Issue 20 November 2005
1. Question From Australia:
Is the Aware Ego the same as the Higher-Self
or the “I AM” used in other new-age modalities?
From Hal Stone and Sidra Stone
The Aware Ego is not a thing. It is a process that is always changing and in flux. It is best explained by example.
Imagine that you come to see us because you have headaches. I interview you and discover that you are a very responsible person. You do things for everyone and have very little ability to say no. Having made this observation and talked about it with you, it is time to do some work to clarify the place of responsibility in your life.
We ask you to move your chair to another place where sits the voice of responsibility. We then begin to talk with this voice or self in you and learn about its place in your personality. We discover when it started to get strong in you and how it affects your decision making process and many other things. Having completed this discussion, Iwe now ask you to move back to the place where you were sitting before we started the work.
As you move back to this central position you are very surprised to realize that you have been identified with this Voice of Responsibility and that it has run your life. You now have an Aware Ego Process happening in relationship to the Voice of Responsibility. It most certainly will require additional sessions to help you to make the separation from this powerful self system but over time the Aware Ego Process becomes stronger and you begin to have the ability to say yes or no to people when they ask things of you.
In another session we might work the disowned self since we have already begun the separation from the primary self (Responsibility). In this case we might ask you to move to the other side of center and then we would talk to the selfish side of yourself that doesn’t want to always do things for others but wants you to do more for yourself. After the work you would come back to the center position and now you have an Aware Ego Process in relationship to the Selfish part of you. It is in the Aware Ego Process that we learn to stand between opposites and learn how to appreciate and began to use both of them.
From the perspective of the Psychology of the Aware Ego, the higher self is a group of selves, a system of different energies that are clustered together and to which we refer to as the higher self. To learn about the higher self, we would ask you to move and we would spend time with this self system. Some of our contact might be verbal, but some might be might also be purely energetic. No one knows what you mean by higher self until we spend time with it. Afterwards we would ask you to return to the center place and you now have an Aware Ego in relationship to the higher self.
The opposite of the higher self would be the ordinary self, or the self that just rejects spirituality or consciousness work. In relationship it is often the case that this disowned self is carried by one’s partner.
Let us imagine that you are meditating and you have an epiphany. You feel Gods presence; you feel the angels of heaven; you feel the presence of the Great Mother and you are really totally in this other realm. You have lost your personal identity for the moment and you are totally merged with the energies of the higher self.
So long as you are in a body you will ultimately leave this state and open your eyes and now you are back in your body and the world in which you live. Just then your wife knocks on the door and says -” Milton – would you take out the garbage. This house stinks – and remember that you have to drive the children to soccer practice. They have to be there in 20 minutes!” Your trip to paradise has suddenly ended.
If you are identified with the higher self you will have no way to deal with this situation because you don’t have a proper relationship to the everyday life of the family. Running the house becomes the wife’s burden and she resents your spirituality and the way it takes you away from what she sees as the realities of living.
It is the Aware Ego process that has the possibility of relating to the divinity of the experience and also to the demands of marriage and children and everything else that is required of us when we live in a body. The degree to which you are identified with the higher self and have no Aware Ego process is exactly the degree the people around you will attack you and judge you and oftentimes be totally unappreciative of your whole spiritual path because they never feel honored in this kind of situation.
Our job in life is to learn to become aware of and to experience all of the selves. Once we learn to stand between this amazing array of opposites, the higher self being but one of these, then the unconscious has a chance to bring to us an amazing enrichment through our dreams and our general insight process. We refer to this as a psycho-spiritual path and it is a very different way to move in the world.