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June 1, 2023

Distinction between Ego and Unique Self #20 — Past or Present

From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni.

(c) 2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

The ego lives in the past, thinking it is the present. Therefore, the ego unconsciously confuses past with present. The ego is unable to create intimacy, which means meeting each other in the fullness of the present moment. To make real contact, you must be personal and present. Only the Unique Self can make contact. For the Unique Self, the present moment consciously includes the past and anticipates the future.

The ego confuses the past and the present. When you are confused—thinking you are present in the present while you are actually lost in a past trance—you are unable to act effectively, lovingly, or powerfully in the situation that you are in. And the past remains always unhealed. Several years ago a friend and board member of my organization called me, angry at not being included in a particular email loop. Her anger was full of intensity and flaming aggression, which was vastly disproportionate to the ostensible exclusion from the email loop. I considered asking her to resign from the board, as this was not the first time such an overreaction had occurred. Of course, what was coming up was not her present exclusion, but a very old sense of being excluded. She held this sense of being left out from her early childhood as a girl with four brothers who were better loved by their father.

This inability to discern the past from the present has made her unable to effectively navigate her professional or personal world, because she is always prone to dramatic overreactions that undermine many key relationships. The Unique Self does not confuse the past with the present. When the past comes up in the present, the Unique Self recognizes it for what it is: the past coming up in the present.

The Unique Self then uses the present moment to heal the past. The Unique Self recognizes that the patterns of the past have no true foothold or power in the present.

Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc says above, the ego confuses the past with the present, and the Unique Self recognizes the difference, escapes the past’s dominion, and uses the present moment to heal the past. So, what, then, is the relationship between Unique Self or ego and the future?  Dr. Marc teaches, quoting Gabriel Marcel, that hope is a memory of the future.  He says:

Hope is a memory of the future. Your Unique Self is the strange attractor that explains the past, animates the present, and invites you to create a new future—unlike the one you might have created from separate self, or even from True Self.

And, in his Unique Self Actualize course, which will be offered in the coming months, Marc encourages participants to purposely look to the future, considering and clarifying the unfolding of their Unique gifts and calling.

So, how can we work with this invitation of Unique Self to enter the stream of time with greater awareness, moving beyond the fixation or confusion of the past-tense-oriented ego, and developing a fuller relationship to the Unique Self (as True Self + Perspective) in and outside of time? In Dr. Marc’s Soul Prints (2001), he leads off this consideration with a description of the Hebrew word for “time” as an invitation to sense the rhythms of your life:

The very word for “time” in Biblical myth, zeman, is layered with a second meaning as well. Zeman always means invitation. The idea is elegant and simple. Time is an invitation. You can experience a month as one day that is repeated thirty times or as thirty days that grow out of each other, each day building on the one that preceded it. (303)

Developing sensitivity to the rhythms of time itself, he says, is one of the primary goals of biblical consciousness that allows us to accept invitations in their right time. This is one of the ingredients of Evolutionary Unique Self actualization.

Dr. Marc goes on to write in Soul Prints:

Our soul prints unfold in time. We can comprehend tomorrow what we are not yet prepared to comprehend today. One of Carl Jung’s great contributions was an affirmation of the enormous excitement that awaits us in middle age. If you are truly living, then time is unfolding before you.  You are not farther from youth—you are closer to wisdom. Each day brings its own revelation. Each day brings us closer to ourselves.  (302-303)

Too often we miss the invitation of time, but we can learn to respond to it.  We can be aware of a moment when we are making a memory; we can create a conscious practice around it that lets us accept that invitation. (303)

Try it! Consider this practice below, which appeared in Week 4 of the Unique Self telecourse, which discussed True Self:

Practice 1: True Self Practice

  1. Share in the practice forum/portal (or journal privately if you prefer) about times in your life when you have gone beyond “you” and connected into the greater unfolding Universe. Where were you?
  2. What were you doing? What was it that connected you in? What connects you in to Source? It might be a particular form of meditation or a traditional technique. Or maybe it is something more personal, yet to be articulated in the traditions. Perhaps being in nature? The ocean? Playing with your five-year-old child? Rock climbing? Notice what tunes you in to the vast nature of the Kosmos.
  3. Anchor your awareness in this memory.
  4. Have Faith; meaning, Be Faithful to Your Own Memory.
  5. Let your memory become not only a memory of your past – but a memory of your present – and a memory of your future.
  6. Let Your Memory become a strange attractor – pulling you out of the compulsive revisiting of past wounds, toward your first-person experience and manifestation of your Evolutionary Unique Self!
  7. Clarify an effective a way (or ways) that you have shifted your awareness to True Self! Feel into which practice Marc did on the call that opened you or spoke to you.
    For our readers who are not part of the course, this step refers to your basic True Self practice, whether that is meditation, chant, listening to music, or dancing.  See Dr. Marc’s brief discussion of distinctions amongst some of these True Self practices here:
  8. Practice it at least twice between now and the next course session.

Or, this meditation from Week 7 of the telecourse…

Practice 2: Open, Not Closed Meditation

(from the Awakening Your Unique Self 10-Week telecourse, Week 7)

We are going to practice opening.

Feel your heart, beating deep in your body, and relax open as if you are offering your heartbeat to the world.

And, let this be the opening that you make again and again every day, opening your heartbeat to the world. Conjure up, bring to mind, who do you love, with your heart open, and how deeply do you love?  And what are your plans for tomorrow? Are they open as the Unique Self outrageous lover?

And know that in some “now moment,” which is just as real as this moment right here and right now—just as real as this present moment—in some “now moment” your life will end. Are you ready for your death? Did you love outrageously? And if you loved outrageously, then you can start right now. Because when you love outrageously, you re-weave all of the past, you reconfigure everything that has happened.  When you love outrageously, you fearlessly walk into the portal of transition which we call death, and right now, in this very moment, you are either opening or closing.  You are either living as a gift to all, or you are closed, cut off from the all.

Right now in this moment, you are opening as a gift to all, or you are closing. It’s a choice in every moment. How does the choice feel? Relax your muscles, open your senses, and feel into the world around you, as if you are feeling light from a dream. And in this classical mystical practice, breathe this light in, breath it in to your body, and then exhale. And from your deep heart and soft belly offer love outward in all directions as far as you can open to feel.

Your true destiny unfolds freely when you live every moment open as Unique Self and shine as your unique offering of outrageous love.  And, go deeper. Feel the tension in your muscles, the clenching in your jaw, the hardening around your heart. Feel the fear that shapes your muscles, that armors your body, your emotions, and your life choices, and then open. Breathe in, and open as you breathe in, and breathe past the shape of the fear. And as you inhale, expand your belly more fully, filling your deep gut with love’s light and energy.

Feel other people. Feel their hearts longing in joy, and breathe their aliveness in and out of your heart in this very moment. And when fear returns, which it always does, and then again in this moment, feel the shape of your closure. Feel your fear. Let it in. Feel everyone’s fear and darkness.  But then feel everyone and your own fear so openly that as you feel, as everyone, you feel the shape of their fear, the shape of your fear, your deep-heart love expands.

Breathe this open as the shape of the entire infinite moment with its infinite invitation. Breathe open as outrageous love, and feel your heart melt the fear, because where outrageous love lives, there is no fear.  Feel yourself opening in every moment and as every moment.  In the practice of full bliss, identify with the emerging consciousness, the nowness of all things, and know that you are that moment, and in being that moment, I’m me, and I’m you, and I am the space between every breath.

And, yes, pain is ever possible, my friends. And, your lover betrays you, and your heart is crushed. And, your effort to avoid pain is as natural as pain itself. Most of life is an effort to avoid the pain, to experience pleasure, and to pretend that everything is ok. But the only way to move beyond the pain is to open fully with your heart radically expanded as outrageous love, and when you fully open in and as any moment, in that moment, you are complete.

So, feel the practice of opening. Release and untie every knot and every closure. And remember, friends, you can be doing separateness and suffering even if you are in a hot tub with your sexy lover. And you can surrender open if you are digging a ditch in the hot open sun. Your heart knows the truth of openness and suffers the tense lie of your closure. Practice openness, the truth of who you—True Self, Unique Self—by  feeling the infinite eternity in this moment right now with its invitation that holds you and heals you, right here, right now. And even though you have habit of closure, right now, in this moment, you can always practice opening to feel, open to feel what you are feeling, whatever it is, and when you open to it, your heart opens and melts away that which is in the way.

You can practice opening in a midst of a orgasm. You can be in the midst of an orgasm and collapse closed. You can practice opening in the midst of car accident, staying open. Openness is your natural, divine state. No contraction, no knot. As each moment unfolds, pain and all, you open fully.  And, in that opening, you are born.  And, that, my friends, that’s the practice of seeing with God’s eyes.  The practice of opening to let God see with your eyes is the practice of open, not closed. And, it’s the question you ask yourself in every single moment. Am I open, or am I closed? (Ends 1:09:20)

Or, try this…

Practice 3: 100th Birthday Speech

Here’s an alternative practice to access the Unique Self in relationship to the future, as the Passion Test authors Janet and Chris Attwood have developed it.  Write a speech that you would want given about you on your 100th birthday, celebrating your life’s achievements.  Write it from a place of Unique Self, imagining the trajectory of your unfolding and your responsivesness to those callings that are uniquely yours to accept over the course of your life. Don’t hold back in the writing of this speech, and don’t be embarrassed by the moments of boldness that emerge. Remember, hope is a memory of the future!

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