Qualities of Reality – Superego part 7
We are often talking about the qualities of Reality such as Joy, Peace, Vitality and so on. It is not hard to demonstrate that these are qualities inherent in us. All we have to do is notice that in the moments of freedom from our obsessive thinking caused by our relationship blueprints, in other words moments of freedom from our superego’s control, our experience of ourselves and life shifts dramatically. We experience greater Peace, Clarity, Openness and so on.
Everyone wants more of these wonderful experiences but people usually pursue them outside of themselves. Here we are learning to look within ourselves for these qualities and then manifest them in our external lives, instead of the reverse. But, while looking within we have encountered a giant on our path, a multi headed dragon called our superego.
When these qualities inherent in us are filtered through the superego’s influence, in other words our relationship blueprint, they turn into something else. They turn into what we normally consider emotions. For example, the emotion of anger is really the quality of Strength but in an impoverished form because the superego has messed with it. The superego may say something like, “It is not OK to be strong”; children often get this message from the parents, especially controlling parents. So they feel weak. When life demands strength, and it often does, to compensate for the sense of weakness we create a false strength, in the form of abrasiveness and toughness, what people usually call anger. But it is false strength, and we know this because when people feel angry they usually feel weak and panicky underneath. They feel strained not strong. Real or true anger appropriate to a given situation feels more like a hot strength than what people usually call anger.
Another example is when children are taught that it is not OK to be exuberant, happy and joyful. Children are often told to pipe down, be quiet, keep it under control or even taught directly to be unhappy because Joy is too reactivating to the parent. A child’s inherent Joy has been messed with and the superego duplicates that parental attitude. But… the superego says it is OK to feel good about accomplishments, like getting an A+. So Joy gets turned into something like glee, a temporary manic sort of desperate “good” feeling, based on some condition, some success.
If we feel into these emotions deeply when they are triggered by some life circumstance we will always find a sense of deficiency underneath. Let’s say something makes us angry (in the way people usually experience anger), if we feel into our bodies and deeper psyches we will find a sense of weakness. If we feel that fast paced conditional happiness, sort of a manic feeling we will find a deficiency of happiness, a lack of joy, underneath. We will find that we are desperately clinging to that new TV or new dating partner or whatever because of a sense of unhappiness underneath.
The good news is that if we keep feeling beyond the deficiency, in other words beyond the influence of our superego, we will find the real quality, the real Joy or Strength, for example. This requires feeling through our psychological issues that create that sense of deficiency. We could call this psychological spiritual work. The author A.H. Almaas writes lucidly on this topic of feeling through this sense of deficiency that underlies the superficial personality. It is also commonly described as working through the “false self” to access the “real self”.
How does this work specifically? Start with your current experience. Let’s say you are angry that someone pushed ahead of you and took your table at a restaurant. Notice that the body sensations are similar to those of strength. You feel hot, energized and ready to do something about it. But, there are all kinds of superego messages in your head, “What will people think,” “I’ll look like jerk,” “What a horrible person they are.” So there are also body sensations of weakness, depletion and contraction. In other words you are in the painful experience that people call anger. It is very important to feel and understand that. But it is also very important to feel into it and notice the sense of weakness and deficiency that underlies the anger, the fear of being strong in the situation. Memories and beliefs will surface from the unconscious. As these are worked through your superego’s influence is understood the conditioned beliefs will dissolve. Real Strength will be felt.
Let’s say something makes your feel hateful. Notice that the bodily sensations of hate are surprising similar to feeling powerful. There is a sharp aliveness in your body, a super alertness, solidity and intensity. Feel the bodily sensations and notice the psychological material that is added. That psychological material turns a feeling of power into a feeling of hate. When we feel hateful we actually feel a deep helplessness that is the opposite of power. Our bodily sensations and experience overall are tainted. For example, the bodily feeling of solidity may become a sensation of hardness and muscular rigidity. Hate is twisted power; twisted by the superego. The original situation called for power, but that was not permitted.
A typical example in a romantic context is jealousy. Let’s say someone is hitting on your boyfriend or girlfriend. Being powerful is an effective attractive response but people usually feel debilitated and disempowered in the face of jealousy. Hate often becomes the replacement attitude.
Fear, the way people usually experience it, is more like anxiety, very general and full of thoughts. This “fear anxiety” is a twisted form of the quality of Awareness.
Feeling hurt, which is a compassionate feeling toward oneself, is usually felt as a type of self-pity. Self-pity is twisted compassion for ourselves. Pity toward another is a twisted form compassion for another.
Again, the good news is that these qualities inherent in us are never really that far away. We simply have to feel into the experience of the emotion we are feeling. We will find a sense of deficiency created by our superegos and it’s relationship to our past history. That’s the psychological material. If we understand and feel through that what will arise is our inherent nature with whatever quality is appropriate for the circumstance.