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Ego, Shadow, Self – Which Is In Control?

Ego Shadow And Self

Most of our actions are unconscious. We simply react in real-time.

Modern neuroscience tells us we are consciously aware of about 5% of our thoughts. Most of our behaviors and emotions are reactions to the 95 percent of brain activity that occurs beneath our awareness.

At the root of our automatic, knee-jerk reactions to life is a lack of self-knowledge. Modern wisdom says you should just be yourself: very appealing because no effort is required. Older wisdom says you should cultivate the self because a consciously directed life is much more likely to satisfy and bring meaning.

According to Eastern and Western psychology, we have an ego/persona, a shadow, and a self. The simplest way to understand them is:

Ego is your identity, while the persona is the mask you wear to survive and thrive – your social personality.

Shadow is the aspect you hide so that you can integrate and find acceptance.

Self is your true inner nature, who you are, and who you always will be. It actually includes the ego and the shadow.

In many cases, identity and relationship issues, and mental health problems stem from these three parts of ourselves working independently (often in opposition) rather than in harmony with each other.

Psychological education and inner-reflection methods such as meditation create healthy, harmonious selves.

Where to begin?

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How to use relaxation to reduce the negative effects of stress, handle traumatic events, prevent overwhelm, and feel safe and secure.

Polyvagal Theory – Ruby Jo Walker

This chart has been put together by Ruby Jo Walker and is based on the work of Stephen Porges. It clearly explains in visual form what happens to us when our stress builds to intolerable levels as it does in trauma.

Yoga, relaxation, and meditation are powerful tools that are now being used by clinicians to help patients gain control over the residue of past trauma and return to being the master of their own lives.

They have shown that along with talking therapies and the appropriate use of drugs that dampen hyperactive alarm systems, traumatic imprints from the past can be transformed by having embodied experiences that directly contradict the helplessness, rage, and collapse that are part of trauma.

Embodied experiences deal directly with traumatic memories that are held in the body. This is achieved by using systems, such as yoga and meditation, that build feelings of relaxation, of being grounded and safe, of being able to trust the present moment, and thereby enable you to restore your ability for connection and joy. As a result, the old traumatic memories are stripped of their emotional intensity so that you are freed from the past and are thereby able to regain a degree of self-mastery.

All the knowledge in the world is not going to help you unless you develop the skill of embodied relaxation. Without developing relaxation your body will remain stuck in tension and hypervigilance, and feelings of relaxation, safety and intimacy will be vague memories.

Porges polyvagal theory

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D. is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium.

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How Stress Wrecks Your Brain and What To Do About It

Did you know that chronic, unresolved stress can create an imbalance between the self-aware, rational, decision making, and problem-solving parts of your brain (the pre-frontal cortex) and the emotion and memory controlling parts of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus)?

Long-term (chronic) stress alters your thinking, emotion, and behavior and over time changes the size, structure, and function of parts of your brain. Chronic stress also shortens the length of your chromosomes and interferes with how your genes express themselves, making you more vulnerable to disease.

How your ability to learn and remember shrinks

The hippocampus, the learning and memory center of the brain, shrinks as a result of chronic stress. Neurons die and the connections between neurons in the hippocampus become weaker, which is detrimental to your memory. Memories become fragmented making it hard for you to keep track of what you are doing. You might have brain fog and be unable to think creatively.

Amygdala-hippocampus
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How I Found My Inner Calling And Revolutionised My Life {Case Study of Louise Gardener}

Mother of two teenage children and owner of a prestigious UK social research company, Louise Gardener knew she needed to respond to an inner calling even though it threatened her status, finances, and lifestyle. Here’s how she discovered and answered the call.

Words by Louise

As a 40-year-old co-owner of a successful independent research company with a family of two teenagers, creating time to study the find life purpose course both challenging and life-changing.

Having graduated from Oxford University and married soon after, I worked as a special-effects and computer graphics producer with some of the biggest names in film and TV during my 20s, then decided I really wanted children as I turned 30.

Blessed with a healthy son and daughter by the age of 33, I knew that being present and caring for them was the most important thing, so I left the film and TV industry. I formed a company offering social research and analysis to the UK government, international charities, and liaising between academia and public policy on issues of education, sustainability, health, and justice.

It meant I could align and orientate my work around my family.

A longtime friend, Sebastian Pole founder of Pukka Herbs pointed me toward Big Shakti’s work. I am a lover of learning and found their meditations extremely effective. I enjoyed them daily with my young children after lunch.

When the Find life’s Purpose Course became available, I was excited to take part. I found the learning process deeply engaging and supportive. The guidance, using the two wings of theory and practice to fly, encouraging action even if we make mistakes, and taking as much time as needed, resonated with me.

Through following the deceptively simple yet profoundly effective yoga and meditation knowledge and practices, I realised a gnawing feeling inside.

Something in me needed to be expressed.

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Why Your Shadow Makes You Say And Do Things That Are Not ‘You’

We all do it.

Things are humming along nicely, then — from out of the blue — something triggers us.

We lose our filter. Honest feelings rise and pop.

We say or do something that surprises or shocks us, and everyone within earshot.

Someone gets hurt, and we feel lousy.

When this happens to you, you probably spend the rest of the day scrambling to fix the mess. “I’m sorry.” “I wasn’t thinking.” “I’m under a lot of pressure.” “I just wasn’t myself.”

You beat yourself up, vow to get a handle on yourself and never to let loose again. You don’t want to be like that, ever.

The fallout of your sudden outburst can be a hiccup or a hurricane.

A sarcastic comment, a disgruntled rant, and a punch in the face will each elicit a different response. As will a teary outburst, a jealous accusation, and a racial slur.

Those caught in your line of fire may easily forgive you, never speak to you again, or see you in court.

If you weren’t yourself, who were you at that moment?

Where did the other you come from?

That other you is another part of you. It’s the unwanted you — the part you keep hidden, most of the time.

You keep this part of yourself hidden because you find it unattractive, unacceptable, or abhorrent. It’s not how you want your family, friends, and co-workers to see you.

The unwanted you corrupts your self-image and is a blight on your ego.

The psychological term for the unwanted you is the shadow.

Your shadow is the refuge for all the traits, behaviors, feelings and impulses that your ego rejects.

How Your Shadow Is Created

“Everything that is, casts a shadow.”
― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

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Clarity Of Purpose For Renewal

Who you believe you are, how you relate to others and how you engage with the world around you is directly aligned with your life purpose or lack of purpose.

8 Things Your Life Purpose Can Do For You

  1. Your life purpose is the ‘why’ of your existence. Connecting with purpose reduces self-doubt, and increases self-esteem and confidence. When you have a purpose you feel useful, your actions are meaningful and valuable to yourself and others.
  2. Your purpose orientates both your inner life and your outer life. It’s the anchor that keeps you grounded, and the wheel that steers your direction.
  3. Your purpose creates experiences. The sum of these experiences creates your life.
  4. Your purpose takes you out of your comfort zone to courageously seek resources, education, mentors and helpers on your journey.
  5. Your purpose unifies your actions. Rather than being distracted, fragmented or unsure, your purpose gives you focus, enabling you to narrow your field of activity. You know the next thing to do, and the next.
  6. Your purpose is wise and ingenious. Once you make a sincere attempt to connect with it, your life purpose ignites your creativity. New ideas light up your mind, and you begin to think laterally and more creatively on how to fulfill it.
  7. Your purpose is not all about you. It’s bigger than you. Once you are aligned with and in flow with your purpose you realize that, rather than having a purpose, your purpose has you.
  8. Your purpose inspires you to bite off more than you can chew. Then, just as you feel overwhelmed by the task, purpose mainlines you into the cosmic grid and shoots a million stars into you.

5 Things You Can Do For Your Life Purpose

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