New Civilization News: Our Image Egos are not our Essential Beings    
 Our Image Egos are not our Essential Beings13 comments
picture31 Aug 2007 @ 14:56, by Gerald Vest

"Surrendering to the teaching is the giving up of self-images, fears, thoughts and desires into the hands of deeper self-knowledge." (Tarthang Tulku, Hidden Mind of Freedom)

We can transform our image egos -

As I look back on my personal and professional development as an adult human being, I can see that my image of myself was the culprit that made life, health and relationships unfulfilling. It appears to me that we develop these images to identify, protect and secure the fixed ideas we create about ourselves. Perhaps this is why we are so fragile, insecure and reactive. We are so fearful about losing, shattering or changing this image that our true sense of being becomes fearful, embarrassed, insecure, indignant, protective and isolated; we are often feeling left alone in the world like a pearl in an oyster.

As a social worker by profession, I learned early on that our most effective approach and method for engaging others is to be present, in the moment, with complete openness, respect and acceptance. Knowing that everyone has an image ego that is delicate and protective is even more reason for us to learn to be non-judgmental and tolerant, allowing us to discover and experience these images for ourselves. Oscar Ichazo, one of my teachers, would describe this experience as making an arc of love with another—or being the equal.

However, because these self-images are so fixed, fearful, rigid and controlling, they don’t usually change without some skillful interventions, personal practice and genuine commitment to change. Alternative and integrative health practices have helped me and many of my students transform this image and become whole, with attributes of compassion, innocence and love that we remember as children. I often think: ‘Oh to be a child again!’ Subsequently, my grandchildren arrive in my landscape to help me relax, enjoy and refresh my essential being so that I can play and enjoy life to its fullest. I appreciate what Dr. Ashley Montagu describes in Growing Young and what it can mean to “grow up” as a child and into the skin of an adult:

To grow young means to grow in our youthful traits, not to grow out of or to abandon them.

Success for the child becomes emulation of his elders. The rare individuals who somehow manage to avoid falling into this trap and retain their childlike qualities are considered either eccentric, odd, nonconformist, or otherwise otiose (futile). We do not appreciate non-conformists in America. Our colleges and universities, not to mention our schools, avoid or reject them.(p. 198)


I have attempted to describe my journey of transformation while introducing various methods that I have employed to free this image ego and return to my true youthful nature. While writing this log, I recall many of the questions that we, my friends and colleagues, raised in our group work and/or challenged our egos with such questions during our process of change and regeneration. See for example: “Being an Effective Professional.”

Integrative Health Practices -

While learning and participating in Gestalt Therapy groups during the early 1970’s, I learned early on that behind every question is the answer. How else would we know if it is true or false? I had the good fortune to participate in some fascinating groups with four of our country’s greatest group workers—Oscar Ichazo, Joseph (Jack) Downing, Tarthang Tulku and Claudio Naranjo. Through these experiences, it became evident to me that our confusion, doubts and fears manifested in our image ego can be transformed into clarity, awareness and confidence.

How do Questions help us?

What is there to know? What would you like to know? For example, in therapy it is important for us to raise questions about ourselves? Who are you? How are you? Where are you? Why are you here? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy? What are your plans, goals or aspirations? How do you relate with others? What do you enjoy about your life? How do you feel about your partner, family, friends and colleagues? In other words, how meaningful is your life, health and relationships?

We might also inquire: when was the last time you did a self-assessment? Have you examined your self and your relationships with all that is-physically/sexually, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually? How can you improve the quality of your work, your life, your health and your relationships?

Other great questions that I recall we were asked to respond to during group sessions:

1. What is there to fear?

2. What stops or prevents you from being your best possible human being?

3. What are your patterns of conditioning that prevent you from fulfilling your whole being?

4. Do you want to change? Are you fully committed to change? What is there to change?

5. Can others count on you? Are you honest and trustworthy?

6. How do you relate or interact with others?

7. Are you mindful? Do you listen to yourself? Do you hear your voice? How you respond or react? Do you say what you mean? Are you conscious of your internal and external breath?

8. Are you curious, interested and enthusiastic?

9. How do you express your joy?

10.Do you have an open and flexible mind?

11.Are you kind, sensitive and compassionate?

12.Do you sincerely care about others and your natural and social environments?

13.How do you get along with others?

14.How do you compensate or adapt when your instincts and image ego is out of balance and you are stressed, anxious and depressed?

15.How do you act or behave when you don’t get “your way?” "My way or the highway!"

Social Work Practice courses can introduce these questions by organizing experiential work groups in the classroom to help our developing professionals learn to be skillful, aware and effective therapists. I suggest that you introduce a new question each session and encourage the students to share a personal experience related to it. This exercise may assist them in developing an open mind.

There are many ideas about our egos. This is a very good overview that may be helpful to understand how our ego develops and becomes ill-- From Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho . I also have worked for the past 30+ years with the Arica Programs to assist me in this transformation process. Perhaps the best resources that I have found during my search for meaning, purpose and truth are part of Tarthang Tulku's collection.

Do visit my other articles in my log that include various approaches, techniques and methods to advance our professional knowledge, skills and values.

Note: Picture is of my mom when she was a little person. In those days the "playpen" was very popular. However, not much room for play! My grandfather, Bapa, took the picture.


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13 comments

1 Sep 2007 @ 09:23 by kaydayss : It's a CHAIR
Your mom looks like me at that age. She is in a chair, not a playpen. Already she is learning to use her environment to support her head.  


1 Sep 2007 @ 13:06 by jerryvest : Thank you Kay. After taking another
close look at this picture I can now see that it is a chair.  


1 Sep 2007 @ 18:14 by sgierman : important questions
Thank you for this very thoughtful review of questions that pertain to ourselves as Essential Beings. So much of "therapy" is directed towards damage control for the Ego or exercises that do not move us with curiosity to recognize our true essential nature.

After getting my masters in counseling psychology 15 years ago, I am somewhat reluctantly preparing to take the national licensing test for mental health counselor. The test is a prerequisite for another program I considering. As you know I have continued working as a mind-body practitioner, reluctant to give up touch therapy for "hands-off" therapy that is demanded in the mental health field.

For now I am complying with regulations and doing some therapy in the prescribed manner to meet licensing requirements. Your questions serve as a wonderful guideline and reminder of what "therapy" is truly attempting to accomplish and connects me with my social work roots and the work we did together in those groups so many years ago. I am surely blessed for having had the opportunity to do that work and grow from the challenging questions that were presented to us all. I remember those days and that work and our Rio Grande community as in "no time".

Toham Kum Rah,
Stephanie

Thank you Jerry for another reminder of  



1 Sep 2007 @ 18:53 by jerryvest : It is so great seeing you here,
Stephanie. Thank you for the kind words and for being one of my favorite all time former students. We had such great times at Rio Grande and I was very fortunate to have been there during a time that we could work together to achieve our best possible condition using these health practices. Like you, I continue to value and cherish our body work and know that our elders and others here in New Mexico are loving our 'stressouts'. It is so true what you say about conventional mental health and "damage control." We can offer so much more when we use our integrative health methods and avoid treating symptoms and sticking nasty labels on our clients for life.

I'm sure you will pass any tests that these licensing groups can put out and know that you will continue to make huge contributions in support of humanity and those needing your care and attention.

Much love to you and your family,

Jerry

I hope we can get together before too many years pass.  



2 Sep 2007 @ 09:07 by jazzolog : With Admiration
Ten years ago who would have thought we would be musing away about our lives on some kind of computer diary, available for reading by anyone on the planet (and beyond)? I always have had a sense of pioneering in my life and often have found myself in such spiritual situations, even without seeking them. It may be a restlessness in my soul, for surely sitting quietly in the here and now is a great struggle for me. However Jerry, I too find this time of life convenient for summing up and looking at the choices I've made and the relationships I have attempted. I congratulate you on opening yourself in this medium. The activity makes use of the very best elements available to us at New Civilization Network.  


2 Sep 2007 @ 13:18 by jerryvest : Thanks, Jazzo. Yes, this is an
amazing resource for us to share and interact with one another around the world. I'm always surprised that more of my friends and colleagues do not value networking and take advantage of this opportunity to engage others and share their interests, skills, knowledge and experiences.

I had the good fortune to work with a colleague in the early 80's in designing and administering an "International Human Services Bulletin Board System(BBS)," prior to the expansion of the Internet. We started our system to organize a county-wide Information & Referral System with a 300 baud modem and sharing our connection with our university mainframe; however, it was sluggish and time consuming. We could use our typewriters much quicker. Fortunately, the technology increased the speed of our modems with direct connections to our computers and before long we were able to multiply the speed with 9600 baud modems. We created and maintained 18 Discussion Groups and had a great time introducing the system to social service agencies and to our professional organizations. For many reasons, few of our colleagues in social work supported the use of our network and it took several years for them to use their computers to interact with others. And, it hasn't substantially improved to this day. I give extra credit to students who participate in my online forum and I believe that I am the only professor in our school of social work who has a Website. I've offered to assist others in developing their personal webpage & forum and have an international presence, but I haven't had any takers, yet.

Anyway, I guess they can't know what they are missing if they don't get engaged in these creative activities. Like you, I am very grateful to be able to participate in our New Civilization Network and especially enjoy sharing my experiences, learning and informing others of our Global Touch Project. Richard, thanks for staying-in-touch.  



29 Jan 2015 @ 06:21 by Karla @103.224.250.152 : IBovTCtSYKNdcQlvjQdw
SchrackSo I own mw3 but I still need to pay another 10 bucks to play this? Damn. I was hipnog to try to at least move into 3rd for the season, but it's not worth it. At least I'm still the defending mmmmmmmmmmatt champion for 5 more days!  


29 Jan 2015 @ 18:12 by Siska @190.78.231.47 : MVKZIEsYXv
lol I love Smithy and loved that video sketch and I'm sure that enovyere was in on the joke but I still found myself cringing a little at their I'm going to kill you looks :/ seriously, am I the only who felt this?  


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