How My Shattered Ego Invites Me to Transform

What happens when my ego is shattered? Transformation? It feels more like deflation. Yet, could a shattered ego lead to something useful? If so, why does it hurt so much? I like Friedrich Nietzsche connects these concepts:

“A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.”

I’ve noticed that I’m pretty resistant to new ideas – particularly those that directly affect me. Like my personal self-image. My ego’s job is to keep me safe by using tested and proven methods to “keep me in line” (safe!). One of those methods is pain, which has kept me in order throughout my life and has been a significant factor in my learning process. Thus, upon shattering my rigid ego formula, it’s likely my ego will use pain to reign me in, so to speak.

A shattered ego is one that has fought a battle against change – employing whatever strategies and weapons it has at its disposal. Of course, favoring the previously tried and proven – like pain, humiliation, shame, and guilt. Its success has kept me firmly within the boundaries of safety, propriety, and rightness to this point.

What if on the other side of shattered – with its attendant emotions like humiliation, deflated ego, and loss of self-trust – is transformation? I’ve just peered briefly into that realm – before falling back into bubble awareness. Could I use the opening offered by a shattered ego to transform myself beyond bubble awareness and embrace who I AM?

Thoughts that Transform

I’m learning that everything in my bubble awareness “reality” is merely a concept, a thought. Through sensual perception and emotional feeling, I give those thoughts power by imagining them as things of substance. Using the reinforcing power of justification and confirmation bias, I can substantiate anything at any time.

Change a thought, a judgment, about something or someone and they change to me. I literally change YOU by changing ME – perhaps more accurately, when I change MY mind about YOU and/or ME, I transform my world.

It’s just a thought, a possibility… 😉

The Transformation Option

I make lots of choices. Most concern defense of what I already believe and know.  Inside my First-Second Degree of Illumination safety bubble, my choices seem real: What will I have for breakfast? Will I drive or walk to the store? What will I wear to the party? These are choices of defense: Which defense feels like it satisfies my needs at this time? Yet, all these apparent choices freeze my conscious awareness well within the bubble. One day, I realize I want to explore what might exist outside my ever-shrinking bubble. I seek transformation. How might I do that?

A Transformation Catalyst

Inside the bubble, my attention is focused on defense in its many guises. When challenged, I’m ready! Defensiveness kept my ancestors alive when they lived on the plains of Africa and their neighbors considered them food. Today I lock my doors and pay for a police force to protect me and mine. Millions of years of no change.

Consider what that fear thought train does to me. It sets me up to live within an ever-shrinking bubble of fear and justified wariness. Since I’m keen to spot danger – and I assume my neighbors live with the same fearfulness – I protect myself and my family from everyone else to the degree that we’ve become dangerous to each other. Fear continues to breed fear, generating rings within rings of ever-solidifying defense. Safety first and always!

To break out of that limitation bubble, I must deal with my defenses. Formidable as they are, there must be some way to get past them. Perhaps a catalyst.

A chicken egg has a hard crust to protect what’s inside from outside influence. Great defense! And yet, as long as the shell remains intact, I get no omelet for breakfast. So, I apply a catalyst that conflicts with the shell. I strike the egg against the fry pan. The defense gives way and the contents become available for me to create a tasty omelet. Breached defense resulted in an omelet for breakfast.

At the point of impact, the egg was faced with a conflict. As long as the egg remained undisturbed, it would remain an egg, its contents forever locked up. In overcoming the egg’s defense, I offered the egg another option – to become something else. Transformation!

I define transformation as a thorough or dramatic change that remains after the action of a catalyst. The change affects all levels of consciousness though usually appears in the physical and psychological levels.

The Transformation Option

Sometimes in my life, things seem to be going my way. Important people agree with me, my food agrees with me, I agree with me – I feel like I’m on track. No challenges. All quiet on the western front, so to speak. Egg shell intact, safe. I don’t realize it yet, that while I’m busy attending to my sense of well-being, a transformation is forming. Why?

When we were a younger couple, we cared for our little children. They tended to make noise, which helped us know where they were and to some degree what they were up to. When things got quiet, we’d ask each other, “Where are the children?” Meaning – “What are they up to?” Quiet was usually an indicator that we should go check on them!

Peace – meaning the absence of conflict – may be an indicator that I’m solidly within my safety zone, the bubble, primed and ready for a challenge to my defenses. Perfect time to “check on the children” – to seek out and find the transformation option. Scary? Yes, when viewed from behind “the wall” of my fears. No, when viewed beyond fear, as one would in the realm of awakened consciousness in which one realizes the illusion of fear.

Getting past my fear barrier may mean cracking my protective egg shell. That may mean facing such fears as embarrassment, ridicule, wrongness, and defeat. Or, it may simply mean getting over my need to be right all the time. I have many relationships that offer a plethora of opportunities for conflict. Each conflict offers me options, one of which is the transformation option. Will I recognize it when I see it? Will I choose it when I recognize it? I wonder…

  • What’s on the other side of my shell?
  • How will I get past my fear that keeps me inside my shell?
  • Why do I fear transformation?
  • Who will enjoy that delicious omelet on the other side of my fears?

Interpretations of Projection

In the act of perceiving, I relate content to context. My interpretations of that relationship affect the meaning of my experience(s).

My mind divides this relationship into three categories –

  1. past
  2. present
  3. future

When I feel a need to defend one of those categories, I must combine my perceptual memory with imagination to effect a concept. My imagination must be active and versatile enough to accommodate the demands of varied thoughts I need to link in specific configurations – Read more Interpretations of Projection

3 Elements of Fear that Can Fuel Transformation

Fear is an emotionally influenced  response to danger or threat that motivates behaviors to mitigate the danger or threat. Humans and other animals exhibit fear in much the same way physiologically, so the fear response may be quite ancient.

We tend to think of fear as a “negative emotion” that clouds reasoning and drives “negative behaviors.” From an evolutionary point of view, fear may have derived from early surviving species passing on their “fear” genes to us today – giving us an “evolutionary advantage.”

Although behaviors vary widely when the fear response is triggered, let’s investigate  three common elements of fear:

  1. Perception of danger or threat – triggers a response
  2. Seriousness of engagement – the risk to survival
  3. Presence – how imminent is the danger

Read more 3 Elements of Fear that Can Fuel Transformation