If you break it down, the term “un-conscious” is just that—all that we are that we are simply not aware of.
Ego is that part of us that we are aware or “conscious” of. Hence, ego and unconscious comprise the sum of all that we are, the known and the unknown.
Freud was able to prove that disturbing parts of who we are can be pushed out of awareness into the unconscious through a defense mechanism he called repression. Jung subsequently discovered that other parts of who we are, that go deep into our ancestry and phylogenetic heritage, reside in what he called the collective unconscious. These parts appear in dreams, visions, and fantasy and may powerfully influence the quality and behavior of our lives. Jung further discovered that the collective unconscious eventuates in infinity and houses the spirit side of who we are.
Entity can be defined as an autonomous character that is active in the unconscious part of who we are. For a variety of reasons it comes to the surface of our conscious minds and challenges the ego to contend with its will and message.
An example of this might be a conscious personality that sees itself as peaceful and loving suddenly seized by a powerful emotion of rage and unpleasant thoughts as regards a friend or family member. Perhaps in a dream that night an acquaintance they haven’t heard from in decades is encountered. When they amplify the dream by recalling the personality of the dream character, the image of an aggressive bully comes to light, someone they never felt comfortable being around in their youth.
In this example the ego is confronted with a challenge. This exaggerated bully character is certainly a hard one to “own” as a part of one’s own self. This character hardly fits the definition of one’s conscious values and how one knows oneself. However, the problem that has arisen is that one’s own ego is struggling to accept that something has irritated it and that it has an aggressive reaction to someone close to them. This is simply incompatible with how one sees oneself!
The tendency might be to see the appearance of that childhood bully in the dream as a reminder of an evil entity that tried to take possession of the ego and force it into hateful, rageful feelings and thoughts. The strategy may then call for disowning the anger and turning instead to loving thoughts for one’s close friend or family member.
However, a more astute and honest reflection might reveal that the ego has had too narrow a definition of itself, seeing itself only as positive and softly loving, disavowing the stronger and more assertive side of itself. As a consequence, the dream image of the bully may have arisen from the unconscious as a character who could balance out the extreme one-sidedness of the conscious attitude of lovingness with an equally one-sided attitude of aggressive behavior. In this scenario, the unconscious entity compensates for the ego’s imbalance, demonstrating to it the results of its narrow definition of itself, presenting it with the far greater depths of who it really is.
Taken this way, the ego is offered the opportunity to drop its false pretenses of an all-loving being and make peace with its, at times, aggressive reactions. The ego, upon further reflection, might discover that its aggressive reaction to a loved one might in fact be the most appropriate reaction to have, as that person might be taking excessive advantage of one’s loving and giving attitude and require a boundary!
Of course, if the ego is fully honest with itself it might have to admit that the outer problem probably arose in the first place because the ego felt too uncomfortable with confrontation and sought refuge in its one-sided definition of a loving self, a definition way too narrow to encompass the fuller definition of one’s true Self.
Thus, when ego encounters an entity within, it first does well to question what might have given rise to this entity at this particular time. Before casting out the devil, make sure the devil isn’t the Self in disguise!
** Please note that last week’s blog is now also available for viewing: Orgasm As Divine Encounter