The Domestication of My Ego – Part 2

In my bubble of limited awareness, I see survival as a set of unquestionable needs that must be filled. Rigid adherence to this program of need-fulfillment is what I call self-domestication.

Let’s investigate three aspects of domestication and apply them to ego.

  1. A sense of survival (needs)
  2. A sense of relationship
  3. An understanding of self in relationship

Sense of Survival

Defense is a survival program that domesticates my thoughts and behaviors. When I domesticate, I trade one understanding of how to survive for another. Thus, I adapt to a new intention.

In the case of dependence, the survival program is master over me. I domesticate to that understanding by defending it. In that understanding and defense, I am not in charge of my life – that domesticator is. That domesticator is not a person, place, or thing. It is my dependence on it! Even when the domesticator proves to be me!

Because survival has a very narrow understanding, I must seek resources to help me live and escape predation. My survival program knows nothing of options or choices because it’s strictly controlled. My mind adds versatility to consider options.

Sense of Relationship

Perhaps domestication is adaptation to the power structure in a relationship matrix of which I and others are served. In the case of a pet, for example, this power structure is represented in the difference between master and pet. This structure appears in families in the power difference between generations, and, to some degree between domestic partners. To the degree one adapts to power structures, one exhibits domestication.

In the process of domesticating animals, man and animal live by the same process of give and take to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I can do the same with my mind by accepting a different relationship with my ego. Thus, a new way emerges.

Understanding of Self in Relationship

When the ego is in charge, we both feel afraid. When the conscious mind is in charge, everyone feels more secure. Out of that relationship emerges selfless service.

Understanding the power structure of mind in relationship with ego is the beginning of realization and exercise of compassion.

The more I learn about my world, the more I am able to “know myself” as the ancient Greeks admonished us. The more I know myself, the more I am able to exercise compassion. It’s a positive feedback loop that acknowledges ego in the process of knowing self. This can free the mind from its shackles – bringing all aspects of creation into the light of compassion.

What if compassion is the goal of the game of life?

When I distrust my ego – “it’s something I have to overcome” – what am I saying to an aspect of me? What would a new relationship look like with my ego? How might I connect to my ego with gratitude, affection, and respect?

What if I were to consider my ego in a loving relationship with me – like I would a loved pet or companion?

  • What do my ego and I want/need/intend?
  • How can I relate to my ego in a way that honors it?
  • Why do I want a relationship with my ego?
  • Who am I with my ego?

“I train humans, and rehabilitate dogs.” (Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer)

What if I were to adapt Cesar’s quote to:

“As I awaken my conscious mind, I rehabilitate my ego.”

Instinct and the Antelope-Cheetah Question

In instinct, I don’t question, I simply follow the program. I see this process in automatic responses like reflexes – gut reactions in which I simply do without thinking. As a human, I have the capacity to exceed this instinctive level of living through learning. When I recognize instinctive behavior, I can question the unquestioned.

What if evolution is the result of questioning?

Things tend to remain as they are until something changes. Change can be initiated by a question – “Why must I continue doing what I’ve always done?”

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” (Rita Mae Brown, in her 1983 book, “Sudden Death“)

One example is the relationship between the antelope and the cheetah. When the antelope perceives the cheetah running toward him, he instinctively jumps into flight. He doesn’t question his actions, he just does them.

What if he were to initiate a new response? What would happen were he to instead of running away, start running toward the cheetah. The cheetah’s slender physique is no match for the horns of the antelope. And yet, the antelope never once considers this possibility – it’s an antelope and antelopes run from cheetahs. It’s a formula!

Occasionally, I’m faced with the cheetah. My instinct is to fly away as quickly as I can to return to my safety zone. It takes time I don’t think I have to investigate options by asking questions. And, like the antelope, I might get eaten as a result! It’s a formula!

Risking Advantage?

Adding a questioning program offers the individual an option to improve upon instinct – possibly adding an advantage. There’s a risk involved in this process. For example, the ovum will remain a single cell until it questions its singular status by opening its membrane to another. It risks losing integrity of its membrane while offering an opportunity for something else to develop. This is repeated at the crisis point we call birth where we challenge our safety to experience what is beyond.

What might happen when I apply a questioning method to all my learning – including questioning? That is, questioning that which I feel I know. Questioning the questioner! Might this open a new understanding about my limitations?

When was the last time you questioned an instinctive response – like a fear or pain response? For example, when your body winced in pain, did you ask in your mind, “What does this pain mean?” “How does this represent who I am?” “Why this pain in this location in my body?”

What if I questioned my attitudes? Moods? Judgments?

The Messages of My Biases

In my bubble of limited awareness, I defend what I value. I value most what makes me right. My being right equates to survival. Thus, I must invest in confirming my rightness to confirm my ability to survive. Confirmation of rightness gives me a sense of satisfaction.

My need to be right is a bit of an addiction that affirms my sense of having value. With every confirmation of rightness, my sense of personal value increases, bringing me closer to my goal of wholeness.

I feel I must win or at least not lose. Bias lives by this gain/loss formula. I have a sense that I was born with bias because I need to feel success rather than failure. I set up a system for myself to “guarantee” success. This is like the guy who has a “fail-safe system” for beating the odds at the casino. That system is bias, a program that helps me cope with separateness.

My bias regulates my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When I have a rebellious thought, bias regulates me back into the safety of compliance with what is right. This is how bias serves a system of defense that favors the status quo. Thus, keeping me safe in my bubble of limited awareness.

A Conflict of Bias

For every argument, there are opposing biases. Because a bias is a bi-directional defense, there is that which it defends and that which it defends against. Therefore, a conflict exists between for and against. Bias illustrates a more fundamental perception in my limited awareness – that of me vs not me. This extends beyond my perception of me – in my social constructs.

For example, I want to support my society by contributing to its general benefit. My investment would include surrendering independence to the service of society and its relative safety. In this I feel a conflict. Why can’t I have independence AND safety?

This raises a question about my value system of loss/gain. Why do I have to give up something to get something? This haunts my relationship as an investor – because I must attend to the conflict of me vs not me.

Questioning Bias to Discover Its Message

I might question myself to discover my self-limiting biases and what messages they may have for me:

  • What society do I serve?
  • How do I serve?
  • Why do I serve?
  • Who do I serve?

Tools that Serve My Intention

With intention come the tools to achieve it. Without awareness of a means to achieve fulfillment, intention would be an endless unfulfillable experience.

Intention Tools

I use tools to serve my intention to be whole. These are based on body and mind working together to achieve intended outcomes to serve the cause of need and its effect on fulfillment of this intention:

  • Purpose provides motivation to a cause with a specific effect.

    1. What specific form does my tool take? Ex: My body and my mind in its form and thought capabilities provide a means for carrying out the need of my intention.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: The actions of my body and the thoughts of my mind work to achieve specific goals for my intention.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My logic supports my life story.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My identity, symbolically represents my cause to serve.
  • Certitude – provides conviction to my purpose. An imagined ability to see, envision cause and effect within a scope of my direction.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Generational beliefs and philosophies.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Experience and acceptance from others.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My reasons based on principles and perceptions
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: relational perspective of self and use of imagination.
  • Predictability – provides an advantage of pattern-recognition in cause-effect relationships. Makes things possible through trust.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Comparing and assigning values based on usefulness to me; relating certain types of patterns with success.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Habitual behavior and attitudes depend on the continuous search for patterns I trust.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Prediction algorithms save me energy and time.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My ability to maintain patterned beliefs and ritual behavior symbolizes success through prejudiced predictability – a sense of rightness. Result: I feel successful, therefore, I’m validated.
  • Justification – provides reason and logic to a storyline that defends a perspective.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: If this/then that thinking creates equations from a closed perspective -> you hurt my feelings = you don’t care about me.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: I’ve created an imaginary world of reasonings designed to escape pain and convince me and others I’m right. I justify my perceptions in order to prove my intention and purpose.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Convincing is more important to me than the truth.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: I take on a persona tailored to justify blocking interdependence and connection, “I’m right and you’re wrong!”

As I become aware of my intention to be whole, I apply different tools that work to fulfill the implied needs. In the process of fulfillment, I have an experience I call my life.

Transition to Awareness

What if the Aha Zone is a transition point from one level of awareness to another? For example, one of my ancestors questioned their instinctive behavior and realized an aha moment that started a new trend – the use of fire. By questioning their instinctive fear of fire, they learned to control their fear. This realization that fear could be controlled led to a leap in awareness.

Instinctual Me

Instinctive me defends itself against environmental threats and asks, “What threatens me now?” It’s also concerned with needs. “Are my needs being met?” results in two simple questions:

  1. What need is not being satisfied? (What’s wrong?)
  2. How do I get what I need now? (What must I do?)

Cognizant Me

Cognizance adds relational awareness and asks, “What happened?” This results in an awareness of what, where, when, why my environment appears to relate to me as it does. Recognition of cause and effect.

I have one such relationship with time, for example. In instinct, I serve the demands time imposes upon me – like circadian rhythms. Once I recognized that there was a way to measure time, I could change my behaviors within it. At some point, someone came to an “Aha” moment in which they realized that one could measure time. There is a significant difference between the acknowledgment of time and the cognitive use of it.

This relational awareness offers me much more insight into my world. Because of the power of instinct, I tend to put relationships into service of defense, like blame and war. Cognitive questions tend to connect me with others in a meaningful way. Such questions as, “How do I get what I want?” tend to result in behaviors that take my community into account. Cognizance adds opportunity for more questioning:

  1. Why do I feel as I do? (What does this experience mean?)
  2. Who am I in relation to my environment?

Visionary Me

Visionary me asks questions like:

  1. What’s next?
    1. What am I not perceiving yet?
    2. What could this experience mean beyond what I think it does?
  2. How might we evolve?
    1. How might what I do now affect the future?
    2. What might a future appear like than how I imagine it now?
  3. Why do I matter?
    1. What is my purpose in the grand scheme?
    2. Why does my contribution matter to the whole?
  4. Who am I?
    1. Who am I beyond the context of my world?
    2. What is beyond my perception of my personhood?
    3. Who is the who that I am?
    4. Who else might I/you be than who I think I am/you are?

Beyond Me?

What may lie beyond these limited-awareness aspects of me?