carlson, N. R. from Personality. Psychology: the science of behavior
Freud, New Introductory Lectures
Snowden, Ruth from Teach Yourself Freud.
Carlson, N. R. from Personality. Psychology: the science of behavior
Schacter, Daniel from Psychology Second Edition.
Freud, On Metapsychology
From “Ego Development and Psychopathology: A Study of Hospitalized Adolescents”.
Freud from The Ego and the Id, On Metapsychology p
Gangaji from the Diamond in your Pocket
S. Sutker/H. E. Adams from Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology

Don Miguel Ruiz from The Four agreements
Vishen Lakhiani fromCode of the Extraordinary

MindPicture Credit:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Structural-Iceberg.svg   public domain
attribute –  By historicair 16:56, 16 December 2006 (UTC) [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Nieto – The Old Dirt Road
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Does Your Ex Really Exist?

Sometimes things seem like they couldn’t have been real, yet we know we didn’t imagine them. What we think or believe about other people is based on perception therefore only a concept.Woman in posed showing confusion
Our perceptions about relationships come from the instructions or programming of our families, cultural media, schooling, religious teachings, personal preferences and other influences.

This means that what you think of your ex is based on concepts which by nature are in a state of flux. That you are no longer together proves that at least one person’s perceptions have shifted and that perceptions do change.

Any feeling you have toward an ex or anyone else in your life, be it positive or negative, inflated or deflated, is only a thought, idea, or emotion. Whether you remember them as the best person or the worst, it is still based on your limited view.

We rarely see the Real Truth behind anyone and are even less likely to do so with the emotionally charged memories of our ex-partners.

We judge people by their appearances, the personalities they project, their supposedly good or bad traits, and through the filters of our values. Most of our values are not the
result of any original thought, but rather based on things taught to us by others or programmed into us as children.

Most of what we perceive in others are our own judgments and projections mixed with their stories; the stories they tell us, the ones they act out, and the ones we see. All of these
stories are subject to interpretation, which we already showed is not so accurate by nature. If a person lives up to our expectations based on our preconceived perceptions and projections, we are pleased with them. If they fall short, we are not so pleased, if we cannot learn to accept them.

Yet all these judgments, perceptions, or stories are not really the real truth behind who anyone really is. Most people don’t even know the real truth behind who or what they are. Instead, we cling to our stories no matter how close or far from accuracy they may be. For example, we all know people who claim to be one thing and act out something else.

In any relationship, there exists the possibility of one misconception looking at another misconception from the start. In such cases, drawing conclusions can only be inaccurate, and
often the relationship is on course for failure.

No matter how much it may hurt, and it does, these are all just stories and perceptions from the past. Even if that person did some very horrible things, it is still the past and now
just a story. This does not mean you are wrong to still carry the scars or the pain, but the sooner you can let go of the story the better. If you suffered violence or abuse and need help to let go, please get it. There is wisdom in knowing when help is needed and asking for it. You need to get free from the past.

In conclusion, yes, your ex most likely still exists at the physical level, but what you perceive may not be so accurate. You may hate them, or miss them terribly. You may feel you screwed up ever dating that person in the first place. You may believe you made huge errors and can never have that person back because you did not appreciate how wonderful they are.

A person yearning for the ex they took for granted is simply experiencing a shift in perception, perhaps even encouraged by a rejection. It is often a story best let go. A person still filled with anger toward an ex is clinging to a story that is best forgotten. Both extremes freeze you in time, the past. They imprison you. They interfere with your clarity and detract from your happiness or peace of mind. Given time, your present view can shift or change.

In that sense, your ex as you perceive them may not exist. This includes both what you thought at the beginning of the relationship and what you think currently. What we remember is only a concept, a filtered idea from the past in a world of constant flux, while truth itself never changes. We are all spiritual beings temporarily existing in a material realm. It is best for us if we can forgive. We don’t do it for them. We do it for us.

Paul Nieto – The Old Dirt Road

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