A metaphor is worth a thousand words. Here are a few that suggest the nature of the Aware Ego Process.
The American Indian Life Walk
The American Indian Life Walk envisages the first half of our life as a walk along an expanding spiral, dropping things off as we go. At the halfway point we turn around and move back along the same spiral, picking up those things we have set down.
This eloquent statement of the consciousness process shows us disowning those parts of our potential, which were too difficult to express. Our job is to pick them up again and integrate them into our identity and our life.
The Aware Ego is who is doing the picking up, not what is being picked up.
In an orchestra the role of the conductor is important. She carries no instrument and makes no sound. From a conductor’s point of view all instruments are good, the point is to play music beautifully. You can also bring to mind the cacophony prior to performance and the harmony during it. (Even when we disown many parts of ourselves they often assert themselves in constant inner commentary while we are behaving in other ways.)
A Team Meeting
An organisational image is the management team meeting, complete with a large table. Think of a meeting you have attended dominated by one person, the CFO, say. The CEO is under his or her sway. Other points of view do not get heard. The decision is the one the CFO prefers. This may lead to distorted decision-making, based on limited information and consultation. It certainly leads to resentment and frustration.
In a functional meeting the chairperson makes sure all points of view are heard. After there has been a full consideration of all the relevant issues the chairperson makes a decision, delegating actions and allocating resources. It is not necessary that all team members agree with one another or with the decision — agreement and compliance are not the same thing – but a wise chairperson will listen to dissent.
We have a management team on the inside. When we listen only to the loudest voices the primary selves are dominating the inner meeting and making the decisions. Dissenting voices — the disowned selves — are censored or suppressed.
An Aware Ego Process allows us to listen to more information and opinions (from the inside and from the outside). Decisions are often different and have a different quality to them.
Do you remember the game we played on a seesaw? If you stand in the middle and walk towards one end the seesaw tips towards that end. It stops when it hits the ground. You may get thrown off! However, kids are resourceful. You can get very nimble at this game. With one foot either side of the fulcrum you merely shift your weight a little and the seesaw moves controllably. A highly unstable system is converted into a stable one when we acquire the sensitivity to control it.