“A lot of people jump into higher consciousness, and forget about lower consciousness. They haven’t done their ego work, their feeling work. They’re bliss’d out. It’s just another mood alteration, and it’s a hell of a trip. I did it myself….it became very important to me to realize all of that was a kind of intellectual defense – a wonderful mood alteration, compulsive spirituality. It was a way to stay out of my feelings. I think all that stuff is really valid, but if you don’t do your ego work – what I call the original pain work – it WILL pull you back” – John Bradshaw
Have you ever felt highly motivated about something, you feel great about it and slowly but surely that motivation fades away and you feel like your back where you started? I feel like that happens to me a lot in a lot of different areas. One for example is when I want to start working out and feeling healthy. I will start to wakeup early, maybe do some morning exercise videos. Eat a healthy breakfast, maybe even juice and drink some tea. Go to the gym after work, occasionally fit in some bikram yoga. Start a nice bedtime routine and feel wonderful like “This is how the day should go everyday“. Then slowly but surely over the course of a few weeks, sometimes even just a few days, some of the new habits starts to fall off until eventually I’m back where I started agonizing over why I can’t keep going.
One of the first things we learned in class was the different realms we work from. At the top there is the physical realm. The act of DOING stuff. Underneath that is the Mental realm which is our THINKING. Next under that the Emotional realm which of course is our FEELING. Together the Mental realm and the Emotional Realm is what we call our EGO. Underneath that is the unconscious, things that are there but we do not remember whatsoever. And lastly under that is our Spiritual Realm aka our Authentic Self which is one of Love, acceptance, peace, joy etc. It’s who we TRULY are, our SOUL.
DOING leads to THINKING leads to FEELING. Things that are in the unconscious are unknown of course (otherwise we’d be conscious of them) and those things will come up as they need to when its perfect time for you to deal with them.
So to explain this method of DOING something and feeling motivated and then regressing back to your original state, we have to look and work on our ego. Our ego likes to play tug of war with our authentic self. It doesn’t like being pushed to the side and forgotten about. So in moments when we feel our Authentic self and we act on it, our ego will feel a bit left out so you know what he does? He gently and sometimes not so gently will start to a game of tug of war with our soul.
The soul has us thinking and feeling “You will feel wonderful…you will be at peace and grateful and full of love and wanna dance in the field of happiness with the world” well the ego pulls back and says “oh no….you can’t forget about me…I’m gonna make you feel separated, jealous, intolerance and anger” and he lead us into situations in which we will be forced to deal with all the mental and emotional unresolved issues that were stopping us from acting from our Authentic selves in the first place.
We might feel very spiritual and authentic in a moment but unless we have the knowledge, skills, and experience etc to deal with and resolve the stuff the ego has brung forth, we will be unable to sustain the positive physical actions. On the other hand when you are able to resolve them, when you find yourself in situations, the feelings the ego will try to push on you will no longer bother you and it is then when you can consistently start to move forward in the physical task you are wanting to progress in.
I have come to see how this pattern has been true for me. I have been living in a sort of spiritual entertainment state for the last 4 years. Reading the books, attending the seminars, helping others, feeling the bliss from the positive physical actions. But I also know I have done very little to really work on the ego aka original pain work. I just haven’t had the right skills to be able to effectively do so. So with no fail, I do find myself pulled back into a war in which my ego likes to win. That one time I skip out on going to the gym or eat something bad takes me to a place of negative self talk, shame, and all the pain work that had me in a place of “not-doing” to begin with and that discourages me until im back at…..you guessed it NOT DOING!
The question then becomes, Well Barista, how do we deal with ego and the pain work? How can we work to dissolve it?
That answer can be different for everyone. I don’t know if I have that answer. Previously for me the answer was to read lots of spiritual books, listen to online conferences, read uplifting blogs, immerse myself in spirituality and while that all is awesome, without doing the “pain work”, it’s nothing much different then alcohol or drugs. It became addicting because it’s was giving me the blissful feeling without having to deal with the hard stuff. And when stuff did get hard it became really easy to blame others…well he isn’t doing all the “work” I’m doing so he just doesn’t understand.
Listening to people talk and reading blogs are good but it’s just words. It’s just someone talking or me reading. Doing yoga, juicing, exercising, attending seminars, even me making a move and applying to school and any other “spiritual” practice is all good stuff, definitely GREAT STARTS but if you’re just using it to temporarily forget about the “pain work” and not experiencing and dissolving the ego then you WILL find yourself back in the same place you were before you started.
This is one reason I am highly appreciative and grateful for my school in this moment. It is giving me the tools and most importantly the experience in a safe environment which is VERY important. I am able to not only work on myself through experience with my classmates but I also get to experience these classmates as other souls working on the same goal. Connect to their loving essence. This is teaching me to release judgement and learn self compassion and compassion for others. Having this experience in this type of environment then allows me to enter into the “outside world” which may not feel so safe all the time, and allows me to fully practice and recreate the feelings I have created inside the safe environment. Not only that its one full weekend at a time.
Although I do highly recommend USM to everyone on the planet, I’m not suggesting its the only way to go. But I am suggesting to find the support that works for you. One that allows you to practice without judgement and one that is full of love and acceptance. You’re current practices may work but when you see that ego surface use that opportunity to figure out the underlying pains and work on dissolving those.
A common thing for us to do is to blame and try to change the outside factors so we don’t have to deal with what’s going on inside of us. but it’s when we learn to take responsibility for those moments that we start to dissolve them. Those moments may not always feel so great. There is crying, and headaches, and lots and lots of turmoil, but there’s also connection and love and forgiveness and acceptance…most importantly in yourself. The ego can then no longer sustain our authentic selves and our soul becomes stronger. It’s when feeling and thinking those qualities in ourselves that we no longer have to blame the outside world. We then welcome it with open arms and love. These are the moments in which you grow and good news is, those are the moments that prove you are willing to feel alive. If you aren’t feeling the Ying and the Yang, you are moving through life dead and we all know there’s no fulfillment in that.
In what areas do you find yourself highly motivated but then regressed? Do you notice if you are pushing away the ego or do you work on dissolving it? Take a moment to look at your practice and see where you can improve on the pain work.
Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments section below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else
Stay tuned and see how my process is developing along the way while attending USM.
Ps: If you are indeed ready to start working on dissolving the issues that are holding you back, I am Very very proud to announce USM is still enrolling students. The only requirement is that you want to become a better YOU. While, if you qualify, you can get your Masters Degree, there are people that aren’t working on that. Being that it’s only one weekend a month, you can live anywhere on the planet and attend. There are people in my class from Boston, Florida, Virginia, Canada, Mexico and many more places other than Los Angeles. Invest in YOU. ITS YOUR TIME!
for more info click here