Tag Archives: conscious

Chuck’s Place: We Are What We Say We Are

What we wish for is right there, beyond the boundaries we surround ourselves with…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

To make room for the new, we must clear out the old. The challenge, in letting go, is the depth of our attachment to the familiar. The identity we have forged secures us within the safety of the known.

The known identity is often heavily laden with negative and limiting beliefs, which become the boundaries of the self. To find the self in new ways, we must venture beyond the comfort of the chrysalis that has provided stability, darting past the limitations it has imposed upon the unfolding of our fuller selves.

The internal dialogue, specifically, the words we say to ourselves and others, powerfully determines the self we know. St. John begins his Gospel: “en arche en o logos” (in the beginning was the word). And that spoken word became the flesh. Or, as the Shamans of Ancient Mexico put it: words are directly linked to intent, the key to manifestation. As Descartes put it, “I think therefore I am.”

Norman Vincent Peale highlighted The Power of Positive Thinking, as a practice to suspend the power of judging words to forestall the unfolding self. We are all programmable beings, much like the Artificial Intelligence (AI) of Siri and Alexa.

Our subconscious awaits commands in the form of the words we tell it we are. Those words manifest in the behavioral patterns, moods, and beliefs that we program ourselves to automatically enact. Change the words, change the mood and the outlook.

Would, of course, that change were so simple. And yet, in many ways it is that simple. Observe the power of a charismatic leader whose words galvanize the mood of the world. This is the action of mass hypnosis, and, at some level, we are all hypnotic subjects. Why not give ourselves positive, supportive, and encouraging messages?

Always forgive the self, for everything and anything. Rather than bemoan one’s weaknesses and limitations, validate the willingness to face the full truth, and move forward unburdened with negativity.

Observe and interrupt automatic conclusions about one’s abilities, such as, “I am a terrible writer.” Reframe it with, “I am a being learning to write.”

Treat words as power objects capable of casting spells. Cast only positive spells upon the self.

Try, “I am a being open to the magic and mystery of life.”

Or, “I am a caring being open to sharing myself with a compatible other.”

Beyond the words that we consciously state are experiences we may store unconsciously, beyond our awareness, that hold their own powerful words of influence. These are made known to us through the triggers of everyday life that suddenly transport us to dark, frozen places.

To neutralize the spells these triggers cast, we must take the journey of recapitulation. In recapitulation we relive and fully retrieve our lost selves, as we open to full acceptance of every aspect of life lived. With acceptance comes love. With love comes the energy to open to new life, with all our vulnerabilities.

Finding self is the journey of a lifetime. Carefully chosen, supportive words and ongoing recapitulation are the tools to achieve this wholeness of self. Exercise these tools! See what happens!

Warm words,



Chuck’s Place: Ego & Entity**

We are more than we think we are... like this double shadowed being! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We are more than we think we are…
like this double shadowed being!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

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!

Somewhere in all that darkness and confusion there is a centered and calm being... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Somewhere in all that darkness and confusion there is a centered and calm being…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

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

Chuck’s Place: Trickster To Trickster

At a certain level of reality, I and We become One. Growth might be defined as an ever-expanding realization of our essential Oneness. In the meantime, we grapple with the discovery, ownership, and coordination of our many parts.

Who is really in charge here? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Who is really in charge here?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Within the self of every “individual” are many parts: some known, many unknown, and still others disowned. Psychology has coined the terms conscious and unconscious to differentiate between those parts that we know about from those that we don’t know about but also are.

At the center of the known self—the seat of consciousness—is the ego. The ego has many “parts,” including the “face” it shows the world, called the persona, as well as a younger child state, and an adult state. Each of these parts has its own ambitions, needs, and motives. Being conscious “parts” allows each of these centers to have relative accessibility to awareness. That is, we are basically familiar with these states of being. They may, and often do, squabble among themselves.

For instance, the persona—the actor that we present to the world—often sees itself as the true self. The fact that I am a psychotherapist is indeed a real part of me, however, it is not the whole of who I am.

In another example, the adult ego, with its capacity to plan, organize, and make things happen, may trump the needs and desires of its child part, who wants to play.

The permutation of struggles at the ego level alone are staggering, particularly when the parts become tricksters in their maneuvering.

Trickster is a character who has an ulterior motive, a secret ambition or intention that powers its behavior. Trickster has little interest in fairness, cooperation, or consciousness. It’s goal is to get what it wants.

Trickster may be intelligent and cunning, or foolish and obvious, but trickster definitely does not play by the rules. Nonetheless, if we are willing to slow down the action and reflect, the trickster in all our conscious parts can be identified and a resolution to contradictory motives becomes possible.

However, when we approach the depths of the unconscious mind the plot thickens, as trickster can allude all but a very determined introspection.

The unconscious mind, all that we don’t know of who we are, is composed of countless layers. The uppermost region houses all that once was conscious but for a myriad of reasons has been erased from conscious awareness. Here we find many traumatic experiences, as well as parts of the ego-potential deemed unworthy of development.

Traumatic parts have a life of their own and often function as tricksters bent on being discovered by the conscious mind. For instance, a news item on TV might trigger an intense emotional overreaction, brought on by a traumatic memory insisting on being consciously redeemed.

Similarly, rejected ego parts—forming what Jung called the shadow—may function as tricksters by projecting a compelling but distorted perception onto the motives  of a friend or foe that actually reflects the true feelings of the rejected inner part but completely distorts outer reality.

As we go deeper into the unconscious mind we encounter what Jung called the anima/animus parts, the contrasexual components of the psyche, unrealized at a conscious level. These parts have their trickster ability to project themselves in powerful attractions to people in the world that distort completely who they really are. These trickster entrapments form the core of many troubled relationships.

At the center of the unconscious mind is the Self, the CEO of the entire psyche. The role of the Self is to establish balance in the entire psyche—conscious and unconscious. The Self is the higher power of the psyche. Ideally, the ego center of the conscious personality will subordinate itself to the dictates of the Self, which has the interests of the greater whole in mind.

Unfortunately, the ego often takes on its own trickster side, subverting the true needs of the Self, using all its power for decision and free will to accomplish its own aims.

If the imbalance thereby generated is too extreme, the Self counters with its own trickster side and generates symptoms of fear in the ego, such as an agoraphobia, where the ego can’t leave the house. To rein the ego in, the Self can also create psychosomatic symptoms, such as panic attacks or physical illness, to interfere with the ego’s willfulness.

The Self might also generate dreams that preempt the ego’s control through a terrifying nightmare that restores the waking ego to humility.

Yup, that says it all! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Yup, that says it all!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The difference between Self as trickster and all the other personality parts as trickster is its selfless intentions. The Self seeks unity and balance as its aim. When the other parts of the personality employ the trickster, it generally reflects a power play to meet individual needs, often at the expense of the greater needs of the overall Self.

The Self is only forced to become the trickster when the ego refuses to listen to its guidance. When the ego, like a good General, looks to the Self as Ruler, the Self responds with supportive guidance, energy, and freedom from symptoms.

So, trickster to trickster, stay in alignment with the Self, a much smoother ride to wholeness!

Bumping along,