Sometimes, quicker than we know, the psychological wind gets knocked out of us. Caught off guard, our normal ego defenses are penetrated. Our psyche’s energy takes a nosedive. Our mood plummets. One moment feeling fine, the next lower than low. Much like an incoming missile, what the heck was that?
Strange how there are times when we least expect it (and other times when we are steeled against a perceived onslaught) that something, someone, a memory, an odor, a word spoken, or movie triggers an ancient pain in our psyche. This is when we discover that the emotional pool, normally off limits to those who tend to avoid their feelings, is much deeper, darker, and denser than we are even aware.
It’s the black demons that rattle around in our subconscious mind, waiting for an opportune moment to overthrow our normal well-being. At his lowest moments, Winston Churchill and his family referred to his demons as “the black dogs barking.” To the degree that our physiological balance goes out-of-kilter and the pain activated, our inner emotional dictator—and stinging saboteur—gets unleashed and is ready for a drunken binge of demeaning and controlling us!
A few days ago, it was a sunny, happy morning. We were on a fun bike outing downtown. I made what I thought was an “innocent” comment to Chris; he made one back. It hit me in a completely unexpected way. A grand ego bender was in progress. I plunged instantaneously into a reservoir of very old pain that engulfed and gripped me for more than a day. Although not a conscious thought, my collective, hidden-away wounds were activated, and the old shame swept over me, much like a small child that had just been severely criticized. Whoa, where did that intensity come from?
It was a remarkable transformation, but not one for the better. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, an acknowledged authority on depressive illnesses, would describe such an episode as “a plunge into deep waters,” a chapter title in her best-selling book, Night Falls Fast. Her writings break new ground in candidly looking at the less benign but pathological end of the continuum of depression, loss of hope, and suicide. In astrology, these deepest emotional wounds, blockages, violations, and traumas come within the domain of Chiron, where we can confront these ancient, subversive, rotting skeletons and eventually be healed, were we to do the strenuous inner work required for such a result.
My ego was off and running, in yet another unannounced, emotional binge, and I might add getting maximum drama out of it! The perceived “attack” was nothing more than Chris drawing a boundary for himself that was meant to firmly say, “enough of your corrections. I am not a child.”
What goes around, comes around, doesn’t it, when the very thing I was sending out was what my ego reacted to so fervently when I was on the receiving end of me. When we attempt to make another smaller and lower, all we do is shrink and let our self down.
I felt wretched for hours. Or more correctly, my ego felt terrible, what Eckhart Tolle describes as the “false self” or “an illusory sense of identity.” “A Course in Miracles” describes the ego as “a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all.”1 Even the insightful Albert Einstein referred to this mistaken sense of identity as “an optical illusion of consciousness.”2
Early on in our lives, the ego becomes the clever agent of often misperceiving, thus misinterpreting reality and subsequently perpetuates the delusion through habitual patterns of negative thought and future negative expectations, as well as via generalized negativity continued in either an unconscious or consciously aware modus operandi.
An ego bender or ego binge is over the moment we recognize it for what it is. It is no more than a choice and a decision. When we can stand back and observe our ego and all its shenanigans for the illusions they are, we fully realize we are responsible for its self-made creation and also for its demise. When the ego’s trickery and misery is once and for all perceived as the valueless wrecker of inner peace, then the pain and dis-harmony is instantly gone. We are healed in exact proportion to our recognition and relinquishment of our ego jerking us around and pulling our emotional chains.
Total freedom from my ego’s games came as immediately as my full-blown ego bender arrived. The second I said “no” to it, I was released into the Sun again. My self-created dark cloud was gone, clearing just as quickly as I was overshadowed. In “A Course in Miracles,” the essential question is asked: “Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself [referring specifically to bodily sickness but applicable also to emotional binges]. The outcome is what he [she] decides that it is.”3 As advised in ancient times, so in present times: man [woman] know thyself and thus heal thyself. The kingdom of emotional and physical health—of peace—is no further than within.
All strength and wisdom, power and knowledge a man [woman]
• Fostering What? Part 2 (more about the inner saboteur—the Stinger Woman)
• An Eclipse Story of Healing (a fuller description of Chiron)
Text © by Zane Maser, 2011. All rights reserved worldwide.
My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.
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