Getting Clarity

As I approach the two year mark of my divorce which represents the greatest “tower moment” of my life, I can’t help but take a quick inventory of lessons, insights and overall landscape changes.

Yesterday’s over my shoulder so I can’t look back for too long…

I’ve learned that I am a Life Path 7, which explains a lot of the behavior and orientation I had previously ascribed to ADD. Turns out the hypersensitivity, lack of focus on the practical and mundane, daydreaming and fantasy are all part of the attraction to spirituality. Who knew?! The inability to keep a job for more than 2 years at most; the sensitivity to office gossip and always knowing intuitively when someone was unhappy with my performance, appearance or something I said, were all part of my unique, spiritual make-up.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes was the emergence from a deep, dark cloud of negativity. It was so difficult to even realize how negative my daily thoughts were in the beginning. I used to get so annoyed with Readers who would say “there is something from the past you need to let go of” when I had turned over every rock and forgiven everyone I could possibly think of. I finally realized that it was the past itself and the negativity associated with it that I was clinging to. I would wake up with the “grumbles” and continue with them all day long. I can remember when they diminished considerably after I decided to stop entertaining negativity and focused on the positive.

Another major change was that of co-dependency. I used to always wait for someone else to make the first move, the first decision or take the lead so that I could decide how to respond. I hated conflict and always wanted to be liked but my actions had the adverse affect. My self esteem was abysmal and I was plagued with self doubt. I had to learn that I was worthy and that my thoughts, intentions and desires were worthy as well.

This came through countless hours of Readers speaking Truth and guiding me through situations and circumstances in Life. I took a job as a director with one of the last remaining 90 day recovery centers on top of a remote mountain in West Virginia. I made the decisions to accept or reject prospective residents who wanted to avoid incarceration (or get out of it) and “get recovery”. I lived in a small, efficiency apartment and knew no one in the area. My Ego had few comforts with which to escape or become distracted as the Light pierced every part of my old, corroded soul. The highlight of my day was finding some nice place to eat before I went back to my hovel and slept. How much of this was from the Universe or self-imposed punishment I don’t know but I realized that negativity is a hard taskmaster.

Today, I’m still coming to terms with who I am as opposed to who I thought I was. I’ve always had a certain element of wanting to “be somebody”, which I suppose is the result of early abandonment. However, I’ve learned that there is a difference between wanting to be someone of distinction and knowing you are someone of distinction. The latter never has to be defended or proven. I now know that I am a spiritual being first and that everything else is simply utilitarian. I am a part of the greater scheme of things and just need to take up my position in the Universe. It’s just that some days I forget to not allow my Ego to drive.

We Made A Decision…

The Third Step in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is perhaps the most pivotal of all the steps. It marks the point at which the recovering alcoholic/addict lets go of their attempts to control their own redemption and surrenders to the intervention of their Higher Power.  It states; “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” The underlying notion is that of someone who, after having hit rock bottom and having exhausted all efforts to save himself, stops the struggle and surrenders to the Universe and anyone whom it may send to offer assistance. This step follows on the heels of first acknowledging one’s “powerlessness” over their condition, and that Hope exists somewhere in the Universe for restoration.

Anyone who has been in recovery from addiction knows that it is not long after entering treatment that the Ego re-awakens and attempts to regain control. The humility and “sobriety” that came from the ravages of addiction begin to dissipate and old attitudes, assumptions and justifications re-emerge. At this point, Surrender becomes work. Of course, the whole idea is to address the Ego with its irrational beliefs and defense mechanisms (not to mention overthinking) and “let go”. As one might suspect, this becomes very tricky.

The terms “decision” and “will” found in Step 3 have to do with Volition or Intention. The concept of Free Will is based on the notion that mankind is endowed with the ability to exert his own intention over the course of his life and destiny. While this is partially true, it is not as clear and simple as many would like to believe. “Choice” is often confused with Will or Volition and Life is often reduced to a “set of choices” resulting in desirable or undesirable outcomes. Sorry for the cold shower, but it doesn’t quite work that way. If man were endowed with “free will”, why would he be asked to “turn it over” to the One Who gave it to him in the first place.  

The greatest and perhaps the clearest depiction of the Will and emergence of the Ego is the account of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The first couple were given clear instructions to stay away from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, after a protracted discussion with the serpent they both asserted their Will against the instruction of the Divine. The most notable aspect of this rendition is that Adam and Eve were surrounded by Positive Energy in the garden. Mankind can never place himself in a more positive, holy environment than that of the Garden of Eden in order to find restoration. In their innocence, Adam and Eve were not aware of the ramifications of their actions. This was not an exercise of choice, and the Ego cannot be blamed at this point. Eating the forbidden fruit was not an option. They did not “choose” between remaining in Positive Energy and propelling the entirety of creation into death, destruction and chaos. This was a sheer act of Volition on the part of the new arrivals to the Universe.

The Will is part of our very core… our essence. It is the part of us that makes us sovereign beings. It is our self-determination. The instant these two exercised their independent intention, they were propelled into a realm with which they were completely unfamiliar. Principles began to appear which had not been apparent before such as: Shame, Guilt and Fear. Something had changed. The innocent couple had opened a door. Evil had been introduced. They knew nothing of death, suffering or misery; now it would be a part of their daily existence. It was not a “punishment” to be kicked out of Eden; rather, it was the consequence of opening the portal to Negative Energy. No doubt the Divine Source had intended for man to know both Good and Evil but surely it had a better alternative. But of course, with great power comes great responsibility.

The issue is not about “choice”. There is no choice between Good and Evil. Wisdom or Ignorance does not produce a dilemma. Truth or Deception does not create a quandary. As a sovereign, independent being with “free will”, Freedom is THE choice, which, technically, is not a choice. In other words, in order to have and maintain Free Will, one must acknowledge one’s own Divinity and abide within the Principles and Boundaries of his divine nature in the same manner as Love, Truth, Wisdom, Peace, Joy, Justice and Freedom maintain their Harmony and Integrity. This isn’t about obedience to a higher authority or an external source as much as it is about Self-awareness, Self-determination and Self-preservation.

You have been created to be a Sovereign, Independent, Co-Creator of the Universe. That is both humbling and awesome at the same time. However, in order to be your awesome Creator-like Self, you must understand your origin of Positive Energy with its Principles of Love, Joy, Peace, Serenity, Freedom, Success, Victory, and Life and get back to where you belong! But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is about “making good choices”. It is about Surrender! In other words, it is about taking that marvelous “free will” of yours and lining it up with the Divine Source from whence you came. You don’t choose between Life and Death! Life is THE Choice! Yes, you are unique and special, but an apple tree doesn’t choose to produce pears or sweet potatoes. The only way for you to be truly happy and fulfilled is to BE YOU! Of course there are a myriad of obstacles that stand in the way of you being you, not the least of which is your own Ego. Align yourself with the Positive Principles of the Universe. Seek Peace, Wisdom, Truth and get rid of the baggage of Deception, Denial, Fear and the things that make you compromise, hide and diminish your True Self. Most of all, don’t forget Who You are, and don’t settle!

Why You Don’t Love Yourself & How To Change

Why does it seem that those with the most difficulty in loving themselves are also the most sensitive and caring among us?

Part of the answer to this question has to do with the circumstances and conditioning which occur during childhood but perhaps a larger contributing factor is personality type.

As a general rule, Feeling types are more sensitive than Thinkers for obvious reasons. Intuitive types are generally more sensitive than Sensory types due to their use of imagination and sixth sense. Introverts engage in much more introspection and self-evaluation than Extroverts which makes them more sensitive. Combine these traits and you have what is known as a Highly Sensitive Person. HSP’s are often highly critical of themselves and tend to “absorb” the negative energy of those around them.

Our Ego tries to make sense of the world around us and protect us from perceived danger. The Ego is susceptible to Negative Energy due to its dependence on the physical and material realm. Social conditioning along with circumstances such as conflict and trauma lead to irrational beliefs and negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, self-rejection, fear of rejection and a host of others. In order to love yourself you will have to embark on a journey of Acceptance and Surrender of the Ego.

Love is a Positive Principle of the Universe. Love, by its nature, engages with others, gives to others, shares with others and helps others. However, this cannot be done when someone suffers from a lack of self-love. They will always be hiding their perceived deficiency while seeking validation from external sources. There is only one Source of Love and Its connection is within.

Love must go beyond the externally-focused behavior of the Ego. In order to love ourselves, we must engage our Spirit, align with Positive Energy and dethrone our Ego with all of its defense mechanisms, substitutions and irrational beliefs. No matter what horrific crimes we may have committed from our twisted, wounded Ego, our spiritual being is innocent and connected to the Positive Principles of the Universe. Most people feel a sense of guilt and shame for nothing they have done in the past. Regardless, our worth and value is not determined by our behavior but by our Spirit. We always have access to the Positive Principles of Justice, Healing, Redemption and Serenity which can be ministered to our Egos through our own Spirit.

Dethroning the Ego and dismantling the tangle of irrational beliefs, social conditioning, substitutions for unmet needs and self defense mechanisms can be a long, grueling process. When we have maintained a belief system for so long, no matter how irrational, simply walking away is not possible. One will need to surrender to Truth and find loving and caring support in order to successfully complete the journey. This can even take the form of online support through social media or Tarot Readings over long distances. Whatever the case, the seeker will have to be completely honest, at least with him or herself, and be willing to surrender completely to the healing process.

The journey will require Trust, which for some is in itself extremely difficult. It is trusting that there is a Higher Power, and that this Higher Power is Love. It is trusting that this same Energy is the One that insures all living things receive what they need to survive. It is trusting that you are as deserving as any other creation of a life of abundance, purpose and fulfillment and that no matter what has happened in the past, your future is full of Hope, promise and potential. Things will have to change. You will have to step out of your Ego and into your Spirit. Your Ego will fiercely resist at times. But really, what choice do you have? In the end, it isn’t about choice, it’s all about Surrender. And Surrender is about Enlightenment! You either get it or you don’t. The good thing is, the only thing required to “get it” is desire.

The Tower

Alone I sit, amidst the ruin,
Pierced by Truth’s steely glare.
All aspirations, toil and accolades
Lie broken, beauty removed, decayed
Stripped and bare.

What would have been never shall be
Only tokens of what was remain.
Accusing voices whisper in the cold
Of what should have been, what wasn’t done
And secrets stabbing, revealed in their refrain.

What’s past is past, what’s done is done,
The story finally told.
All that was noble, all that was grand,
Now just something old.

No reason to linger, pondering is done.
Death has closed the door.
Time to move on, time to get Real,
From Fantasy to what was Before.

Before the dream, before the quest,
Before the fall from grace.
Back to where it all began,
Where time cannot deface.

The Sacred Fool

The Reason You Procrastinate

Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing! That’s right, you can let yourself off the hook and relax a little. There is a good reason why some people procrastinate and it has to do with personality types. One type of procrastination is “avoidance”. Avoidance is negative energy and is an attempt to postpone or get out of something unpleasant. It is usually based in the fear of a negative outcome. Not all procrastination is motivated by avoidance, however, and you need to be able to recognize the difference. “P” type personalities, for example, often procrastinate because they do not like restrictions and prefer to delay making decisions in order to keep their options open.

Perceptive type personalities prefer spontaneity to routine or structure. They can become easily bored by the mundane and they like to think outside the box. For these types of individuals they do not like to become “boxed in” by being forced to make a decision regarding an event or activity in advance. When you think about it, restrictions come in many forms. When one begins a project that is time consuming, this becomes a restriction. Often, Perceptive types will postpone a project simply because they do not wish to have their time occupied at the present moment.

These personality types relish their freedom and creativity and do not like to be told when and how to do things. Bosses and administrators would benefit from recognizing this personality trait and leaving the artist to do his work his way. While they may need to be gently reminded on occasion regarding a project, they do not like to be micromanaged and will become passive/aggressive if that attempt is made.

Another reason for procrastination has to do with energy consumption. Introverts, and especially ADHD types, are selective as to how they spend their energy. ADD/Hyperactive individuals are motivated by activities which can hold their interest. Activities which will become boring and/or tedious will be avoided simply because the individual knows that he or she will not have the necessary endurance to complete the task. Sometimes, these personality types need motivation or inspiration in order to complete a task and wait for the deadline in order to provide them with the necessary “kick” to get the job done.

Unfortunately, because the corporate world operates on schedules and structure, Perceptive types are often made to feel bad or wrong for wanting to have options. They may internalize these feelings and believe that something is wrong with them and that they can’t hold a job or succeed in academics. Self doubt and low self esteem can contribute to avoidance due to the fear of failure and rejection caused by inappropriate expectations. At this point, positive, personality driven, procrastination becomes confused with avoidance.

Intuitive/Perceptive types are especially prone to procrastination and are more likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder as well. Intuitives are imaginative and conceptual which renders them less tactile and pragmatic than their Sensor counterparts. They are more prone to overthinking and daydreaming, which when combined with the Perceptive trait, increases the risk of boredom and procrastination. Procrastination which is due to overthinking and daydreaming can become a type of escape, which is avoidance, by the Ego and becomes a form of self-sabotage.

For personality types who are prone to procrastination, it is important that you distinguish between that which is motivated by the desire for personal freedom and independence and that which is motivated by the fear of failure or self doubt. Feeler type personalities are more sensitive to the opinions of others and are more prone to the fear of failure. However, those with ADD will also be sensitive to doubt and possible failure due to past struggles. As a caregiver or manager, it would be helpful to discern the motivation behind delays in productivity. If you know the individual is capable of performing the task, it may be helpful to determine if s/he is bored, feels restricted in some way or is afraid of failure. Identification will enable the appropriate blockages to be removed.

Jail Lesson: Don’t Look For Your Soul Mate In Jail

After having finished up clearing out the suicide watches one afternoon, I was making my way back to the office. As I was passing through Book In, I saw a slip of paper sliding across the floor. I bent over and intercepted it and looked at the young lady who had launched it toward the holding cell. Curious as to why someone would be passing notes in jail, I opened the note to see a name and telephone number. I looked over at the holding cell to see the male recipient looking back with a sheepish, angelic grin. I tore the note in half and told the female “you don’t want to be picking up guys in jail.” I thought to myself that I would hate to be doing couples’ counseling  years later and find out that they had first met in jail.

All of us are attracted to subconscious cues when it comes to finding a mate. If we happen to have been raised in a dysfunctional family we will invariably seek out the cues with which we are familiar. This explains the reason why we continue to pick partners who abuse, take advantage, or enable self defeating patterns no matter how bad previous relationships have been. We may think that we are attracted to the color of their eyes, or the cute way they smile, but in reality, if we don’t find something “familiar” about our love interest, chances are we won’t pursue the relationship. Often, it is this familiar element that perpetuates the pattern. You may think that you’re attracted to “strong” men when in reality the attraction is to immaturity. You may feel that you prefer independent women when the truth is you pick those who are emotionally unavailable.

We have an incredible capacity to deceive ourselves, and our Egos will go to extraordinary lengths to remain in control, even though its beliefs and actions are not in our own best interests. In fact, Negative Energy such as Addiction, Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Fear of Failure, and the Fear of Rejection become so entangled with our Ego that they almost become personality traits. This is why the road to recovery is often long and difficult because we are fighting against our own Ego which has long been deceived and finds it difficult to let go of what it believes and fears. Add to this the total destruction of basic trust, as in the case of abandonment or physical or sexual abuse, and the journey becomes even more challenging.

There is only one Source of Truth, and that is Positive Energy. Authenticity is tied to Truth; therefore, in order to be our true, authentic Self we must function, at least mostly, in Positive Energy. Until that happens, we are living an “alternate” reality. We are not functioning as we were designed to function, neither are we fulfilling our purpose or utilizing our talents in a way that brings personal fulfillment. While it could be argued that the Narcissist is always fulfilled and seeks nothing other than self contentment, the wake of destruction, heartache and injustice caused by their actions is testimony to their Negative Energy. Narcissists do not operate in Love, Truth or Freedom. While they may experience happiness, they do not know true Joy which exists only  in the Positive realm.

Due to the deceptive nature of the Ego, Surrender is the only viable pathway to Positive Energy. One cannot simply decide to pick the opposite type of person with whom they have always been in relationship in order to defeat their negative pattern. The dynamic will simply “flip” and you will find yourself being the controller instead of the enabler or vice-versa. In order for true change to take place, the deception must be uncovered in the Light of Truth and Wisdom must be allowed to set new patterns in alignment with Love, Life and Freedom. Not only must one surrender the old way of thinking and doing, but he must surrender to Wisdom and Truth with a new set of behaviors. This will obviously require developing a new support structure in the form of new friends, advisers and most likely, professional help.  At any rate, Acceptance and Resolve will be needed to make the change. But then, after all, what better things do you have to do?

Jail Lesson: No More Bail Outs

One of my main duties while working as a mental health clinician in a regional jail was monitoring suicide watch. This was back in the day when all the inmate was given to wear was a paper, hospital gown in order to prevent hanging. This was particularly unpleasant since the material was flimsy and the inmate would invariably end up naked in a short time. I would have to check suicide watch daily in order to ensure that inmates who were not suicidal would be released quickly. Although they were constantly monitored by jail personnel, the experience could be brutal, especially over the weekend.

On one particular occasion, I received a request to see an inmate who had scratched his wrist in order to be seen by the clinician. When I arrived, he assured me that he was not suicidal but that he was in need of assistance. “I need you to call my father,” he said. The request took me aback at first and I asked him why he was not able to do this himself. He related that he had lied to, cheated, stolen from and betrayed his father’s trust and that now, he would not take his collect calls from jail.  Thinking that the inmate was remorseful and wanting to make amends, I asked him what he wanted me to say to his father. “I need him to bail me out,” he stated without emotion or hesitation.

Appalled at his brashness and manipulative behavior, I decided to let his actions have their intended effect. I assured him that I would take care of his problem and I knew just what he needed. It was Friday and I simply walked off without taking any further action. On Monday when I returned, the inmate had spent the entire weekend on suicide watch and was not at all happy to see me. I told him that part of his problem was that someone had always bailed him out. I admonished him to remember this weekend, naked in a jail cell, and to promise himself that he would never allow his addiction to put him in that position again. Bail outs prevent one from experiencing the consequences of diseased thinking and behavior, and delay the necessary pain that motivates one to change.

No doubt, his father had bailed him out many times, probably in more ways than one. While his father may have felt that he was showing love in protecting his son from the consequences of his actions, he was actually giving his progeny a free pass to over indulge and become further entangled in addiction. An addict needs a co-dependent in order to continue feeding his addiction. Co-dependents need the addict to feel needed, to rescue, to care for and to get  validation. Although their actions are destined to fail, co-dependents believe they are showing love by being martyrs and sacrificing for the addict. This is a pattern that was established early in childhood and it is tied to a belief system which presupposes that one’s worth and value comes from performance and service to others.

Addiction and Co-dependency go hand in hand. The solution is not simply to take responsibility for their actions or just be more firm. They both need to address irrational belief systems of the Ego and deal with underlying trauma. Their Egos have become entangled with addiction which has infected them to their core. In order to be released, much Acceptance and Surrender work needs to be done. Both will have to come to the conclusion that they are worthy apart from their behavior and learn to love themselves without the need for substitutes and coping mechanisms. It isn’t so much an issue of being “responsible” as it is becoming liberated to truly be one’s Self.

Jail Lesson: Stop Hanging Out With Death

In response to a medical slip requesting counseling services, an inmate assured me that he was not trying to receive psychotropic medication as many do to help pass their time in jail. He stated that he was just passing through on a court appearance while serving time in prison and would not benefit from a referral to the psychiatrist. “I really do need to talk to somebody,” he stated. As he was talking, I was busy assessing his body language looking for cues of dishonesty, nervousness and overall disposition. The inmate stated that he had recently been diagnosed as HIV positive and was struggling with depression. He stated, “I’ve done a lot of bad things, but I don’t deserve to die!”

While observing the inmate’s mannerisms, I noticed a couple of the many tattoos that covered his arms. “What is that tattoo right there,” I inquired. “A skull,” he replied. “What does that represent,” I asked. “Death,” was his response. “And the skull with fire coming out of his eyes?”; “Death,” was his response again. “Guess who just showed up,” I said before I could even think. “If you want Life, you’re going to have to switch sides,” I told him.

At some point, “Death” and our Ego join forces simply because our Ego is so susceptible to Negative Energy. Negative Energy is forceful, manipulative, deceptive, and controlling by its very nature. The Ego is prone to fear and anxiety simply because it cannot understand spiritual principles and often arrives at erroneous conclusions. Positive Energy is spiritually based and intrinsically valuable and operates in Harmony with other positive principles. You cannot “force” Peace, Love or Freedom on to someone no matter how much you may desire it for them. Yes, boundaries must be maintained; in fact, boundaries are necessary for self-respect and personal intention. However, this “force” has more to do with self preservation and personal investment rather than the coercion of another.

In order to make the switch from “Death” to “Life”, one must first realize that a change needs to occur. As in the epiphany demonstrated above, when the consequences of Death finally arrive, a greater portion of the Truth is revealed. Often, this revelation opens the door to even more Truth that there is Hope and Healing available.  This is the “rock bottom” effect mentioned so often by recovering addicts. It comes when one has finally exhausted all attempts to save himself and he is ready to take advantage of the help and support he so desperately needs.

It is not our goal to try to avoid Negative Energy altogether. In fact, we should not view Negative Energy as “bad” or even “evil”, although evil would certainly exist in the negative realm. Our goal is to enjoy all the benefits Life has to offer and in order to do so, we must first see the value of Life and its principles. Having seen their value we must then be willing to invest in them in order to reap their benefits. It is not our objective  to try to be “good” or to “follow the rules” in order to receive a reward from God or the Universe; rather, our objective is to “invest” in ourselves by surrendering to the laws and principles of Positive Energy such as Health, Success, Peace, Love and Freedom. In doing so, we allow our unique gifts, talents and characteristics to flourish and live a Life of abundance and personal fulfillment.

Jail Lesson: Don’t Trade Your Serenity

What follows is a series of encounters I had while working as a mental health clinician at a regional jail, the location of which I shall leave undisclosed. I was teaching a class on Serenity and explaining how that, since it was a spiritual concept, it was not relegated to physical circumstances. I stated that one could experience Serenity no matter in what situation he found himself, if he simply meditated on Truth and allowed the Truth to override his limited understanding.

The following week, one student stated that he had, in fact, found Serenity while in jail. He related how he had been reading his Bible and had arrived at the conclusion that God was in control of his situation and could release him at any time should He see fit to do so. “So what happened” I asked. He stated that he had awakened early one morning in order to get a hot shower. He related that showering alone is a luxury in jail and is something which he relished. He went on to explain that when he entered the shower, he discovered that someone had “taken a dump” in the middle of the room. “Of all the things,” he moaned, “We are all in the same boat in here, just trying to get by the best we can and someone is so inconsiderate…” He said; “I just lost it”. I asked, “what happened to the Serenity?” “Did it leave?”; “Did it change?”. “No” he replied. “So what you’re telling me…”, I stated, “is that you traded your Serenity for a pile of shit.” “I guess”, he said, “but I really didn’t look at it that way”.

When it comes down to it, anything for which we trade our Serenity amounts to a pile of shit. Serenity focuses on that which is truly valuable. Spiritual matters, relationships, our sense of self worth, purpose and value, the every-day provision of the Universe for our peace, joy and happiness are all high priority items which deserve our attention. We often allow lesser concerns such as bills, material possessions and what others think to occupy our thoughts and attention. Often what is needed is to simply lift our eyes off of our current circumstances and allow our Spirit to change our focus to the bigger picture of the Universe and our place within it.

Granted, some situations are more difficult than others, and there are some conditions where it may be impossible not to worry such as the illness of a loved one, job loss or possibly an accident. However, some of these situations may actually have been sent by the Universe to help us get things in proper perspective. Not to say that all circumstances are orchestrated to guide us or that “everything happens for a reason”. It’s like Buddha once said, “shit happens” (or maybe it was Confucius). At any rate, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important and lose our Joy over small, insignificant, trivial matters which may seem big at the time but in light of the bigger picture are actually worthless.

 

Ego

The Ego is that part of us that we recognize as our “identity”. In actuality, it is a creation of our Mind, a sort of Avatar with which to navigate the material world. It is the earthy, primal, basic part of us, created by the Mind, which is responsible for our survival, advancement and proliferation.  In religious terms, the Ego may represent the “carnal” nature or “the flesh”. It is directly tied to the physical body, the mind and the ethereal part of the Soul such as the conscience and the paranormal. The Mind translates the information it receives into the Ego, which is then filtered through the unique temperament of the individual. Someone who is more disposed to “Thinking” will analyze the data carefully. Someone who is more of a “Feeler” will assess the emotional content and engage or disengage with others as deemed appropriate.

Any basic understanding of psychology will include the work of Dr. Abraham Maslow. Maslow is credited with the development of the Hierarchy of Needs, which identifies and categorizes human needs from the basic necessities such as food and water to more sophisticated needs such as altruistic service to mankind. Maslow’s theory suggested that certain needs are so primal and necessary that they must be met before higher, more sophisticated needs can be addressed. In fact, basic needs are so important that the Ego will go to extraordinary lengths to see that they are met. This is obvious when it comes to physical needs, as in the case of starvation or extreme thirst. However, in regard to psychological needs, the picture is not so clear. The need for Trust, Security and Validation are powerful and failure to meet these needs constitutes major trauma. The Ego will attempt to maintain congruence and eliminate cognitive dissonance whenever possible. In other words, it wants things to make sense.

Although the Ego is extremely powerful and capable of superhuman feats, it is limited to the material, physical world and vulnerable to Negative Energy. Ignorance, Deception, Anxiety and Doubt are just some of the principles of Negative Energy. As the Ego attempts to make sense of circumstances and incoming data, Negative Energy creates erroneous conclusions, unrealistic fears, and self doubt, especially when one is growing up in a negative, dysfunctional environment. The less one’s basic needs are met, the more Negative Energy is generated and the Ego must compensate for mental, emotional and psychological trauma. Irrational beliefs such as “something is wrong with me”, “I am not worthy of love or affection” become entrenched. Coping mechanisms such as lying, addictions, fantasizing and other obsessions are developed. In extreme cases, survival techniques may be employed which could include: disassociation (multiple personality); hyper-vigilance; extreme defensiveness; hoarding and violence. Add failed relationships, job loss and addiction to the mix and Positive Energy becomes a distant place.

In many cases, it takes a precipitating event to weaken the Ego enough to allow Positive Energy to shine Hope, send in Love and awaken the Spirit to new Life. Recovering addicts call it “Rock Bottom”. However, as the individual begins to recover, the Ego renews its strength and begins wrestling for control once again. It is at this point that Acceptance and Surrender become vital as a daily practice. The Spirit must be allowed to have access to Positive Energy and Surrender to the Principles of Life and the Ego must  continuously be denied control of the Will and Intention. This is not so much a “choice” as it is Intention. The recovering individual must set his or her Intention to Surrender to Wisdom, Health, Truth, Serenity and the other Principles of Life by relinquishing control to his or her Spirit rather than the Ego. This will require disavowing old irrational beliefs, coping mechanisms, substitutions and self preservation techniques and adopting new practices of meditation, acceptance, study and application.

One must begin a new journey, relinquishing the old, embracing the new. The objective is to fully become the True Self which includes a healthy, renewed Ego as well as a connected and surrendered Spirit. This will include a healthy heart with clear and firm boundaries of Self which regularly invests in and gives of its gifts, talents and resources. Age and time are not factors as one must learn to adapt to change and be present in today’s energy.

The Ego is not our enemy; rather, it is the part of our self that must learn from the Spirit and Universe to appreciate the value of Life and its Principles and Surrender to the vitality that comes as a result.