jump to navigation

Carl Jung: The value of the ego, our inner voice May 16, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development, Ego Management.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

As we explore the concept of personal growth and development, we eventually will encounter discussion about the ego, and the role it plays (whether for good or bad) in our overall life situation.

The concept of the ego has been defined in various ways since the beginnings of modern psychiatry and psychology. In recent years many of us have become aware of a concept of the ego as expounded by Eckhart Tolle.

Tolle, in some of his writing, describes the ego, in part,  as a chattering voice within our heads that is hard to keep quiet and which constantly focuses on either the past or the future; thereby denying us peace in the now, peace in the present moment.

For Tolle, the ego can be a source of frustration and considerable emotional pain because of the turmoil it can produce in our thinking and in our actions. The ego`s tendency to dwell on grievance and perceived problems develops a “pain body” within us that produces a victim status. (1)

The psychiatrist Carl Jung, while recognizing that the ego is sort of a subconscious automatic thought-producer, nevertheless does not believe that the ego should be sublimated. Jung (who holds to the more historical or traditional concept of the ego) believes that the ego has value in defining our reality.

After battling a serious heart disease, which brought him close to death, Jung came to a number of conclusions as a result of considerable introspection during his grave health crisis. He wrote that the workings of the ego, and the resulting sense of who we, are can be a source of strength.

Jung writes:

“It was only after the illness that I understood how important it is to affirm one’s own destiny. In this way we forge an ego that does not break down when incomprehensible things happen; an ego that endures, that endures the truth, and that is capable of coping with the world and with fate. Then, to experience defeat is also to experience victory.”

Of the automatic chattering voice within our heads, Jung also sees value:

“I have also realized that one must accept the thoughts that go on within oneself of their own accord as part of one’s reality…The presence of thoughts is more important than our subjective judgement of them. But neither must these judgements be suppressed, for they also are existent thoughts which are part of our wholeness.” (2)

(1) Two of Eckhart Tolle’s most influential books are: A New Earth, and The Power of Now

(2) Jung quotations are from his book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Ego management: The power of personal grievances April 12, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Ego Management.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Unless we first take steps to control our ego, our efforts within a personal growth program will amount to little.

That is one inference we can make about the huge influence of the ego, and particularly what Eckhart Tolle calls the ego’s creation, the pain-body, on our overall thinking, actions, and development.

Interpreting Tolle broadly, each person’s pain-body, is a collection of grievances accumulated by the ego (the voice in our head), and this though-accumulation has a pronounced effect on our entire behaviour pattern.

In his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,  Eckhart Tolle observes:

“The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are then forced to re-enact the past again and again.”

This can lead to a vast collection by the ego of grievances – a storehouse of real and imagined slights, injustices, and examples of unfairness in our lives.

Welcome to the pain-body.

“The voice will be blaming, accusing, complaining, imagining. And you are totally identified with whatever the voice says, believe all its distorted thoughts. At that point, the addiction to unhappiness has set in,” Tolle says.

How to control or manage the processes of the ego and the ego’s use of the pain-body is one of the main subjects Tolle discusses in A New Earth.

Further reading:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle, A Plume Book, Penguin Books Ltd., A Namaste Publishing Book, 2006, 315 pages