The Aware Ego Process
Something liberating happens when you become aware of and start to experience a separation from your primary self (your ego). It’s a process that enables you to experience the parts of yourself that your primary self has suppressed.
Your primary self – usually referred to as the operating ego in mainstream psychology – is not all of who you are.
Your primary self develops in response to your environment in order for you to survive and thrive in that environment. This process requires that you disown the parts of you that threaten your survival, or to not use parts that you don’t believe are valued in your environment.
So, depending on your family and culture, your birth order, your genetic predispositions and other conditions, a particular primary self will emerge in you. And it is this primary self that you come to identify with as you, that you believe is wholly you.
Many people live their whole lives as their primary self. Others might gradually realise there’s more to who they are.
You might become aware that you are always playing a particular role, or that you are always repeating certain habits and responses, and would like the ability to behave and feel differently. Maybe you fantasise or dream about being a different person to who you usually are.
You might even behave in different ways – or even become a completely different self – in particular circumstances such as after drinking alcohol or doing something out of the ordinary.
Many people go through a dramatic life change at some point, such as mid-life crisis or during a major illness, when selves they have disowned for a long time come to the surface of their psyche. They might leave their relationship and family and start behaving in self-destructive and hurtful ways.
When you understand what’s going on and consciously start the process of integrating your disowned selves, the process of growing fully into your whole self is far gentler. You don’t have to let go of the primary self/selves that have served you so far. Instead, you take the responsibility for yourself and your life and include all your inner selves in a way that works for you.
Greater Self-Awareness and Choice
When you begin this process, which the Stones have called The Aware Ego Process, you find that your sense of who you are changes. You become aware of which selves you have been identified with so far and which selves you don’t know about or have disowned and relegated to ‘the shadow’. You are still you, but you gain new perspectives and abilities and access to new energies.
You develop more choice in how you behave and feel.
So, for example, instead of feeling that you are driven, you start to realise that there is a part of you who is driven and that there is also a part of you who is not. (See this article for how to handle the demands of your inner Pusher so prevalent in today’s world.)
Instead of feeling that you are a pleaser you become aware that you have been identified with a part of you who is a pleaser but that there are also other, opposite parts such as an assertive self or adventurous self.
Rather than feeling self-critical, you can isolate your self-critical voice – the Inner Critic – and bring objectivity to it from this new space in consciousness.
The Voice Dialogue Process
Doing Voice Dialogue is a quick way to start an Aware Ego process. It involves having someone (a facilitator) speak directly with the selves of your psyche. This facilitator can be a professional Voice Dialogue facilitator, therapist or psychologist who uses this technique, or a friend or partner you have learnt to do this work with.
(I’ll be publishing a post soon on how to do a Voice Dialogue session so sign up for my newsletter below to be informed of when that will be available.)
During this dialoguing process you experience a separation from the self being dialogued with. The separation involves awareness that you have been identified with a self and an experience of the self as distinct from you, which together give you an Aware Ego in relation to the self you have just identified and separated from.
The Aware Ego Process is the Real Gift of Voice Dialogue
The Aware Ego is the essence, the core, the real gift of the Voice Dialogue system. It is a space that allows for something other to come through – source, the universe, the intelligence of life, or whatever you want to name the underlying energy/power/intelligence that keeps the universe going.
The Aware Ego is not a spiritual energy for there are opposites to spiritual energies that are equally valid parts of life, yet it is a spiritual process in the sense that the experience is an awe-inspiring one where you realise there is something other, something greater and with far more intelligence than your normal ego identification.
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