There’s something in your mind that controls your thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. This thing in your mind isn’t you, but it has tricked you into believing that it is!
It causes pretty much all the inner turmoil you ever feel. It’s also the primary cause of much of the dysfunction in your personal world as well as the rest of the world. Find out what it is and how to take back control!
The Mysterious Thing Controlling Your Mind:
I’m sure you’ll probably give me the stink face when I tell you that there’s a part of you that likes and wants to feel negative feelings.
You went to a negative feeling when I said that didn’t you?!
“No there isn’t!” you say. “Why would I like to feel bad?!”
Well, let me give you a few examples:
- You feel irritated at the “stupid driver that just cut me off!”
- We get mad and stay mad at people…even years later.
- We get annoyed when we spill something.
The list goes on. If we didn’t want to react this way, if it didn’t feel good to react this way, we wouldn’t do it. Stay with me.
Don’t worry. That part of you isn’t who you are. It’s a pesky little thing in your mind. Those thoughts you have constantly…those aren’t you either.
Too often, the shadows of unhealed, unattended aspects of our personalities dim or snuff out our light and greatness. These shadowing aspects form what I call the Else. The commonly used term is ego.
Definitions of Ego (Else):
The word ego is used in two ways. The most commonly known definition is arrogance or inflated sense of self. The other definition is used in the personal growth and spiritual and metaphysical community for describing the aspect of our human mind that controls our identity and much of our thinking.
Since ego’s more commonly understood definition distracts from the meaning I am referring to, I felt it necessary to create a new word, the Else.
What’s the Ego (Else)?
The Else is the expression of the unhealed and fearful aspects of our personalities. It places our value and power externally, in other peoples hands, in situations and circumstances. The Else is the ongoing chattering voice in our minds that takes us to places that feel terrible, and it is most often in complete control.
The Else identifies with “me”, “my”, and “mine”. This attachment to the identity created by the Else is demonstrated when a toddler freaks out over losing “my toy”, or when you feel insulted and allow it to determine your inner state. And, yes, it’s the Else popping up when you get upset that your favorite team lost a game.
You feel upset because the Else identifies with things you’re attached to. That is to say, it equates who you are with the things and ideas you’re attached to. So when your ideas are labeled as wrong, or your team loses a game, the Else makes you feel as if an actual part of you is lost. Hence the resulting painful emotions.
The Illusion Of Separation:
A mind under control of the Else will experience an overidentification with and attachment to our separateness as human beings. It includes and values only those who it finds similar to itself, and excludes and judges all else, labeling them as “the others”. This explains the spectrum from bullying to war.
This perception of separateness serves the Else’s need to feel important, valuable. It thinks it’s serving the Soul self’s actual need to feel love, worthy, and a sense of belonging.
And we all fall for its trap!
But the Else doesn’t realize its efforts are counteractive and, thus, detrimental to a person’s true needs. It fails to appreciate and revere our oneness and our universally shared sacred essence.
This overidentification with our separateness as human beings is what leads to racism, sexism… all the “-isms” that lead to exclusion and injustice.
The Incessant Voice In Our Heads:
The Else is the incessant voice in our mind that tricks us into thinking it is who we are. It is the voice and expression of the personality that is out of alignment with our sacred nature.
When the Else controls our mind, the Else controls our behaviors and decisions. When the Else is in control, life crumbles easily and is more dysfunctional.
Phew! It’s a lot! I know!
So-o-o, if the voice in our head isn’t who we are, and our thoughts aren’t who we are, then who are we?
Who we are:
First of all, contrary to what the Else would have us believe, our personalities are NOT who we are. We are not our minds or thoughts; and we are certainly not our bodies. It’s important to note again that our thoughts are not who we are, nor are the emotions that they lead to. Who you are is the part of you that sees the thoughts taking place. You are the observer of the thoughts, the experiencer of the emotions, not the emotions and thoughts themselves.
Check out this diagram for a clear illustration of who we are:
Our human selves are made of body, mind, and Soul. Our mind, and the thoughts and beliefs in it, are products of biology, personality, and Soul.
Our personalities are made of two components: our human self and our Soul self. The human self is made up of our human aspects, which are shaped by our biology and biography (our upbringing and the stories we hold about it).
Our biography is the major contributor to the formation of the Else. Our biography is the stories we tell about ourselves and our lives. It informs how we perceive and interpret situations and the world around us. It greatly determines our reactions, emotions, and feelings about everyone and everything.
Our Soul self is just that. Its only component is the divine essence of Sacred (God/Universe/Higher Power etc) itself.
I want to reiterate that our Soul is not something we have. It is who we truly are. It is our essence, our immortal and true self that exists for all eternity beyond this snippet of time we call life.
The only constant and independent component of our makeup is the Soul. Our personality, mind, body, biology, and biography are all highly dependent upon many other factors.
How does the Else (ego) function?
The Else is an entity of the human realm, an entity of the human mind. It functions primarily on a subconscious level, controlling much of our thoughts, emotions, and experiences of life.
It judges everything, labels everything. When switched on, it informs our emotions and the majority of our mental states, as well as our state of being.
The Else creates mental attachments—usually skewed and usually unconscious—to an image, concept, or set of beliefs about who we are. It falsely tells us that our identity, who we are, is our personality, what we do, what we have, and how others perceive us. It falsely tells us our accomplishments and others’ opinions of us determine our value.
Do other’s opinions of us matter? In our society, yes. But only to the extent that it can determine how we interact with others and how they interact with us. Does this affect our true value or worthiness? No. There’s a big difference.
You might ask, “Who cares if my intrinsic value remains if society can’t see it? If other people don’t value me, life sucks.”
Here’s the thing. People who know their intrinsic worth with every facet and particle of their being, tend to do worthy and valuable things that society also finds valuable. They know, “Uniquely made, uniquely me, I’m valuable. Therefore, I have important things to do.” They ask, “How can I use my uniqueness to serve the greater good.”
Their acts come from a place of worthiness, rather than from a place to impress or gain favorable placement in society—although those are common results. The Universe sends major backup when a person acts from this space.
The Else perpetuates our fears, wounds, dysfunctions, and doubts. Unrecognized, unchecked, and unhealed, the Else is the purveyor of suffering, chaos, and living nightmares.
Every moment of our lives, our mind and behaviors are either under control of the Else or the Soul. Unless a person is incredibly self aware, almost everything they do and think is a result of the Else in their mind. In addition to that, almost all the chaos, dysfunction, and suffering in the world results from the collective Else in the mind of humanity.
Examples of the Else at Work:
There are as many ways for the Else to exist as there are stars in the sky. But here are a few umbrella examples to give you an idea.
- Won’t admit wrongness: The Else is highly attached to being right. For this reason, the Else will make a person argue for the sake of argument, or to assert a position. A person under control of the Else is unwilling to assess or admit fault or wrongness, even to the detriment of their relationships, peace, and healthy functioning in life.
- Feelings get hurt by, or you take offense to, someone’s words or actions: The Else attaches our value and identity externally and places our power in the hands of others. Offendedness is our cue to remember that our true power is intrinsic and our value is irreducible.
- Identification with personality and/or body: Equating who you are with your personality, biography, thoughts, body, actions, acquisitions, or perceptions.
- Attention seeking as well as shyness places a person’s true power in the hands and opinions of others.
- Any time these things occur without healing or resolution: fear, judgement, hatred, impatience, jealousy, greed, pride, vengeance, violence, shame, anger that leads only to more pointless dysfunction, etc
- Your internal world is determined by your external world: Your peace and state of being depends on what happens to you and how you label and perceive external situations. Your experiences inform your state of being, meaning your emotional and inner state depend upon what happens to you. This makes you unconsciously reactive rather than sacredly responsive.
- You’re out of currence (Your mind is in the past or future): Your mind and body are in two different places: For example, you’re washing the dishes, but stewing over an altercation you had at work two weeks ago. Or you’re worrying about a future event that may or may not even take place.
- You can’t keep a secret because you wanna share the juicy gossip. The Else tells you that you’re extra important for having this juicy information that no one else has. This makes it super tempting to share it with others who have less information than you.
- You’re a “know it all” or “one upper”: You get a boost inside when you know more than someone else, or you think you know more. You even get a boost if your complaint is more severe. “Well if you makes you feel better, my situation is worse.”
- Superiority/inferiority complex: Your sense of self and value increase/decrease when you perceive yourself as better/less than someone else.
- When you believe what you have and what you do determines your worth, value, and designation for love.
- You’re addicted to negative emotions, stories, pain. This is usually an unconscious addiction. Some shadow states of being are extremely addicting because they give us a false sense of empowerment, control, and superiority. This is especially true with anger, judgment, exclusion, and defensiveness. Our pain and stories get us sympathy and attention that the Else interprets as love and acceptance—two basic human needs. The Else also gives us excellent excuses for our bad behavior, unaccountability, stagnation, and poor choices. “I do that because blank happened to me in my childhood.”, “It’s just who I am.”
Why Does the Else Make Us Feel So Terrible?!
Let’s say you have a bat in the cave, food in your teeth, or your shirt accidentally tucked into your panties…granny panties that stick out of your low rise jeans. (This seriously happened to someone I know! No, it wasn’t me! She was wearing her granny panties that day. She’s never lived down the nickname GP Tuck-Tuck—GP stands for granny panties) I’m laughing so hard right now!
The embarrassment one feels in these scenarios is because of the Else. It stems from our need to feel loved and belonging. Our survival depends on the fulfillment of these two needs.
Since society says it’s less than desirable to have a booger in your nose, the Else sees this as a threat to your love and belonging and, thus, your survival. As a double whammy, the Else places your worth in the hands of others’ opinions of you. If people think you’re gross, the Else decreases your sense of value. So now, you’re not just embarrassed. You’re an embarrassed loser—in the Else’s eyes. And since we identify the Else as who we are, we believe it too.
In the Else’s overreaction, you’re filled with burning embarrassment and whittling shame. The Else’s intention is to protect you from banishment by booger. You feel so terrible you won’t ever want to feel that way again, so you’ll be sure to keep a bat free cave in the future. The Else doesn’t know that society won’t banish you for a booger in your nose.
The Else reacts with painful or negative emotions and feelings when it feels threatened in any way. I’d bet that 90% of the time that we feel negative feelings, it’s the Else in control.
The Else Also Makes Us Feel Good:
That uplifting feeling you get when you get a lot of likes on social media…chances are, that’s the Else.
The haters or internet trolls that leave snarky comments…that’s the Else. It makes them think it feels good to put someone down. It makes them feel superior, more important, and, therefore, in a twisted way, more lovable and worthy because someone is less than them.
Little do they know, it’s like taking drugs. Feels good for a little while, but in the end, it only eclipses the Soul and makes them feel worse.
Judgment is a big one. It feels so good to judge and talk about how other people suck at life. Anything that puts us “higher” than someone else, not only makes us feel more significant, but it also allows us to avoid looking at our own issues that need healing attention.
That boost you feel inside when you’re right about something. Mmm that feels good! Well, that’s the Else. It makes you right and someone else wrong, makes you better and smarter than someone else.
Another example is when you feel extra cool because your car, house, kids, clothes, etc are “better” than someone else’s.
Although it’s false, the Else fills you with a sense of greater value and worth. This tricks you into feeling one of your intrinsic needs are met, the need to feel valued and worthy. It makes you forget that those things can never come from outside of yourself.
What’s the purpose of the ego (Else)?:
I believe that everything exists for a purpose, that everything exists for our benefit. It often doesn’t feel that way, but that is because we perceive from the Else and our limited human perspective instead of our Soul perspective.
If everything serves a purpose, the Else must too. Therefore, it is important that we refrain from vilifying the Else, for this only leads to its expansion and strengthening.
While the Else eclipses the expression of the Soul, it exists to serve a purpose that we are just beginning to understand. The suffering created by the Else is also the catalyst for breaking the Else open so the light of the Soul can shine through. Used and perceived wisely, the Else can serve as our guideposts for learning, growth, and healing.
I believe we chose the dynamics of our Else before we incarnated into this life. We chose struggles and personality aspects which would lead to a deeper understanding and evolution in specific areas.
The Universe gives us examples all over the physical world to demonstrate how the formless Sacred realm functions. For example, a toddler only learns how to walk by falling. The falls teach them what balance feels like.
The same applies to our spiritual balance and uprightness. Through suffering we learn what isn’t our nature so we can understand what is our nature. Violence, hatred, rage, impatience, judgement, etc all lead to what? Suffering. If it leads to suffering, we know it’s divergent from our true nature. Transcending and turning from that which causes suffering is a convergence of our human nature with that of our Soul. It is our primary purpose in life in every moment.
It all comes down to love and belonging, which are highly connected to survival. The Else began as a survival mechanism. Now that that function is more detrimental than helpful, it is time for its purpose to shift into one that actually serves us.
Once we understand the Else and how to identify it in our lives, we can use it to help us evolve so that our Soul selves can more clearly shine through. The Else is the contrast to the Soul.
How to Transcend the Else:
First, we must remember that we are divine, immortal beings here for a short experience of physical life on earth. Our personalities, roles (parent, teacher, child, position in career), bodies, thoughts, feelings, experiences, and actions are not our true identity. They are merely aspects of our existence.
Offer yourself to serve the greater good and Invite Sacred into every aspect and moment of your life. As often as you can think to, call on Sacred for support.
Practicing awareness is the key to removing the Else’s claws. The recognition of the Else at work within us loosens its control over us. Since our biography is the foundation from which the Else is erected, it is imperative that we exercise fine tuned awareness of our stories, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and states of being.
It’s like walking a dog. Imagine the dog is the Else. We never want it to lead us. Instead, the Else is on a leash that we control. The Else obeys the commands of our Soul. When a dog heels, it aligns with the owner, just as we want the Else to do with our Soul.
You know when there’s a random noise and a dog totally overreacts, freaking out and barking when nothing is there? That’s kind of how the Else is. It overreacts, causing unnecessary stress and noise. We must train the Else to heel…pun intended. We remind it that we have the power, we are in control, and that its painful creations don’t serve us.
If you watch Cesar Milan, a professional dog trainer, he teaches the dog owners that their energy they exude affects the dog and its response to the world. What can we take from this? We train ourselves to inhabit sacred states of being so the Else can’t take control of us and lead us to fallout, freak out, or stress out.
Sacred States of Being:
What are they? Sacred states of being are not feelings or emotions. They are our Soul’s natural energetic states in which our mind and body inhabit and are inhabited by love, gratitude, joy, enthusiasm, peace, acceptance, nonresistance, patience, compassion, etc.
Shadow states of being result from the low vibrational frequencies of rage, anger, worry, fear, judgment, impatience, hatred, depression, shame, stress, apathy, etc.—functions of the Else.
A constant sacred state of being is a practice that requires consistent awareness and the diligent focus on convergence (alignment of human self with Soul self), personal evolution, and healing.
This is why intentional personal growth is paramount. We must create new pathways to sacred states of being in our brains in order to deconstruct the pathways to shadow states.
Rewiring Our Brains:
Intentional personal growth actually changes the structure of our brains. Our brains are made of billions of neurons. These create our memories, as well as our interpretation and emotions about them. They are the physical basis of our habits and tendencies, as well as much of our personalities. The networks of neurons form throughout our lives and control much of how we live and what we experience.
“Neurons that fire together wire together” is a common saying in neurology. To save time and energy, evolution has made our brains work more efficiently by connecting frequently communicating neurons.
Why Is This Important?
Well, if you tend towards anger, the neural pathway to anger literally forms in your brain. The initiation of this pathway releases hormones and neuropeptides, adrenaline and cortisol. The biochemical components for anger flood your body. The heart rate increases. Respiration increases. You feel anger.
The brain does not judge the pathway; it merely forms the pathways most often asked of it. As a result, anger becomes easier to get to. It becomes a habit, and maybe even a perpetual state of being.
To deconstruct the painful pathways. we must create and use new pathways to sacred states of being more often than the pathways to shadow states. This is conscious living and purposeful creation of the pathways that determine the state of our inner world, our Soul’s expression, and our experience and execution of life.
Creating new pathways is done by daily practice of mediation, currence (presence), intentional growth, intentional sacred states of being, prayer, awareness, and the intention of convergence.
I know it sounds like a lot, but once you understand the concepts, with practice it all becomes second nature.
How The Else Blocks Our Soul’s Expression:
As I described above in examples of the Else at work, it’s easy to see how the Else suppresses the Soul.
Our primary purpose in life is to act as a physical conduit for the expression of our Soul self. This is done by way of convergence (alignment of human nature with that of our sacred nature) and sacred evolution. Everything else that we do and experience stems from that. The parallel key in fulfilling this purpose is constant non-judgment and loving of who we are in every moment in our evolution.
If you’re anything like me—a perfectionist and control freak—that comes easier said than done. For the longest time, I understood these truths on a theoretical level, but hadn’t yet learned to integrate them fully into my life and being.
Sometimes it’s hard to apply the theoretical into reality, especially when in the Else’s grip.
The Else is formed from the fearful and wounded aspects of our personalities. The Else’s dominion is the powerful painful pits of fear and self doubt. Without a sturdy foundation and toolset of Sacred practice, it is easy to fall prey to the Else’s traps. This allows the Else to eclipse the expression of our Soul, and, therefore, block the fulfillment of our primary purpose.
The Else doesn’t want you to heal because your healing is its death. For this reason, the Else puts up tons of resistance to healing in the form of excuses, rationalization, and justification for its existence.
An equal or greater amount of energy is required to face, heal, and transcend the Else. The good news is we have access to the infinite power supply of Sacred. And because it is our primary purpose, Sacred backs our endeavor to heal and converge. We simply have to ask for help in tapping into it.
Our tendency in society when we identify a “problem” is to attack it, judge it, hate it, resist it, fix it, avoid it. These are all reactions of darkness. You cannot destroy darkness with darkness. The elimination of darkness is the illumination of darkness.
That’s why it is important to understand that convergence is not to berate, hate, judge, shame, or destroy the Else and our shadow sides. It is to send them compassionately through a metamorphoses so they converge harmoniously with our sacred Soul selves.
The Else is the culprit for almost all suffering. It is the cause for relationship breakdowns, and most all internal and external dysfunction. It blocks the flow of love, as well as the expression of our Soul self.
Deliberate evolution is intentional personal growth and is active in nature. It is when you take the reins from the Else and reclaim control of your life, thoughts, actions, and behaviors.
Active evolution deliberately places your Soul self in the driver’s seat.
When we focus and act from the seat of love, awareness, and sacred intentions (convergence, evolution), the Else takes a back seat. These are the sacred solutions to most every problem on the planet.
All of us have an Else made up of parts of our personalities that are broken, damaged, hurt, or lost. It’s part of being human. I don’t know that it’s possible to fully get rid of the Else. Instead, we must learn to live peacefully with it.
Our sacred work, however, is to dig into the shadow stuff, not to wallow needlessly or to be consumed in their resulting emotions, but, rather, with an objective, nonjudgmental curiosity and the intention and work towards healing.
To truly create our best life, fulfill our greatest purpose and destiny, we must be willing to determine our role in the dysfunctions and toxic patterns in our lives. We must release our need to be right and be willing to be wrong. We must evolve towards our sacred nature.
People under control of the Else are highly attached to being right. It is one of the greatest causes of dispute. It is also one of the greatest causes of stagnation.
If you’re always right, you never have to change. But if you never change, you never grow. Growth is impossible without change.
Growth is essential to the Soul. Lack of growth is a burying of the Soul alive.
Hating or judging the Else when it pops up only adds more darkness. Instead, we simply notice it’s there. Maybe even giggle a bit at how it behaves. We call in Sacred and our sacred states of being. Then, from a sacred state of being, we investigate and work to transform the Else.
Also, be careful not to judge when you recognize the Else in others. That’s your sneaky Else trying to get a boost.
Identifying and questioning the Else and our pain and fears paves the path of healing. Really getting to know them and their workings loosens their grip of control over us.
We must endeavor to trace, particularly, our negative experiences to their roots, dissect them, and inject healing and higher solutions to cultivate higher perceptions.
Unresolved and unhealed pain is the Else’s greatest tool for control and survival.
Keep in mind that it is virtually impossible to resolve a problem with the same mind and state of being that created it. Trying to find a high quality solution with the same mindset that created the problem is like asking a kindergartener to do calculus. They just haven’t learned it yet.
Therefore, to cultivate higher solutions and perceptions, you must take action DAILY and expose yourself DAILY to wise mentors that help expand and elevate your state of mind.
I say DAILY for good reason. Remember the neural pathways. Your mindset is built from decades, and in some ways generations, of destructive patterns and habits. You cannot break these with an occasional inspirational quote or article.
A near constant and deliberate effort is how we achieve true and permanent growth as well as liberation from the Else and its dysfunctional ways.
When you do notice areas for growth and healing, it is important not to judge or attach negativity of any kind.
Elizabeth Gilbert calls these unhealed aspects of our personalities Shadow Children. I like this term because we must embrace them tenderly like a mother and her wounded child. We embrace them with compassion and understanding.
Rather than justifying our dysfunction, negative state of being, and poor behaviors and choices with the stories our Shadow Children tell, we counsel and transform the children with newfound wisdom.
We shine the light of wisdom into the shadows. By this we inject Truth into the fallacy of our limiting and fearful beliefs that have formed since our birth.
Again, this wisdom grows and comes from DAILY practices and exposure to elevating and expansive guidance from mentors.
Locating and addressing our shortcomings isn’t as fun as (insert your favorite fun activities. Mine is boat rides, roller coasters, or eating yummy food). However, it can be empowering and fulfilling when we hold true to our intention. Our reward for our internal work is the resulting improvement in every aspect of our lives.
After all, what’s more exhilarating than being who we came here to be, and fulfilling our Soul’s intention?
Dear holy, divine Sacred, thank you for this amazing life. Thank you for choosing me to uniquely express your divine nature through my physical form. Thank you for helping me clearly recognize the Else at work, and freeing me from its grip. Thank you for helping me choose sacred solutions and sacred states of being in every situation. Thank you for your help in my understanding and healing of the Else and the wounded and fearful aspects of my personality so that I can best express as my divine self I’m here to be. Amen.
In Light & Love,