I have noticed that in many spiritual traditions the ego is considered a negative thing, and in many psychological traditions it is considered a positive thing. What is the truth in this matter? As we explore this issue, let’s take a peek into the many ways the ego shows up in the energy field. The first place I notice the ego in the field is at the edge of our auric bubble or “egg”, which is often about two or three feet outside of our physical body. If the shell of the egg is very rigid, there is a good chance this individual has a strong ego. The firm personal boundary correlates with a strong sense of personal self. Such an individual is not overtaken by another person’s energy or opinions. From a psychological perspective, this is healthy. From a spiritual perspective, being overly self-referenced can create an artificial separation between self and other beings.
The second place a strong ego shows up in the energy field is in the “character armor.” Parts of the energy field, a few inches outside the physical body, solidify into shields or plates of protective armor. This is usually in the torso area. Such shields are created to protect us, and they also end up limiting our capacity for authentic connection and intimacy. If one of the goals of the spiritual path is to cultivate “intimacy with all of life”, then ultimately the fears and beliefs that keep the shield in place need to be examined and reconsidered.
I have also noticed that many sensitive souls easily feel the energies around them. They may be psychic or intuitive, but also loose themselves in other people’s energy. These people do not have a strong enough ego boundary.
The ideal ego boundary is both strong and flexible. It can contain our own energy yet open to authentic connection with others, open to nature and the spirit world. While we are developing a healthy ego boundary, we need to also work with our mind. The term ego has often meant “ego identification”, which means we are thoroughly self-referenced and our belief system does not extend outside our sense of self. Many spiritual traditions encourage us to wake up out of this kind of ego identification.
So we see that the ego has both negative and positive aspects. On the path of transformation it is important to get a sense of the state of your own ego, and evolve it to a more functioning energetic organ.
Welcome, readers. I would like to open this blog by exploring one of our profound needs as a human being, which is CONNECTION. The quality of our connections in utero and early childhood effect the quality of our connections the rest of our lives. If those connections were poor, we can develop a whole “survival style” around those unmet needs. I have a personal interest in this topic, because my own early connections were inadequate.
In Archetypal Energy Psychotherapy and Trauma Release work I use the 5 survival styles developed by the NARM method of therapy. The first survival style is appropriately labeled CONNECTION. A person with this survival style can often feel shame at even existing. They feel like a burden to those around them and often have an overwhelming sense of not belonging to the family or tribe they were born into. The root chakra in people with the connection survival style is often blocked and not working. People with these unmet needs often demonstrate the symptoms of trauma, including disassociation. The compensating, pride-based identifications might include pride in being a loner and not needing others, or pride in not being emotional.
The pain that people with the connection survival style feel can be immense. Every day can hold a sense of not belonging and of profound loneliness. Because their root chakra is not functioning, many of these people are very ungrounded in their lives. They may move from house to house, town to town, and relationship to relationship. Many homeless people have early bonding and connection wounds. Others with this style spend their days semi-disassociated. A numbing fog softens the intensity of the pain. Many of the activities on the long list of ways to avoid pain are employed by people with the connection survival style. Learning to become present with pain, is often very difficult for people with bonding wounds. When they do cultivate the skill, the intense shame of not belonging emerges.
“When I would go to therapy, my therapist would have me sink into my body and begin to feel myself. Inevitably I would fall asleep, right on the spot! At times she invited be to surrender to the sleep, and then I would experience myself floating out of my body. It took months before I could stay present with myself without escaping in this way. My mom had a major taboo against me being me. When I finally did come into my body, I felt this profound shame and embarrassment balled up in a knot in my belly. It was impossible for me to feel welcome where ever I was.
In my Archetypal Energy Psychotherapy and Trauma Release work, I utilize a variety of tools to help heal connection and bonding wounds.