Conflicts Between the Spiritual and Material Ego
These roles or personas, which develop subconsciously, create a variety of beliefs and subsequent needs and emotions. Most of our personas manage to cooperate enough so that we can function without serious inner turmoil, but there are times in our lives when we experience inner conflicts in which two or more parts of our being have conflicting needs.
Many of these conflicts have to do with the differing needs between our “spiritual” personas and our “material” personas. We place these words in quotation marks because all personas live in ignorance, and thus are all material. The so-called “spiritual” personas are trying to be spiritual, or in some cases, only to appear spiritual.
One part of ourselves wants to improve our character and lifestyle, and proceed spiritually, while the other might prefer to remain in the familiar, conditioned types of behavior and activities where it finds security, pleasure and affirmation. Let’s call the first part the spiritual ego and the second the material ego. We want these two to meet, to open up to each other and become one.
We do not intend to imply that the spiritual ego is higher or more spiritual than the material ego. In some cases, the opposite may be true, as the spiritual ego might be simply seeking security, pleasure and affirmation in other ways. The spiritual ego may occasionally be even more afraid or attached to persons and situations than the material ego; however, this is not always the case.
CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL PERSONAS
The spiritual ego feels the conflict most intensely (if we didn’t desire spiritual growth or self-improvement we would not have a conflict), and usually creates feelings of self rejection, failure and guilt when we are unable to satisfy its need to feel that it is “spiritual” and “worthy.”
Also, when we do not feel worthy, we do not feel safe. This occurs because many of us are programmed to believe whoever is not “good” or worthy in God’s eyes is not safe, as he does not “deserve” God’s love and protection. Making matters worse is the fact that we might also be programmed to feel we deserve punishment.
These are obviously not the highest reasons to want to improve ourselves. They are, in fact, rather selfish motives. If we want to change to ensure our safety, or so others will accept us, we are simply replacing the material ego with the spiritual ego. Nothing has really changed. In some cases, our need to fulfill these spiritual “requirements” for our self-acceptance has to do with our need to feel we are more spiritual than others. Thus, we simply replace the need for affirmation and superiority on a material level with the same need on the spiritual level.
It is important to realize that our self-worth is permanent and divine. We cannot be worth more or less in God’s eyes. We are divine consciousness itself in the process of evolving our ability to express our divinity on the material planes. Our inherent spiritual value is not changed by our actions or spiritual growth. What is changed is our ability to express those values mentally, emotionally and physically.
Trying to be a better person because we believe it will encourage God to love us more is also an insufficient motive for growth.
Desiring to become a clearer channel for divine energies of love, peace, harmony, justice and happiness is a much better motive. Seeking to purify ourselves so we can experience that Divine Consciousness in every being and event that we encounter, is a useful motive. Seeking to remove all mental, emotional and physical obstacles so that we can cultivate pure love, simplicity and selflessness is also useful.
Such motives are free from the game of who is spiritual and who is not, or who is more spiritual, or who is good and who is bad, and whom God loves and whom God does not love. They are based on the presumption that God is a much higher type of consciousness, and thus is incapable of not loving anyone no matter what that person might ever do. This seems only logical since the Divine Being has asked us, mere humans, to love even our enemies and those who ignore and harm us. Is it possible then that It is incapable of doing so?
This type of thinking also removes us from the game of spiritual pride in which we feel that we are higher, more important, or more favored by God than others. It also frees us from feeling we are lower, less important or less favored by God than others.
The material ego, on the other hand, tends to react in such situations to the rejection and pressure it receives from the spiritual ego by rebelling and sabotaging its various efforts toward discipline, self-control and self-improvement. Thus, the more we pressure ourselves, the more our material ego reacts and rebels. In such cases, we experience instability in our spiritual or self-improvement efforts. In these cases, we usually play the roles of parent and child with our own selves. The parent in us rejects the child in us for not being a “good child,” and the child then reacts so as to undermine the parents’ effort toward control.
In order to move more effectively toward our goal of spiritual transformation, these inner conflicts must be dealt with in a more mature manner. Rather than communicating within ourselves as child and parent, it would be more useful to develop a mature adult to adult system of conversation or dialogue.
EFT offers us the opportunity to do so