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MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL: PART 1

Copyright 1999 All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use of this material is prohibited .

By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

Click here for Part 2 of Mirror On the Wall


Ego’s supremacy, its exaggerated strength,
is the greatest obstacle to our emotional
and spiritual well-being.

-Stanley Phillips

No man for any considerable period,

can wear one face to himself, and
another to the multitude, without finally
getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

The orientation, or attitude, with which you approach your life will determine the nature of the experiences that you create in your life. How so? Simply put, the personal energy with which you touch your world sets into motion a series of actions and reactions. These actions and reactions form your experiences and reveal to you in the process the lessons of life you have yet to master. Think about that for a moment, think about what the implications of what I’ve just said to you are. Think about what relevance, if any, those implications hold for you.

For me, it means one thing and one thing only. You and only you are the creator of each event, every circumstance, each and every person that populates each and every moment of your life. And so, try as you may, it’s an inescapable truism that the circumstances that exist in your life are given birth, not from events and circumstances external to you, but from your inner world, the birthplace of your orientation and attitudes with which you approach life. Your ups and your downs; your joys and hardships; both your conquests and struggles. All are born from your emotional, psychological, and spiritual orientation towards life. Not luck, nor misfortune. Not evenhanded fairness nor cruel injustice. Not the benevolence of somebody’s good-will nor the malevolence of somebody else’s victimizing behavior. Not superior intelligence nor distorted awareness.

Let there be no mistake from the outset. It’s your orientation towards your life that creates and attracts the types of experiences that you encounter. Stay with me for a moment. It’s not my intention to offer up to you the virtues of Positive Mental Attitude as the solution for your personal and spiritual woes. That’s far from what this subject is about. But the subject I do want to discuss with you is something much more profound, a much more fundamental Truth--a truth about attraction and creation. What I will be discussing with you is how one specific orientation to life creates emotional and spiritual bankruptcy while another orientation to life attracts joy, love, and prosperity.

How is it that your orientation towards life attracts and determines the nature of the circumstances of your life? You only need understand how the energy with which you touch your world is what attracts and creates all that you receive in return. You see, the experiences of your life have your fingerprints all over them. These fingerprints are created by the personal energy you live from and bring to bear on each and every aspect of your life.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? To demonstrate my point, let’s look at the following example. If I were to shake your hand, depending on the type of physical energy I exchanged with you through the pressure I applied to our hand shake, I would likely set into motion a chain reaction of different responses and reactions between you and I, as varied as the type of grip and pressure I exerted and the meaning you attributed to your experience of my handshake. If I were to shake your hand with a firm, steady grip, you may experience me as a person of strength and character. And if that were your experience of who I was, then that experience of me would stimulate you to respond to me in a certain manner, to which I would reciprocate in kind. Then again, if I shaked your hand in an aggressive, hostile manner, would your response to me be the same or wildly different?

So, can you see how you leave an imprint of your personal energy on every circumstance and person with whom you have contact--energy which is the material and spiritual embodiment of your orientation towards life? Let me add that this energy doesn’t only manifest itself in a physical manner such as with the handshaking example above. In actuality, this personal energy is a complex mixture of psychological, physical, behavioral, verbal, emotional, physiological, spiritual, and creative energy as well.

Remember what I said in the first sentence of this pamphlet, the orientation, or attitude, with which you approach your life will determine the nature of the experiences that you create in your life. Your orientation and attitudes are expressed through this cocktail of energy--psychological, physical, behavioral, verbal, physiological, spiritual, and creative. And so, depending on the energy with which you touch the circumstances of your life, you’ll create and attract the very experiences that your personal energy stimulates.

Now there are two separate sources from which two different types of personal energy are created. Ego is one source from which one type of personal energy, pride, is activated. The second source  is Essence, from which a second type of personal energy, reverence, is activated. Pride and reverence are two types of personal energies with which you touch your world, the personal energies that set into motion the actions and reactions that form your life experiences.

The significance of the distinction between Ego and Essence can’t be understated. For it’s these two energy sources that create and shape the nature of your life experiences. Ego’s the creator of the personal energy, pride. Pride is the personal energy which inevitably sabotages your best efforts to enrich and elevate your life. Essence is the creator of the energy, reverence, the personal energy that creates a sense of richness, fullness, and intimacy of being. Simply put, in order to create a life of emotional and spiritual well-being, you must begin to dismantle your relationship with Ego and begin to activate the personal energy of reverence as you become more and more connected to Essence. That’s the point of all this hard work--transcending Ego, thereby releasing yourself from the toxic effects of pride and immersing your life in the personal energy of reverence from the voice of Essence.

What’s the big deal about Ego? Why the need to transcend Ego? Well, here’s the big deal. Ego’s the culprit, the bad guy here, the saboteur. Ego’s the stick with which you poke at life, the creator of a type of personal energy that flows from the top of your head to the tip of each finger as you shake hands with the people and circumstances of your life.

Ego’s the Lord of Fear, the High Priestess of Chaos, the Grand Pubah of Judgmentalness, the Grand Wizard of Egocentricity, the Duke of Arrogance, the Duchess of Hubris. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. He’s a conspirator’s conspirator, if you will, sabotaging your emotional and spiritual well-being at every bend in the road. You may recognize him as the part of you that honors reason over emotional intuition, cherishes caution over spontaneity, values avoidance more so than risktaking? That’s our Mr. Ego in all of his glory.

Do you really, truly, believe that you have twenty-twenty vision when it comes to clearly seeing who you are? I think not. For Ego’s the hands over your eyes that blinds you to the underlying meaning of your choices. Ego’s the prankster that sticks its leg out as you walk by, tripping you up when you least expect it, the part of you that perpetually grabs the chair out from under you everytime you’re about to sit down, relax, and enjoy life. Ego’s the carnival mirror that reflects back to you the two most profound distortions you hold about yourself--that you’re either Lord of the Manor or Scum of the Earth. Not! Not!

Lock and load is the battle cry by which Ego lives, the part of you that takes no prisoner, the energy that captures rather than invites people into your life, the sniper that can take anybody out at a thousand paces, in high winds, no less. Ego’s the terrorist that demands and demands and demands. “Do it the way I want you to.” “Understand me the way I want to be understood.” “See me the way I want to be seen.” “I must be right, and you, you are oh so wrong.”

Aren’t there times when you feel like you’re the real life star of Ground Hog’s Day, different day same scripted life. Well, you have Ms. Ego to thank for that. She’s the one who has turned your life into one perpetual casting call, forever auditioning different people to play the same parts over and over and over again. She’s the casting agent of your personal drama, the source of attraction for all the characters that come and go--mostly just go.

Ego’s that special voice from within, the one that whispers “psst, those feelings, all those feelings you have, forget about it, you won’t be needing them as long as moi’s on the case.” Ego’s your Inner Quasimodo, trampling all over your sense of worth, forever belittling your three best friends-me, myself, and I,  constantly doubting, casting it’s net of mistrust and suspicion over anyone brave enough to walk into your path, continually stirring your life into an emotional uproar.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Just who’s running my life anyway?” You need look no further than Ego. Ego’s Edgar Bergen and you’re Charlie McCarthy--how many times have you shaken your head in puzzlement, never fully grasping just what cosmic force has its finger up your you know what each and every time you sabotage yourself--again and again and again. Ego’s Gepetto and you’re Pinocchio--it’s always been a head scratcher, hasn’t it, just what strange mystical forces are pulling the strings of your life. It’s just this simple. Ego’s pulling the strings, she’s a master puppeteer, but she ain’t no Shari Lewis and you ain’t no Lamb Chop.

What happens to you? What happens when you need to stand up for yourself, where does your voice disappear to? Ego’s the cat that’s got your tongue, the Force that robs you of your voice. It’s Mr. Ego, he’s the one who stuffs a sock in your mouth, the silencer if you will, the muzzle that leaves you paralyzed when the circumstances of your life rule you rather than the other way around.

Why, when it’s all said and done, do you feel so all alone, walking alongside but never connected to the people in your life? With Ego stirring the pot, it’s really not that much of a mystery. Ego’s the senior Senator from Illinois, the part of you that legislates the rules of conduct by which you demand the world act and behave towards you. Ego’s the head bookkeeper of your personal corporation, the one who takes the inventory of everybody but you. Ego’s the prosecution’s star witness, perpetually building case after case, never shy about providing expert testimony about the all the ways the people in your life have let you down. Ego’s your general contractor, the master tradesman who constructed the fortress from which you keep the world at arm’s length. Ego refers to your fortress as personal boundaries, I think of it more as your prison of fear and insecurities.

Oh what a conniver our friend is, this Mr. Ego. He’s the barker at the carnival, always seducing, forever enticing, endlessly manipulating. He has the quickest hands in the west, the master of three card Monty, the trickster who hides the pea under that elusive shell. Watch carefully! Notice how Ego’s hands are so much quicker than your eyes. Which shell is Essence under? Is it here, under rationalization? Or here, under your denial? How about there, hiding beneath blame? Oops! Not there? Where did that darn Essence of yours disappear to anyway?

And “so,” you may ask, “what does all that have to do with me?” There can be no doubt, can there, in order for your life’s journey to fully unfold, Ego’s got to go? You do recognize the gravitational pull, all the ways Ego convinces you of your righteousness while draining your life of its humanness, don’t you? Are you really that oblivious to Ego’s pulling and tugging, the centrifugal force, always making you look the fool, believing yourself to be the victim, the crestfallen star of your own melodrama? It’s like shooting the rapids on the Snake River, the highs and the lows, the agony and the ecstasy, the thrills and the chills, but in the end, always capsizing, putting more energy into uprighting your ship rather than just enjoying the ride.

Are you ready for something different? Have you grown weary of feeling so empty? Has your life become consumed with  days of despair and nights of quiet desperation? Do your unfullfilled longings leave you hungering for the warmth of another’s touch? Are you dizzy from the neverending search for the path that will lead you out of the maze in which your life is entrapped?

If so, then perhaps you’re ready to change the orientation with which you approach your life. It’s axiomatic, nothing in your life can change until you stop touching your life with the energy of pride activated by Ego and begin touching it with the energy of reverence.

What is reverence? What’s it look like? Does it have a noticeable odor? Is it something you can touch with your hands, see with your eyes, taste with your mouth? Does it have tangible qualities that you can hold onto or is it ephemeral in nature--here today and gone tomorrow?

Reverence is a hallowed orientation towards life, the most sacred energy you can bring to the dance. Reverence is the outward manifestation of the internal voice of  Essence. It’s the embodiment of the Divine within each and everyone of us. All that we truly are--compassion, love, and wisdom, all that we have to offer--humanity, gratitude, and forgiveness, all the states that we can most purely be--grace, tolerance, and acceptance is embodied in the energy of reverence.  

Reverence is a state of being. This state of being is created from the most fundamental transition you’ll make on this journey--the transition from self-centered isolation to a state of union with all of humanity. As much as you prize your separateness and independence now, reverence, as a state of union rather than separateness, is much more profound in its meaning, much more grand in its depth of fulfillment. The underlying truth of this state of being is that being a part of a whole and thereby sharing your life with others is the predicate for a life of emotional and spiritual well-being.

Reverence is an attitude. Reverence as an attitude is an acknowledgment of  the grandness of all creatures of this Universe. You acknowledge the grandness of all creatures by acknowledging that the Divine lives in each and every molecule of this Universe. To acknowledge this fundamental truism, all you need know is that to do harm to one inhabitant of this Universe, is to do harm to the Divinity in all of us. A life of reverence is a life that brings no harm to the Divine in all of us.

Honor is what embodies the attitude of reverence. You honor yourself through the way you treat yourself. You honor your neighbor through the way you offer yourself. You honor your higher consciousness through the authenticity with which you express yourself. You honor your higher power through the faith with which you live your life.

Reverence is an approach to life. In reverence, process is honored over outcome. Where Ego’s main focus is achievement, the attainment of a goal, Essence’s main focus is evolution, the maturation of the soul. A life that is embedded with reverence is a life that values the journey more than the destination, growing through rather than getting to, experiencing rather than conquering, being rather than doing.

A second aspect of reverence as an approach to life is how life experiences are evaluated. Ego judges circumstances as being right or wrong, good or bad, fast or slow. Essence evaluates life experiences as neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, fast nor slow--they just are. A life touched by reverence doesn’t focus on the judgment of a life experience, but embraces it for the value it has towards healing and evolving.

So there you have it. We’ve established that your orientation towards life is the life force that creates the experiences of your life. There are two life forces or energies, pride and reverence. Pride is the energy created by Ego, reverence is the energy created by Essence. The point of our journey is to shed the influences of Ego so that we can must full connect with our spiritual center, Essence. By being most fully connected to Essence, you will be able to connect with the energy of reverence. In part 2, I will discus with you how to introduce reverence into your life.

G.B.U.

Steve

 


Click here for Part 2 of Mirror On the Wall



Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.

 


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