In practice, life for most of us falls far short of what it could be. We experience negative feelings and emotions - hate, pain, jealousy, grief. Our thinking can be distorted or even delusional, as when we grow paranoid about others' intentions or attitudes, or overly pessimistic about our own abilities and worth. Also, our behavior can be destructive. Too often, in a fit of rage or despair, we say or do things we very soon come to regret. These unwanted aspects of life tend to fall in three categories:
Negative feelings - inappropriate attitudes, emotions, sensations and pains.
Distorted thinking - misconceptions, delusions and fixed ideas.
Dysfunctional behavior - self-defeating compulsions or inhibitions.
Without these factors we would have a planet full of people who were basically happy, productive, loving and helpful to one another. In their presence, we have war, twisted relationships and broken dreams - in short, the human condition.
We have examined how negative COEXs (condensed experiences) are brought about when an effort of involvement in the world turns sour and negative response-patterns become imprinted. When one experiences contingencies that are too intense, too long-lasting or too repetitive, one has a choice - one has the option of fully confronting the situation, accepting and experiencing the pain involved, or of trying in some way to block one's awareness of it.
In the first case one allows oneself to be aware of the intentions that exist in the situation - what one wanted the outcome to be. These intentions can then either be fulfilled, or they can be consciously un-made, and the situation becomes a past incident.
But in the second case the intentions are repressed along with one's awareness and memory of the circumstances; this all continues to exist as an ongoing, incomplete action, floating along as part of the person's present time. Such a condensed experience or COEX is charged, since there is repressed, unfulfilled intention.
Even though many COEXs remain unviewed and undischarged, at any particular time they may not happen to be triggered - as when we go on a vacation, when we do nothing adventurous or when things are going well in life. When we are not being reactivated and are fully present in the here and now, we experience a type of clarity - an ability to see things as they are, a calm frame of mind and a generally good ability to cope with things because we are neither misled by distortions of thought and perception, nor are we compelled or inhibited in our behavior, to do things against our real wishes.
Many people though, if not most, go about in an almost continuous state of disturbance, with one or more COEXs currently in reactivation, but probably not being aware of this happening; they don't differentiate this phenomena from their core selves. One thing or another is continually triggering reactive patterns and thus 'bothering' them. This may be expressed as the view that 'life's a bitch', and there can even be a sense of heroism in this sort of viewpoint.
As I interact with the environment, disturbances are the first aspect of the COEX that I become aware of; being the most peripheral, I can see this phenomena objectively. It is usually only with the help of therapy, either one-to-one, on a training course or in solo-therapy with a meter, that I view such disturbances thoroughly enough to be able to separate them from my Self.
Looking deeper into a COEX, I become aware of and differentiate my Self from deeper and deeper elements, and I begin to resolve the confusions that have existed between the real me and identities or sub-personalities with which I have become unconsciously entangled - ways of being that I have imitated or adopted, as solutions towards my goals. At the center of the COEX, I differentiate my transpersonal traits from the Core Self, and then by differentiating further, I find that I am not necessarily all that the transpersonal entails (including perinatal, archetypal, past life and collective-unconscious influences), nor my body, but a Higher Self that is not of this physical world.
The feeling Core Self is what is innate and instinctive in man, centered in the lower brain, the genetic basis of his physical and mental make-up, with a life-force of its own - the id and libido. It is entirely real and central to the person and cannot be easily changed or injured; it is at the source of motivation, with intrinsic needs and fears. It is the psycho-somatic link with the body, and contains complete kinesthetic memory plus genetic records stretching beyond conception to archetypal drives and evolutionary links with all life - the basis of the first four programs described earlier.
The thinking Personality however, centered in the cortex, is what is acquired and learned; involving the triggering and alignment of the first four programs and upon them, motivational response-patterns, and all the trauma and disturbances further attached to them. Personality is the ego and Superego but not the Core Self and it can change identity almost completely with a change of circumstances - it can be lost or easily injured. Both the Core Self and Personality are stimulus-response mechanisms - man as a social animal (though none the less for that) - and die as such with the body, though continuing through the genetic line.
Move on to Disturbances and Trauma
Return to Transforming the Mind - Contents
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