I have been taking a psychosynthesis course by the well-known psychologist Will Parfitt for many months now. And one of the main theses is the process of dis-identification of the ego. One of the exercises we do is to say;
“I have my mind and my thoughts but am not my mind and my thoughts
I have my feelings and emotions but am mot my feelings and emotions.
I have my body and sensations but I am not my body and sensations.
I, am I a center of pure self-consciousness and will.”
Psychosynthesis, the Elements and Beyond.2006, p. 46
This concept is very close to some of the four aggregates in Buddhism which says my self is not in control of my body because I cannot ultimately cause good or prevent bad from happening to it; and the self is not in control of our perceptions, thinking or our feelings based on the same arguement. To be attached to our thoughts, feelings or sensations ultimately causes suffering due to impermanence. Why Buddhism is True, Robert Wright, 2017.
Given that the self and ego are defined the same, we can see the conditioning that we learned: to be preoccupied with our ego identifications. These identifications can become the cause of much self-imposed suffering as the impermanence of life ushers in losses in our thinking, sensation, and feeling attachments. An example of this is when we become elderly, ill and lose faculties that we relied on to navigate the world; we lose our reliable mind, body and feeling sensitivities. As a consequence of this process, we learn that we are not in control of what we experience, especially when we are invested heavily in certain outcomes have a reputation to protect, have people to please and have a life to live successfully.
Probably the most profound and esoteric part of Astrological Psychology is that it imparts the existential meaning to the horoscope and explores the meaning of the central area of the chart as an important step in self-discovery through detachment. As seen in the featured image, the central core is defined as the inner being, the source, the soul. The central core is the source of basic spiritual, psychic energies, tuned to the universe and unique to the individual experiences. When we are able to stand back and imagine we visualize the planets in the horoscope printout as seen from the center, we see the whole aspect structure. It may seem paradoxical that we would learn all the assets and liabilities of our horoscope and then reach a point where we actively transcend these personality characteristics. But yes after we learn about out charts, we purposely practice dis-identification with our horoscope and this process makes us as owner of the horoscope, an observer. When one makes contact with the center of the chart , then through meditation one can ideally experience a sense of calm, inner peace and joy. The exercise of dis-identification asks ‘Who are you?’ And from the center of pure consciousness you are not your body, not your mind, and not your feelings but a center of pure consciousness. Astrological Psychology, The Huber Method editor Barry Hopewell. 2017. pps. 38 and 47 .
I have known for about 30 years that my conscious will based on my thinking is not entirely in control of what endeavors I choose to pursue and their outcomes. I have the illusion of control but in the end, there are always some unintended consequences or outcomes that I have no control over. This insight that I am not in control of my conscious mind, comes from my dreamwork.
In my dreamwork I have been aware that Age Point aspects and the day’s events and associations feed into a person’s personal unconscious to affect dream content. Dreams actively and passively stimulate complexes in the personal unconscious through the archetype of the Self (Jungian term) or the Central Core in Astrological Psychology. A complex is an emotionally charged group of ideas or images. At the center of the complex is an archetypal image which contains elements of polar opposites, e.g. masculine/feminine; strong/weak; assertive/submissive, etc. Based on the days events and Age Point aspects, one of these archetypal images from the pair gains valency and is split off making the dreamer’s identity change based on the image that then gets amalgamated with her ego identity. Thus the ego identity of the dreamer is not fixed and can be changed by a dream image acting on it. In the end the conscious ego of the dreamer is not in control of even her own perception of her identity. And this whole process starts deep inside our unconscious and generates dream images that changes our sense of who we think we are- our identity when we awaken. We carry that identity as a mood throughout our day. And the process continues day by day, week by week, year by year. Life Passages, When Age Point Aspects and Dreams Coincide, by John D. Grove, 2017, p. 70
Do you see the connection between Buddhism, Astrological Psychology and Psychosynthesis? They all involve a process of existential detachment from the components of the personality that are made of feelings, thoughts, perceptions and sensations. So then the issue of being in control of what we think and who we feel we are becomes an open question. This has ramifications and provides a rationale for actively transcending the limits of our thinking, feeling, perceiving and sensing. We can pursue this goal through meditation and experience a unified consciousness with detachment yet still have a presence in the world.