I often talk about flow, it’s something that fascinates me personally. I love the feeling of being in total alignment. All that I am is set towards the same purpose. Every aspect of my being is in tune and joyfully pursuing the expression of my true self. In that place of perfect flow, there is a purity of joy that defies expression.
Unfortunately, that is not my normal state. You probably would agree that most of the time we are dragging some aspect of “ourselves” around like a petulant child. I toyed with the idea of calling this article “the multitude that is me”. Within myself there are so many “selves”- parent, child, animal, engineer, poet, rebel, hippy, shadow- that crowd and jostle for control. Often getting consensus between them all feels like herding cats.
Within myself there are so many “selves”- parent, child, animal, engineer, poet, rebel, hippy, shadow – that crowd and jostle for control. Often getting consensus between them all feels like herding cats.
So how do we get into that flow more often? Over the last few weeks I have been exploring the concepts of the false self, the shadow self and the true self in my articles. These concepts all flow from the idea that we have fragmentation within us. The idea is that through shaming experiences we have split off aspects of who we are, and these various fragmented selves need to be reintegrated for healing and true flow to occur. The concepts of shadow, false and true self can be thought of as broad categories that contain within themselves many sub personalities that also need to be reintegrated for flow to occur.
For example; while exploring feelings of ambivalence and hopelessness with a friend (let’s use the name Jenny), we tried a role-playing exercise where I played an aspect of her personality and she played another. I was the parent figure, who had become very domineering, harsh, controlling, driven and unsympathetic. This character was fixated on success and appearing perfect to others at all costs. The other character was like a rebellious teen, all cynicism and angst, she wanted to do whatever felt good, hated being told what to do and resisted the parent at every turn.
As we played out this internal drama externally we discovered, that the teenager was a new addition whose role was to restrain the “out of control” parent. The parent figure had been the driving force behind most of Jenny’s success and achievements. It got stuff done basically, but Jenny had come to realise through various failures that the direction the parent figure was taking her no longer aligned with what she knew was true. Jenny had grown out of the shallow goals of personal glorification and worldly achievement. She had lost just enough faith in those goals that she was now unable to get behind the parent, also Jenny had instinctively realised that the parent self was causing damage to her body, mind and spirit because of its driven nature. On the other hand, the rebellious teen she had created to resist this parent, represented nothing positive but could only resist. This “teen” figure was only negative and not creative. Without the drive of the parent and with no direction from the teen, Jenny experienced deep apathy and despair.
This is just one small example of the dynamics of “cognitive dissonance”. Cognitive dissonance is describing the internal battles within, that drain energy and motivation. This is the reason why you can’t feel good about your decisions. When we are at war within ourselves, we are unable to feel the joy of flow. Most of our energy is being burnt up in internal battles for control, and the true self’s creative flow is unmanifested. Cognitive dissonance hurts basically. Every new division of self is causing us pain because it is frustrating our desire to bring into being a manifestation of the authentic self.
So how do you integrate these fragmented selves? It’s not a quick fix I’m afraid, lets continue with Jenny’s experience the explore the answer. After we had played out these two characters I asked Jenny if there was another self-involved? She realised there was, is was pure creative energy, it just wanted to jump into life and express its self into the world. We realised that this was Jenny’s true self, it was the source of all her energy and passion. It wanted to express itself and manifest itself simply because that was what it did. It seemed so pure in it’s motives, whereas the parent self-wanted to “do” so it was recognised, this True self wanted the “do” because it was “doing”. This was the dynamic we had revealed; the true self poured out in the pure joy of self-expression, then the parent self grabbed this energy and subverted it to it’s false agenda, “self-aggrandisement”, then the teen self-subverted the parent with cynicism. The end result was frustration and despair.
The internal dialogue went something like this;
True self: “Let’s go to the lake and kayak, then op shop”.
Parent self: “OK but we need to pack properly and dress right and you’ll have to wash your hair and get the kids dressed so we aren’t embarrassed, oh and you better not forget any thing or get it wrong or you will shame us all again. What about visiting you parents as well and the house needs to be tidied as too…
Teen self: F@#K that!! I just want to lay here and do nothing, I just want food and pleasure and fun..we aren’t doing anything today..
You get the drift! These internal battles are going on all the time, usually in the subconscious mind, and are draining the energy we really want to pour into flow. After realising this dynamic Jenny, realised she hated the parent and teen, they were killing her joy and peace. She then realised she had created them as conduits for the flow of the true self’s energy, because she had created them, she could change them. With the use of truth coaches like, “perfection is less important than self-expression” and “I made the parent I can change it”. She then had a lovely day doing what she deep down knew was right and released that flow of creative energy. The parent and the teen need to be brought into there higher states, simply put they needed to grow up. The parent was great at forming a structure for the flow of self-expression and keeping Jenny safe and the teen was helpful at making Jenny’s needs known to the parent and for rest and fun.
To be more at peace with your decisions you need to resolve these internal conflicts. Try playing out these internal “selves” in a journal or with a trusted friend or counselor. Take each self’s view point completely with out any other sides view and then reply with the other perspectives. You will start to gain awareness of the true issues and start the process of reintegration. Once understanding is gained use your wisdom or others, to adjust the untrue assumptions contained in each personality structure so they can start to align closer with the true self’s out pouring. In short make friends with yourself!
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