Issue 36 – July 2008
What is the Aware Ego’s role
Drs Hal & Sidra Stone
Question: When we are in the Aware Ego Process, do we try to “make the selves happy”, i.e. cater to their wishes, or do we listen and reassure them that they will be fine, even if in a particular situation we do not do exactly what they want us to do?”
Answer: If we were to try to make the selves happy, to emphasize the satisfaction of the selves, we would be looking at the Aware Ego process as a parent that must care for the selves as though they were children. This view would place the Aware Ego in a position of responsibility and would be quite restrictive. A new set of rules would replace the ones held by the primary selves and the Aware Ego would lose its fluidity and creativity.
In actuality, the Aware Ego process does take care of the selves – but not always in the way they would wish. It honors and embraces them in such a way that their energies are represented in our overall consciousness process and in the daily living of our lives.
For instance, you must make a decision of whether or not to call Mom on Sunday. The loving child might want to telephone her mother each Sunday, while a self that realizes we need to rest doesn’t want to do so. Just knowing both of these selves and feeling them deeply gives a voice to each and includes them in your life – the Aware Ego must feel the pain of the loving child if you decide not to phone and, conversely, feel the annoyance or disappointment of the selfish self if you do decide to phone.
Whether or not you phone, and whether or not both selves are convinced of the wisdom of your choice is beside the point. Basically, you are leaving neither behind and – at some level – they know this and appreciate it. You are exercising and expanding your Aware Ego as you feel the opposites and come up with the best possible decision at this moment. When we are in an Aware Ego process, we can come up with really creative suggestions – perhaps you call your mother but you speak to her on your cell phone from a hammock with a cool drink beside you instead of phoning her from the office while you try to do your email and listen to her at the same time – as you usually do. Even more important, you are learning to live with the opposites – the ambiguity of real life.
We do not see the role of the Aware Ego process as focused upon caretaking the selves. Our aim for the Aware Ego process is to hold the tension of oppositesrather than try to satisfy any particular self. The Aware Ego process is an evolving and dynamic part of consciousness – something that we believe is an evolutionary step beyond the traditional ego. It is an ego that combines Awareness (or the traditional witness position of the meditator) with the experience of opposing selves to come up with an entirely new way of living life.
This way of dealing with life allows for our decision making to come from a deeper wisdom one in which archetypal information blends with personal experience. It invites our dreams to ignite, to give us information, and to guide us in our daily lives. We are able to move into the traditionally spiritual realms of the unfolding of our own soul’s journey. Sometimes we think of this as a move towards “enlifen-ment” as contrasted with “enlightenment.