Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Egocentric Observer is Biased



Why would you think that you can know your ‘self,’ or even parts of the self, simply by self-observation or the use of introspective or meditative techniques?

The observer is biased and will tend to completely miss, or even deny awareness of aspects that cause discomfort.

However, others see what you cannot, because it is through others that you have defined your ‘self.’ We do not define and give meaning to our 'self' alone or in isolation from others, but through engagement with a world of others because 'they' are your world.

In fact, the deeper our engagement with that 'world,' the more 'defined' we become.

The ego-self is entirely other-referencing and is always in the process of defining itself, or 'becoming,' through others and the world. This is particularly true of the relationships that we choose for which to deeply engage with another, because it is through these 'intimate partnerships' that we define our deepest layers of the 'self.' We engage with others to intimately share our 'self' so that the 'self' can evolve.

Yet, why is it that we so frequently fail to create and maintain intimacy in our most significant relationships? Why is it that so many relationships fail to engage the depth between them and either remain hopelessly stuck on the surface or disengage entirely?

Individualized ego goals often impede Deep Spirit intimacy, since they reinforce separation and division resulting in chronic conflict from frequent interpersonal competition. The ego idealizes the love of another, not for how it can reinforce the others self-development, but for what it expects others will do to reinforce its own self-construct (you). The egocentric self-concept is an inner-absorbed belief 'package' whose sole function is self-preservation through pressing itself into and against a world of conflicting opposites. It perceives others as naturally opposing its projects and goals. Nevertheless, the ego believes that completion of its goals and projects will eventually provide fulfillment by firmly asserting it into its experience of a 'world.' Therefore, it picks and chooses significant 'others’ to join with in carrying out its plans of self-actualization. These are the 'loving' relationships or mutual alliances we attribute the most significance and expect will add to our individual self-fulfillment.

Yet, these significant relationships may be stifled and paralyzed by chronic conflict, simply because the embodied egos we choose to join with (in 'love') have self-actualizing goals of their own to give meaning and define their own individual self-defining. They expect you will comply with their plans, while you expect compliance with your own.

Chronic conflict with 'loved ones' is often the most severe, because your ego-self expects to negotiate a world of other egos it has NOT chosen to "love", all perceived as strangers, yet each applying meaning to their lives and often in opposition to you. However, in contrast, you expect that those you have chosen to join with 'in-love' will support your individual egocentric self-actualization and when that is not forthcoming the ego experiences betrayal.

Although the ego expects opposition from the world, it will not easily tolerate opposition from those it chooses to collude with in preserving and actualizing itself. Hence, inherent within all relationships are the conditions of betrayal.

The ego-self wants to experience the fullness of its existence based on what the world teaches it must experience in order to be "happy." Conforming to the world is how the ego-self realizes its existence as significant and not merely a made up fantasy of the mind's imagination. It must build and develop itself for fear of being swallowed up and nullified by the world it experiences as outside and separate from it. Therefore, the ego adopts projects and goals that the world teaches will result in an actualized 'self' and, as the world teaches, an actualized self is a "happy" self.

Intimate relationships are considered important, but subsidiary and subordinate to individual egoic actualization. This makes them reversible with substitutes easily available.

The problem is that most of the projects we engage in to achieve this ever allusive "happiness" are projects that promote egocentric self-absorption and reduce the importance of relationship as primary means to self-actualization. Intimate relationships are downsized and minimized as the means of self-realization and they can easily be discarded and tossed aside and substitute participants elected to ally with.

We can collude with another in achieving ego goals, however, they too seek egoic self-actualization in agreement with the world's definition of a self-actualized 'individual.' These egocentric pursuits, although not detrimental from an individual standpoint, are the antithesis of Deep Spirit intimacy in the creation and discovery of the deeper motives that join individuals. When ego goals of self actualization dominate the mind, relationships must suffer and often may expire simply for lack of attention.

Egocentric self-actualization that supersedes or takes priority over Deep Spirit intimacy, creates tension and conflict between loved ones who feel betrayed by one another. The 'chosen one' was not supposed to become a stranger in opposition but, instead, an ally in the self actualization and egocentric search for "happiness." But the allegiance was lost and now, instead of sharing your 'self' in the desire to self-actualize through union, you withhold your 'self' and gradually begin to hold the other in contempt as they also withhold from you.

Eventually the ego will experience increased anxiety in relation to the chronic stress of this constant withholding, or stifled extension, since our Deep Spirit inclination is to naturally extend to others. This anxiety will only increase, particularly if the ego's demand for control in asserting itself against the other is consistently thwarted by the significant others own self-assertion. No matter how hard you try to control external circumstances, another ego is thwarting your efforts in their attempt at control. These are the daily "control dramas" that are played out in millions of "loving" relationships, so much so, that it is often 'normalized' as typical of all intimate relationships.

When separation-anxiety increases to a boiling point, the ego then avoids conflict altogether by slowly disengaging from the relationship. Now there are only bodies in proximity, providing only surface communication in the performance of routine, superficial menial tasks, while the self is locked away in avoidance of seeking any depth. Adverse alienation sets in and we find we can no longer collaborate on even the smallest things. Eventually, the pattern becomes rigidly predictable, with no 'surprise' in the interactions, as engagement gradually becomes monotonous and mundane.

Yet, we will not disengage from our individual self-actualizing pursuits and in fact, the ego intensifies its efforts in the direction of individualized self-actualization, since the relationship no longer holds out the promise of "happiness."

Eventually, the ego may cut itself off completely from what it sees as the source of its betrayal, resulting in physical separation and eventually the severing of all ties.The ego then seeks out another for which to collude in its individual plans of self-actualization. It has no desire to realize its role in the circular nature of the conflict and denies the fact that it's as guilty as the one it blames. Therefore, it will reconstruct the same patterns of conflict in every relationship it engages with in the future.

Yet, if it can come to realize its role in the pattern of betrayal, it can then gradually begin to alter its perspective enough to engage the other toward resolution. Resolution is always assured through increased understanding, because seeking to deeply understand another is to automatically correspond with Deep Spirit. When you correspond with Deep Spirit, the ego recedes in silence, thereby ending its incessant chatter originating from its need to control reality (others). Now both can listen deeply to one another, easily redirecting patterns to allow an intimate center through which communication can naturally occur.

It only takes one to extend from this Deep Spirit, because such extension has the miraculous tendency to evoke the same extension from others and this is because it is as natural as breathing. Yet, we have lost touch with this deep inner nature, because we have become hypnotized by what society teaches will lead to fulfillment and self-actualization, rather than the intimacy with another we know will energize and bring joy into our lives. Joy is only available when shared.

To extend from Deep Spirit is the path to dissolving alienation. This is because you are no longer strangers to one another and embark in the infinite process of intimate awakening together.

To remain strangers is to give up all hope of understanding and thus, all hope of love. To correspond from Deep Spirit 'within' is to find yourself through engaging to deeply understand another. It is the spiritual ground of all relationships and, although few ever reach that level, the path is available to everyone.

Artwork by Kelly Hutchison - "The Secret Ingredient"

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