Loving Oneness Now

LAYERS OF THE EGO AND THE PARENTAL AUTHORITY SYSTEM

[Page E04]

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

I realize I had described many facets and functions of the ego in previous pages and it may seem a little repetitive to go into it all again here. But the approach on this Page is somewhat different because it describes the deeper and deeper layers of the ego-mind. Anyway, two-thirds of the process of Waking Up to (and in) the Universal Consciousness of Reality is the vaporizing of the fictitious ego and all its crazy shenanigans. I like the word "vaporizing" in this context because it implies a light and easy task, but you may prefer the terms, "dismantling," "dissolving," or even the more heavy duty ones, "eradicating," or "excising." With respect to excising the ego, it is like a cancer that needs to be cut out. Note well that the entire ego has to go, not just bits of it, and you can use the Ego-Dismantling Method to help you achieve an egoless Mind. Of course other techniques, methods and motivations are also needed alongside this one. (See all the G01-10 Web Pages.)

This material is all taken from a diagram--which would be the best way to present it--but many people cannot easily understand diagrams until they have a verbal explanation to accompany them. Also, complex diagrams take much longer to load on the web. But if you would like to view the actual colored diagram (graphic) go to:  R01

WHAT ARE THE LAYERS OF THE EGO?

NOTE: The "layers" referred to are more like the layers of an onion than layers of strata, and all six layers influence and interact with each other in dynamic ways--in other words the layers are not sealed off from each other, and, under various circumstances, any one layer can have a ripple cause and effect impact on the other layers, (e.g., in arguments, during accidents, when guilty, when dreaming).

Before I define and elaborate on these layers in more detail, here is a summary of them -- just to let you know where we are headed:

Layer One: Inner Parental Authority System--this is a much wider and deeper than "Super-ego, Conscience, social mores, etc."

Layer Two: Persona--Goody-good conforming ego-child who may sometimes be euphoric.

Layer Three: Persona--Mildly defensive, apprehensive, wary, and possibly petulant, irritable, annoyed, but it is "OK-normal" with us.

Layer Four: Private, inner ego-awareness conscious identity--some of it is off-limits to others, but we can live with it.

Layer Five: Very private stuff we are aware of, but do not identify with, and we (most of the time) want to rid ourselves of it.

Layer Six: Forbidden, shut-off, banned zone of extreme emotions and very deep trauma, much of which may be dissociated, even though it may occasionally erupt unbidden into unwanted behaviors, e.g., rage, panic attack, the cause of which is not known.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE, BESIDES THE EGO?

Underneath (not above) all the above six layers is your Real Self, who is continuous with the Singular Mind-as-Such of God in the Universal Oneness of all Being, in the ever-present Creative Now. However, to fully Wake Up to this, "My Father and I are One," state of Being the entire ego (all six layers) has to vanish into the fictional nothingness from whence it came.

LAYER ONE: THE INNER PARENTAL AUTHORITY SYSTEM (PAS)

As a term, the Inner Parental Authority System first needs to have each word in that title explained. 

It is INNER because it is inside each of our minds as a part of our ego's complex conglomerate of mixed up erroneous beliefs, emotions, thoughts, definitions, addictions and habits. 

It is PARENTAL because, in this lifetime, its main origins lie in infancy and childhood at which time our parents or caregivers (whom we selected before conception) "obligingly" inculcated in our waiting ego-minds all their own erroneous beliefs, emotions, thoughts, definitions, addictions and habits. Then, as we grew from two years of age to our teens, our other caregivers, teachers, relatives, siblings, clerics, and even strangers "obligingly" expanded on and consolidated this hodge-podge conglomeration of dogmatic nonsense in that part or layer of our ego-minds allocated for this authoritarian purpose. All this was taken inside our psyches to form the Parental Authority System which we now re-project out onto the world of "authorities" such as the government, schools and colleges, academia, all churches, the "Law" (all sections) and all media. (To learn about projection see Page R12.)

It is AUTHORITARIAN because, as an inner dynamic, the PAS dominates our lives, behaviors, emotions, attitudes, thoughts and beliefs in a controlling manner, pushing us, judging us, making us feel guilty, punishing us and stressing us out. The PAS is the basis for a lot of anxiety and fear.

It is a SYSTEM because, like any complex, regulatory, constantly-adjusting control program (e.g., your car's climate control) the inner Parental Authority System is constantly receiving large amounts of sensory and emotional input from both the inner and outer "environments." The PAS then evaluates this input by running it instantly through a kind of multifaceted compendium of our past experiences (from conception to yesterday) in terms of threats and degrees of likely pleasure and pain. Finally, in each instance, the PAS makes very quick reactive decisions (often unconscious) as to what are the most appropriate responsive behaviors (including none or "pause") in the current circumstances. This PAS process operates continuously, and even appears to run during sleep, both internally and externally. Just because there are "private" environments in both our dreams and our waking life when we are "allowed" to do publicly forbidden behaviors or acts (e.g., sex acts) does not mean the PAS is not operating; only the contrary, the "privacy" requirement is proof that the PAS is very active.

Other mis-leading (i.e., somewhat inaccurate) terms for the Parental Authority System are:  conscience, right and wrong, morals, ethical standards, sense of guilt, hounds of heaven, super-ego, inner remorse, blameworthy, illicit, and a hundred others. 

Many will react to the above statement and ask, "But if we do not have a conscience, a PAS, will we all not run amok and commit all kinds of crimes and indulge in every kind of anti-social behavior?" My short answer to that is, "Not if we all Love one another maximally as God Loves us; did Jesus or the Buddha ever harm anybody? Once everyone Loves everyone there will be no need for internal or external authorities." In the meantime, until we reach that Loving state, the ego will take care of ego authoritatively; for example, in terms of ego-polarities, the last cop will Wake Up at the same time as the last criminal, and the last victim will Wake Up at the same time as the last abuser. Those of us who are in the Love business will be the catalyst facilitators engaged in Waking Up this ego-world to be aware of all its polarities, including a major pole which I call the Parental Authority System--of which the other ego-pole is the suppression, censorship and limitation of freedom of those who are the oppressed. Jesus was crucified by the entire human Parental Authority System who saw his Loving Life as a threat to its established organizational dominance over the lives of the dominated. Love-less domination still goes on all around the world, when all the time Love is the Real Answer to every problem our egos have. We know all the Answers to every single problem in this world, but it is our self-serving egos which prevent those answers from being implemented. There is only one problem, namely that, by our choice, our egos keep us separated from God's eternal Loving Oneness right now.

When we separated from Love eons ago, and replaced Love with fear and anger, the anger had to be controlled by fear and therefore, in the interests of that control, we split the ego-mind into two disparate sections, one the controller and the other the part that had to be controlled. The controller section soon developed into the Parental Authority System which feared the uninhibited liberty of the wild, angry section, and, as a result squelched it (controlled it, using fear) with PAS anger. I have called the uninhibited, sometimes angry, section of the ego-mind our inner ego-children because (as we developed physical bodies) any kind of social order depended on having the kids conform to that social/family order--which, in turn, was dependent on how the parents decided the social/family order should be. We adults are full of a wide variety of polarized ego-children all of which are a legacy from our childhoods.

Note the point I am making here, is that the (a) PAS contains both fear and anger, (b) that the ego-children also have both fear and anger, and (c) that the four segments (PAS fear, PAS anger, Ego-child fear, ego-child anger) all continuously interlock and interplay in varying polarized combinations. For example, the timid ego-child is mostly afraid of the PAS, whereas the rebellious ego-child is mostly angry; the PAS has more fear of the rebellious child and is more angry with him or her too. The PAS is less fearful of the timid child and may display less anger. These interactive emotional patterns of the PAS/ego-children are slowly introjected (taken inside the developing child) roughly between the ages of ten and eighteen along with their associated ego-child behaviors and the kinds of PAS punishments. One frequent problem dealt with in psychotherapy is the continuing conflict (in adult life) between inner PAS angry punishment directed at the inner angry ego-child, a conflict which may result in frequent headaches, and/or lots of angry inner verbal arguments. 

LAYER TWO: PERSONA--THE GOODY-GOOD CONFORMING EGO-CHILD

Almost all humans possess this Persona to some degree. Those with a lot of the goody-good persona had, in childhood, a Parental Authority System which was mostly kindly, even "loving," but which set solid limits on anti-social behavior more by withdrawing "love" than by active verbal or physical punishment, and any helping or kindly acts of the child were bountifully praised (positively reinforced).

The goody-good inner ego-child likes to help people (whether they ask for it or not) and will always join the next good cause. The goody-good inner ego-child likes lots of praise, recognition and gratitude for his or her "good works" but, when this praise and gratitude are withdrawn or the going gets rough (except for "martyrs"), he or she soon withdraws support, qnd he or she may even grumble about "ungrateful people." The goody-good "martyrs" have a PAS that inwardly praises them for the wonderful self-sacrifices they make on behalf of others, especially their family; these do-gooder "martyrs" also enjoy angling for sympathy and praise from their friends for the many things they are giving up (sacrificing) in order to be of service to their families or favorite causes. Do-gooder martyrs may also load the recipients of their "gifts" with guilt by reminding them often about the selfless service these "unfortunate" people are receiving. 

The inner goody-good ego-child can even become quite euphoric through copious inner self-praise on behalf of their inner PAS. "What a joyful person am I who does all these wonderful acts of kindness for my family or for other needy people." Please do not misunderstand this section--there is nothing negative about helping other people; we have only been discussing a few of the ego's motives for doing so here, motives which stem from a particular egoic pattern of child-rearing. By contrast, Jesus and the Buddha operated on a basis of Real unconditional Love without ego-involvement.

LAYER THREE: PERSONA--THE MILDLY DEFENSIVE, APPREHENSIVE, EGO-CHILD, WHO MAY ALSO BE IRRITABLE AND PETULANT AT TIMES.

Underneath the goody-good ego-child (if we have one) there is usually a mildly defensive, apprehensive, wary ego-child. This ego-child, during childhood frequently suffered from varying degrees of anxiety-making and even from fearful situations. In adult life, as a result of this fear-related childhood conditioning, we find ourselves in a permanent state of wariness. This anxiety state is continuous and it merely gets temporarily covered over when we experience pleasurable or seemingly safe situations. Soon, however, our insecure state of apprehensive wariness returns, and not infrequently this type of ego adopts a mildly defensive attitude to other people in an attempt to anticipate when and where the next expected danger or attack may be coming from. This defensiveness/apprehension is a kind of sensing antenna which, when successful, may be able to forestall the perceived anticipated threat or danger by using various tactics and manipulations such as placating or complimenting the other person, exhibiting submissiveness, exiting the scene, or using distractions to divert their attention. Some individuals become masters of these tactical devices, dances and games.

But this Layer Three ego-child may also be petulant, grouchy, and irritable because the angry ego-child lies not far below the anxiety, and so, much of the time, the anger tends to keep on bubbling through as irritability when the incoming threat diminishes a little. Outright anger will break through only when there is hardly any threat at all. (This type of "everyday" anger does not include ego-child rage--which is explored later below, and on Page E3.)

There is one other more serious infrequent scenario for Layer Three personas: In familiar situations with miniscule threat, but with repeated incoming annoyances, the irritability of the angry ego-child builds up to a crescendo behind the dam of fear until that dam breaks and the person explodes into attack mode and has an "adult ego-tantrum." However, once the adult tantrum has been vented, the low-level anxiety tends to return, and it may be accompanied by (PAS-induced) remorse and guilt. (This type of "everyday" explosive anger does not include ego-child rage--which is explored later below, and on Page E3.) 

LAYER FOUR: A PRIVATE, INNER EGO-AWARENESS CONSCIOUS IDENTITY--SOME OF WHICH IS OFF-LIMITS TO OTHERS

Layer Four lies below the above three Persona Levels. We all have our secrets that we do not normally disclose to other people. This private aspect of our egos has two dimensions: one dimension is about degrees of secrecy, ranging from very mildly secret stuff to very secret stuff, while the other dimension has to do with the people we would reveal our secret stuff to--from casual acquaintances to very close confidants. Usually the two ranges are correlated, but when it comes to doctors and therapists we my not mind revealing our secrets to comparative "strangers." Years ago, one client of mine, during her first visit, gave me a full account of the secret sexual abuse she had suffered from the age of 4 to 18, information she had revealed to no one else in all that time.

While these cases are, perhaps, dramatic, we all have our private secrets and habits or memories of which we are "ashamed," and we feel that others would disapprove of them. One client guiltily revealed to me that she masturbated regularly since she was 14, and said, "Now you know my deepest secret which I have never before revealed to anyone." This client also had many sexual affairs about which she was quite publicly open. She was surprised when I told her that sexual surveys have shown that the vast majority of the population masturbate not infrequently.

I used to "shock" my Course in Miracles groups (when we got to the phrase, "There are no secrets,") by saying to them that I knew all their secrets, all their personal habits, all their fantasies, and all their guilty thoughts and memories. When they asked how I knew, I would reply, "Because almost everyone has them, including me!" 

Much of this secret inner "stuff" is only there because, since birth, many of us were raised in a prudish family and a puritanical society in which lots of "sins" were emphasized and where guilt was laid on with a trowel! Most religions and even secular "authorities" mistakenly believe that the only way to control our sexuality, aggression, and addictions is to preach abstinence, legislate against them and punish those who transgress the laws they have made or believe in. All this is simply the suppressive external PAS in action which is a reflection of our (already introjected) internal Parental Authority Systems. 

Religious people and authorities seems to think "God goofed" when He created the "sins" of sex, fear and aggression, and that the only way to clean up this mess of "original sins" is for the PAS to restrict these drives as firmly and, in some cases, as ruthlessly as we can. It never seems to occur to the church "authorities," the legislators, or anyone else for that matter, that there may be a Loving natural way of bringing up our children, in which these drives are allowed to grow and develop into mature, useful and joyous adult experiences for their lifetimes. (See papers on Aggression E3, and Running with the Sheep K10.)

When it comes to sex and aggression the human race is about as hypocritical as it is possible to be. Almost all of us act completely differently in private to the way we act and speak in public. Once a middle-aged student (in a college class I was teaching on child-rearing) read a letter to our group from her son who was attending a university in another state. In his letter to his mother the young man explained how she and his fundamentalist father had left him totally unprepared for the way life really was in the world at large. He flatly stated that he had been far too sheltered and over-protected while growing up. He had recently visited a close friend in city jail after the friend was busted for smoking pot, and, in the letter, the son explained how he was not only at a complete inner loss as to how to handle what he saw there, but was also in an emotional turmoil of bewilderment and ignorance.

Note that we do not usually want to rid ourselves of the "secret" ego-children activities in this group (Layer Four) because we enjoy them. We enjoy our sarcasm or masturbation or other "forbidden" sexual activities.

This letter from the son reminded me of the Buddha who led a similar sheltered over-protected life and who was equally dismayed and shocked by his unprecedented exposure to death, disease and crime. (See section D2 on The Life of Gautama the Buddha.) Exposure to experiences does not mean they will be mimicked or adopted, especially when children are brought up in Loving families who can explain lucidly what is going on. Fortunately for the human race many of the new generation of children have come in fully prepared with the necessary inner knowledge to help extricate us from this insane world of ego. 

LAYER FIVE: VERY PRIVATE, EGO-STUFF WE ARE AWARE OF, BUT WISH TO BE RID OF

Layer Five is the seat of many of our common neuroses, and contains many of our troublesome inner ego-children, the ego-children most of us would rather do without. Here is a sampling of the more obvious ones: the worrying ego-child, the angry ego-child, the abandoned ego-child, the abused hurt ego-child, the clinging insecure child, the complaining whining ego-child, the confused, baffled ego-child, the despairing ego-child, the fearful ego-child, the guilty ego-child, the intolerant ego-child, the jealous ego-child, the lonely ego-child, the "never-good-enough" ego-child, the rejected child, the shy timid ego-child, the unmotivated ego-child, the victim martyr ego-child, the confrontational child. (See next Section E5, for a full listing of ego-children.) We are often in denial that there are these kinds of ego-children in us, and even when we are aware of them we almost always desire to disown them even to ourselves. For example, I have never heard anyone (other than some clients) admit they were an intolerant person, or a chronic complainer. Most of us will disown guilt. Rarely do we admit we are confrontational. Note that these Layer Five secret ego-children are a different group to the ones in Layer Four because we wish to truly disown this group (Layer Five).

Well, it is impossible to get rid of ego-children that we will not admit to, so at the very least, we can begin with an honest inventory of the ones we know or feel we have, or those that other people tell us we have. Whenever family and friends (and even "enemies") tell you that you have a particular ego-child trait, it is probably true, so you should take a very hard look at yourself and do some Ego-Dismantling Method work on it. Never, never try to pretend them away. No one can Wake Up until their whole ego has been completely dissolved, so each of us on a serious Spiritual Path might as well begin the process NOW.

LAYER SIX: THE FORBIDDEN, SHUT-OFF, BANNED ZONE

Layer Six of the ego is the depository of all those horrendous traumas and extreme emotions we will never face voluntarily and which we hide deeply in our unconscious minds. Examples would be: profound despair, stark terror, intense rage, suicide, extreme panic, insanity, cruel hate. This is the stuff of nightmarish scenarios should these emotions ever overpower us, therefore we expend much repressive energy keeping them buried by denial as well as by preoccupying ourselves with lighter distractions. These distractions are not necessarily always pleasurable or entertaining, because not a few people prefer the lesser evils of sickness, anxiety or quarreling.

Well, Layer Six is usually nowhere near as powerful or bad as it would appear, once we get a modest way along our Spiritual Path. In fact, although many will find this hard to believe, the contents of Layer Six are just as much unreal, fictional, worst-case scenarios as are the other Layers of the ego. Every aspect of the ego, when confronted, faced and cathartically emoted through the continual use of the Ego-Dismantling Method, will dissolve. However, because of the seemingly volatile nature of the contents of Layer Six I strongly recommend you do this with the assistance of a Psychospiritual therapist.

Many years ago in Barcelona, on the first night of a vacation, while lying in my hotel bed, I suddenly realized I was all alone in the world, and a profound panic state overwhelmed me. I was tempted to get dressed and parade up and down the main boulevard with the Saturday night crowds, but an inner voice told me to face this panic without any equivocation. So I invited this extreme fear to do its worst to me, at which point I started shivering and sweating at the same time--but I "hung in there." Within 15 minutes I started hallucinating; a shitty brown blob started emerging from the corner of the small room. This blob of ultimate panic and fear was slowly expanding, filling the room, and although I sensed it would suffocate me, I continued to welcome it and told it to do its worst! I cried out, "Kill me if you like, but I am tired of living a fearful life and I would rather die than live another day in fear." The blob came within inches of my face, so I said, "Okay, come on then, do it, finish me off now." But when the blob began to back off a little I felt the confrontation was not yet over, so I yelled, "Coward, don't back off, finish what you came to do." However the blob slowly receded back into the corner despite my entreaties to return. After the blob disappeared altogether, the shaking gradually ceased. Then, minutes later in my stillness, a deep Peace spread through me and I realized that my panic state and deep fears had entirely disappeared. A short time later I fell into a dreamless sleep. Since that time, I have rarely felt even a little fearful, and then only in the face of actual rare real physical danger. But, to date, over 50 years later, the panic has never returned in any circumstances. Incidentally, here is a Test question: Who or what do you think that shitty brown blob symbolized? Answer: MY own suffocating introjected (internalized from childhood) controlling PAS aggression that kept pushing me around during my young adulthood--until that night in Barcelona. 

WHAT LIES UNDER THE SIX LAYERS OF THE EGO?  YOUR REAL SELF

As indicated earlier above, underneath (not above) all the above Six Layers of the ego is your Real Self, who is continuous with the Singular Mind-as-Such of God in the Universal Oneness of all Being, in the ever-present Creative Now

However, to fully Wake Up to this, "My Father and I are One," state of Being, the entire ego (all six layers) has to vanish into the fictional nothingness from whence it came.

The only way to achieve the uncovering of your Real-Self, Christ-Self, your Buddha-Self, is by dissolving all the above Layers of the ego.

 

Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD

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