In a recent sharing, I discussed an inner process where I connected utilizing my ego defenses in one area of my life and how it was affecting my life globally. The saying goes “how do you something is how you do everything”. I find it to be often true, though it is challenging to live conscious of it in daily life. I went on to share accessing a deeper structure that offers protection beyond my ego and how that structure opened me up to feeling the very feeling my ego structure was protecting me from – a tiny, precious feeling of wanting to receive love. Actually, it felt like the beginning of a healing, of allowing myself to be present unconditionally to every aspect of myself.
At the same time as acknowledging my sharing, a budding psychotherapist sent me his paper on spiritual bypassing. My mind went into a spin. What was this psychotherapist trying to tell me – that I need my egoic defenses, otherwise I’m bypassing my process???? Perhaps it was just a coincidence, however what arose within me wasn’t surprising, given our collective reality in these times.
We live in times of extreme separation. I don’t know if that is what Kali Yuga (the Dark Age) means, but I sometimes wonder if it is a part of it. Our lifestyles, our food, our water, our connection with our bodies, with all other life forms, and this planet as well as our inherent nature is living in separation. We use food, alcohol, drugs, screens, caffeine, sugar, shopping, war, ruthless competition, fighting over resources, etc. to manage our day to day lives on individual and global levels. I think of those as scaffolding on a house that no longer has a foundation of our inherent nature. The image I receive is the average, healthy ego has a scaffolding of an ego that is larger than the house it is holding up. In my example, I had build incredible ego structures, i.e. scaffolding, of my attachment to my pain, self-protection, warding off goodness in my life, and even a victim identity to not feel a simple feeling of wanting love in a relationship.
As a psychotherapist, I worked with children whose early lives were not only burdened with extreme trauma, but often they experienced ongoing complex trauma as children in foster care move frequently into different foster homes, suffer continuous of loses of any stability in their homes and schools, and relationships. There was another trauma of being viewed through the limited lens of pop psychology, diagnoses, and immense fear based reactions around psychotic breaks when the ego was simply expanding to find ways to reorient to life’s circumstances. Of course, as a psychotherapist I knew the importance of a grounded understanding of the psyche structure. Yet, the limited, fear perspective, psychology based trauma was like adding another layer of scaffolding that worked to not support the structure of the home, but to further deteriorate the crumbling structure.
It was clear. The ego was continuously experiencing what is intolerable. Building layers and layers of scaffolding that grew to tens and tens of folds around the home would inevitably result in some form of psychosis. The answer didn’t entirely lie in the ego. The ego isn’t equipped to deal with the kind of suffering we experience. It never was. It cannot manage war, as many war veterans live with disabling symptoms of PTSD. It cannot manage when a family member experiences incredible suffering as such dementia. It cannot manage the loss of a child. And, it cannot manage the effects and passing down of inter-generational, collective, or complex trauma.
Those experiences often call upon us to access the foundation, the “homes” we live in. These homes are our inherent nature. I really do appreciate having psychological understanding and attest to the importance of integrating psychology with spirituality. However, psychology by itself is dying. We need a deeper understanding to really address these times of extreme separation. We need to understand what our true foundation is, our inherent nature. We need to shift ourselves from scarcity mentality into abundance. We need to connect deeper into our own souls and others’ souls. We need to return to the sacredness of our soul’s journeys and another soul’s journey. We need a deeper connection to our own suffering so that we are no longer victimized by it. We need to return to the mystery, to understand our relationship in this universe, and to see the bigger picture that is beyond the formation of an ever increasing ego structure.
In my work with others, we explore together ways to shift orientation from egoic structures towards more essential structures. We often “play”, since it is less threatening to the ego when we play or experiment or explore. These times that we play, we are building an essential structure, as the ego loosens its grip on the familiar, rigid structures.
Times are here where the structures we have built that no longer nourish, support, sustain, and increase peace in the greater world need to crumble. We are moving towards more essential structures based on our interconnectedness that will be our new forms for safety, nourishment, peace, love, and sustainability for all.