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Escaping Your Personal Prison | Finding Your Inner Self (and Inner Peace)

Spirituality

The never-ending quest for “happiness.” Ask someone enduring mood woes, panic attack symptoms, or chronic stress how that’s going. Spirituality? Other vehicles? Unproductive. Maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for tools to accomplish the escape from your personal prison. What say we turn to your Inner Self?

Attended a therapy seminar last week, which served its intended purpose. However, I absorbed so much from the material used to set the table for that intended purpose. It was all about the Inner Self, the home of inner peace. The thought/theory is special, so I want to share. Actually, I’ll be doing so in two-parts, so keep an eye out for that second installment.

The Ego, the Inner Self

We began learning the moment we were born (many would submit before). And we believed all we learned was true. The real truth is, we learned a ton of wrong things. Still, we formed beliefs based upon what we learned.

We all have an ego. All sorts of definitions floating about out there; however, let’s run with this…

The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.

Got it?

Located within the ego is the Inner Self (IS). And it’s lodged so deeply, we’re barely aware it’s there. The IS is an amazing holding area containing every bit of our human potential. Some refer to this as our “genetic potential.” The IS provides a constant push to fulfill our sweetest dreams, including the desire to be a good, loving human being who can accomplish most anything.

Fact is, we feel the ISs positive energy when we experience an urge to make a life change. For example, some of us may have wished to, say, take-up a musical instrument. It’s referred to as a “ghost hobby,” and the IS uses such inclinations to express itself and our potential.

So as wondrous as the IS is, why do we find it so hard to make the changes necessary to secure inner peace?

Well, the IS is most often imprisoned, chained by the excess baggage we’ve carried for years. I mean, you want to dump that baggage, right? But you just can’t seem to do it.

Consider this. We began learning the moment we were born (many would submit before). And we believed all we learned was true. The real truth is, we learned a ton of wrong things. Still, we formed beliefs based upon what we learned. And those beliefs transitioned into attitudes, which generated behaviors – habits – we’d use when confronted with belief-relevant situations.

As time ensued, our beliefs, and all that came with them, constructed walls and bars around the ego – and the IS.

Personality | Where It All Goes Wrong

The sum of our beliefs, attitudes, and habits compose our personality. But, let’s be clear – our personality isn’t who we are. Sure, it’s how we are; however, not who. Simply, our personality is the baggage our consciousness carries around so it can deal with the world to get what we need – the entire time, imprisoning the IS (who we really are).

So, if we’re looking for what’s making us “unhappy,” we need not look further than our personality. Because it’s our personality that fools us into believing we’ll derive happiness from total “security,” experiencing all the pleasurable sensations we can, and gaining power.

Actually, part of our personality is unhappiness itself. And our personality won’t allow us to see the truth, nor will it allow us to do anything about our overall state of misery – except doing more of what’s been making us miserable all along.

Curious thing about our personality – it makes excuses and justifies itself. It (we) says, “I am this way, because that’s the way I am.” That’s called circular reasoning and we never think to question it. And such statements are made because our personality has developed a will and a life of its own. It serves its own purpose: self-perpetuation.

In an effort to maintain self-perpetuation, our personality has learned to throw up strong defenses between itself and the IS. These defenses insulate the personality from the IS – trapping it. And the greater the insulation between the IS and the personality, the easier it is for our personality to fool us.

Bottom-line: personality actually believes it must not change or it will cease to exist. So it’s highly resistant to anything rocking the boat and will do whatever it must to maintain the status quo.

Know what? The IS knows this, but, again, it’s trapped. And it isn’t pleased about it, letting us know with feelings of unhappiness.

Okay, so what about those strong defenses incorporated by our personality? Go figure, they’re called defense mechanisms, and their purpose is to assist the personality in resisting the positive potential and forces of the IS, hence preventing change.

Speaking of defense mechanisms, what are some of yours? Why not share in a comment?

That’ll Do It

So, that never-ending quest for “happiness.” Folks enduring mood probs, panic attack symptoms, chronic stress, and more know it all too well. Nothing wrong with sprituality, meditation, etc. But let’s work at foundation level – the Inner Self. I’m thinking inner peace can’t be far away.

Hey! Be sure to come back for Part 2. We’ll be discussing how to secure the inner peace you’ve longed for.

Thanks to Gregory L. Little, EdD and Kenneth D. Robinson, EdD for sharing their outside-the-box thinking.

So many more Chipur titles await your eyeballs. Check ‘em out!

  • bheretoday

    Holy cow, Bill, I think you’ve been visiting MY inner self. I’ve really been thinking about this topic a lot lately. And thank you for pointing out that my personality is not who I really am; who I really am is a being created by the holiest of beings. I can’t wait for Part Deux!

    • Isn’t it wild how sometimes folks, things speak the same lingo to us when we’re in the midst? I’m glad we connected at a good time, Beth. Wonder how many believe their personality truly is who they are. Hopefully this piece will introduce a bit of insight (and relief). I found the info very helpful as I learned. Stay tuned for that “Part Deux” – comin’ soon. Appreciate your visit and comment, Beth…

      Bill

  • Nancy Frye Peden

    Ok, one small gripe to start with. As someone with less than perfect genes, in fact many mutations that effect my mental and physical self, I think calling the IS our “genetic” self is way off (I doubt anybody has perfect genes and I feel the IS is pretty darn perfect. I prefer the Buddhist concept of true self or true nature.

    One theory/practice I like says we have a participatory self, that is full of wonder and capable of knowing deeply and we are also individual selves, that is our personality that we show the world. So I would like to be more of my participatory self, the one who knows no separation from all of nature.

    Here is my short start of a list of my defenses:

    being still, very still as in not being able to take a walk even

    not speaking up

    taking drugs

    avoiding contact

    obsessing

    not eating right

    I will be working on more of a list and opening up to my true self who embraces all this mess and knows better, that I am alright, just as I am.

    • Hey, Nancy! Thank you for stopping-by and contributing…

      First of all, “gripes” – all shapes and sizes – are welcome here. Your point is well-taken regarding the “genetic self.” And if you prefer the Buddhist concept, that’s wonderful. My take on “genetic self” leans toward temperament, which I believe is solidly in place when we’re born (perhaps before). Be it you, or anyone, who really knows what portion of our mental/emotional selves are directed by genetic mutations? And that means we have to strongly consider stressors and environmental factors, which have occurred throughout our lives.

      I appreciate your sharing your defenses. I’m thinking many who happen by here will relate.

      Again, thanks for visiting and participating, Nancy. Always nice having you here.

      Bill

  • Nancy Frye Peden

    Forgive me for posting twice but I remembered something. I took a class where we were taught that defenses are coping skills we learned and that they should be honored and respected as having had a utility in our lives (survival!). The book The Wisdom of the Ego, now quite old, is wonderful. (http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Ego-George-E-Vaillant/dp/0674953738/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409235132&sr=1-1&keywords=wisdom+of+the+ego) It is assuming that, yes, we have an IS but that the ego does a great deal for us.

    • You make a valid point, Nancy. I have no problem accepting that we develop defense mechanisms out of necessity – survival. And these ought to be respected and honored. I wonder, though – does there come a time when these defense mechanisms no longer serve a purpose, and become baggage? Then, of course, we have the defense mechanisms we develop in an effort to protect and hide because of a learned/perceived weakness or inability to cope with an aspect of our world. In my opinion, these are the ones that most presently harm us – and need to go.

      Appreciate the book tip!!!

      Bill

  • Sue Ledet

    Oh Bill, for a while all I could think was Oh Bill. We talked about this last session and my main defense mechanism is staying in the drama of family of origin so that I can avoid the constant pain of losing my older son (and my younger son too, if truth be known). I make a list before our session, I now realize that as long as I can keep you off the subject of my pain, we can stay on the superficial. This time you called me on it and the session was to say the least brutal for me. I’ve burst into tears each day since then — tears of healing, doesn’t feel like it. The Buddha is my go to also — reading his words, trying to meditate on them. Hasn’t worked so far. I’m adrift.

    My personality has been my shield my whole life — but it’s great, right? Witty, bright, articulate, the clown… My soul, if I have one, has never been touched that I can remember. I so hope I have one and that we can find it together. Apologize for interminable post but I’ve cried every day since the session.

    I’m also looking forward to Part Two, Bill.

    NOTE: For the folks who remember my trip to Munich in May, my granddaughter starts 2nd grade in Texas today. Such a wonderful little person and more like her biological daddy every day – to the chagrin of her adoptive mom (my great-niece/godchild).

    • Hiya’, Sue!

      Well, as long as you’re going there, yes we did talk about this during our last session – that’s why I wanted you to read it. Glad you did.

      Good catch regarding your session list preparation. No doubt, the best way to avoid pain – and its resolution – is diversion. Bammo! Got ya’, didn’t I!? I know the session ended-up being extremely difficult for you; however, we came away with a valuable list (won’t go into detail, but you know what I’m talking about). Certainly, your tears may not feel like those of healing at this time, but I’m thinking the healing is taking place, whether you realize it, or not.

      You absolutely have a wonderful personality, Sue, and I’d never want you to radically change. Just realize portions – actions – of our personality may well be serving as a barrier to the soul. We can definitely set sail on a discovery journey. You’re a brave and hard-working client, Sue. Amidst the tears, please don’t give up on yourself, and your tomorrows.

      Readers – if you want the details regarding Sue’s trip – and granddaughter – here are the links to the Chipur articles…

      http://chipur.com/the-journey-to-a-good-place-sues-epiphany/
      http://chipur.com/breaking-news-sues-epiphany/

      Bill

  • Nancy Frye Peden

    Hey, just had to come in and say I just tried stepping out of one of my defenses. I spoke up to my ex husband. He is very touchy and this may have consequences. But I am no longer the one who is so ashamed of myself. He divorced me. That is his stuff, not mine.

    After I tried the new behavior I got real scared but Bill was kind enough to send me some support.

    I think the one who spoke up may be my IS speaking. Whooopeee!

    And as always, thanks, Bill.

    • Thank YOU, Nancy, for sharing with us. Very nice job…

      Bill

  • Hey Bill, This is interesting stuff and I’m glad you shared. The bottom line caught me eye about the personality’s resistance to change, because it will cease to exist. It is curious for me when I make those attempts to tweak my personality for one reason or another, I feel the resistance. Not sure where it is coming from, but it is there. Looking forward to learning more about inner peace

    • Hey, Cathy. Glad you stopped-by. Funky thing, this personality of ours, huh. Absolutely has a mind, and mission, of its own. The fact that you feel the resistance is telling – and hopeful. I mean, if it’s a personality trait or characteristic you really want to modify (or delete), there must be a reason it’s difficult to facilitate. Perhaps Part 2 will be of assistance in removing the insulation between your personality and IS (establishing inner peace). Just posted, here’s the link http://chipur.com/escaping-your-personal-prison-how-to-access-your-inner-self-and-inner-peace/

      Thanks for your visit and contribution, Cathy…

      Bill

  • Candace

    HI Bill – I lol’d several times while reading this, because I recognized myself – great article! One part that really stood out for me was “Consider this. We began learning the moment we were born (many would submit before). And we believed all we learned was true. The real truth is, we learned a ton of wrong things.”
    I feel like I’ve spent much of my time here recovering from all those ‘wrong’ things I learned – and I’m glad because life is a lot easier now! As always, thanks for your fresh perspective and the humour you bring to it.

    Candace

    • Well, thanks for dropping-by and participating, Candace. Pretty amazing, isn’t it!? All those things we learned that were/are all so wrong. Once that sinks into our skulls life becomes much easier, indeed. ‘Course, then it’s a matter of learning the right things – and enjoying the fruits of our labors.

      Always good to “see” you, Candace…

      Bill