Eric Berne talked about three, what he called, “ego states.”
I prefer to call them “personality states” since “ego” has a negative connotation in our society.
The three were Parent, Adult, and Child. Dominating, balanced, and demanding.
The person in the Child state can be submissive or reactive. Submissive they’re self-deprecating. They see themselves on a range from “not good enough” to “worthless.”
Reactive they have “no control” over their temper. They have “outbursts.” They don’t care where or when they argue.
People in the Parent state are conditioned to dominate the situation. Parents find various ways of making their children behave as they wish them to.
Adult is a balanced, non-reactive state. Kathleen is in this state much of the time. I think most sages would be found extolling the virtues of what Berne called the Adult personality state.
We’ve discussed it before as being in the middle, centered, grounded, balanced. It also turns out to be being in the stillpoint, in the heart, at the altar on which the lamp ever burns, etc.
All good things reside in the Adult state and all unfortunate things seem to reside in the Parent and Child states. I’m talking about personality states, not family relationships.
A person can be a parent and yet not a Parent. They can be a parent and an Adult.
Let me give an example of me acting from a particular personality state. I used to be self-deprecating. I could be said to be coming from my Child state.
There were all kinds of payoffs for doing that. I got people’s attention. I slowed down the proceedings until I was attended to.
I could identify friend from enemy. Anyone who would not come to my rescue was a potential enemy, to my young mind.
I was tiring people out all over the place, another reason for retiring to my room and reading. So it reinforced my desire to get away from my Dad.
Len showed me a cartoon the other day: The dearly departed’s tombstone read “Well, that was weird.” I share that sentiment. My life was weird.
All tracking back to a parent who was trapped in his reactive Parent personality state. Not an Adult.
If we want to actually raise our vibration, then this can’t remain just a good read. We have to take steps ourselves to emerge from our issue-clouded consciousness states – to emerge from our Parent/Child vasanas, old baggage, unfinished business, etc. I think of this as the overburden.
The Adult state is our natural state, our default. If we remove the overburden, we reveal our natural state of innocence and purity. My guess is that all we need to do is to eliminate our issues or vasanas and I believe that we’d find the Self in the space thus created.
That isn’t the way I went, so it’s hard for me to be certain. The way I went was to dive deep into the heart at Xenia Resort. I remember passing below the domain in which the vasanas had effect. I left them far behind me and travelled deep to the seat of the soul.
But returning to removing the overburden, most people I raise the subject with say, “Oh, I have no vasanas.” I’ve been processing mine since 1975 and I’m still up to my eyeballs in them. How can you not have any? Are you not human? Are you not breathing?
This world has been at war almost continuously for 3,200 years. Raping, pillaging, massacring – all over the planet, down through the ages. The number of scores there are to settle in most older countries would probably shock us if we knew it.
This nation hates that nation. This religion hates that religion. We’re born into a ready-made suit of vasanas that we wear all our lives. Conditioned people conditioned us and we may pass the conflict along.
Meanwhile, here we are thrashing around in the ocean of life and we spot an island on the horizon. We make for that island and find it uninhabited and peaceful. The name of that island is “Adult Personality State.”
That’s the safe harbor we’re seeking. That’s the way of being that will raise our vibrations, individually and collectively. My hypothesis is that that would lead to the object of spiritual practice, to the heart of hearts, the seat of the soul.
Let’s find out.