Passion, Ego, and Charge

  1. The Dance of Passion and Charge
  2. True Liberation
  3. Energy and Flow
  4. Passion, Ego, and Charge
  5. 5 Blocks to Passion

Passion, Ego, and Charge — Because we are conditioned, we view most things through the lens of our culture — this is the job of the ego — to help us conform. Passion and charge exist in the body , and pull to mindless pleasure (charge) or to depth, purpose, and meaning. Here’s a bit of information on how to discover them all.


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passion ego charge

Here are a couple of questions, regarding charge, (and the importance of sexual attraction) passion and ego! I do love questions! Keep them coming!

Question # 1:

I get your discussion with regard to finding passion in your career path and for the most part in your personal life. The part I get stuck with is with finding a life partner. I was searching for a life partner on a dating site. You meet several men who seem to have similar values and interests when you read their profile and talk with them. Then you meet them and you don’t get the “charge.”

As many write on the site, “let’s meet and see if there is “chemistry” and go from there.” Here is my question: When looking for long term love, does the sexual charge with a partner come with time? If I am not physically attracted to the guy in the early stages of dating him, will the desire to be sexually intimate ever come?

Look forward to reading what you have to say, Wayne. I am sure I am not the only one having this experience.

Michele

Question # 2

Good blog today. I was looking up Passion and Ego in the Relationship Garden. Of course I thought it would be defined in one paragraph like my medical texts and simplify the two right off the bat, and what world was I in thinking that. Nonetheless I’ve come across some great reading/reminding again before my eyes got too heavy to read in the tub and drop the book in the water.

I digress,.… Since you are on the topic of Passion, it might be an opportunity, if you don’t already have it planned, to differentiate, compare or present similarities of Passion and Ego. Does ‘good/healthy’ Ego support Passion, or are they the same? But probably I am asking you if you could comment on that, as opposed to it ‘being an opportunity’.

Wendy

So, these two questions, believe it or not, are somewhat related.

The latter question is somewhat “in-house,” as you need to know ” The Relationship Garden,” a book by Ben Wong and Jock McKeen. And I can’t even answer the question directly, as a friend borrowed my copy.

In many of my blog posts, I talk about how we are conditioned by our upbringing.

In general, we could say that our parents installed our egos. Parents teach us to fit in to our tribes and cultures. The ego, in this sense (and not in the Freudian use of the term) is the cheerleader / stern taskmaster.

The ego voice boils down to 2 messages:

  • 1) If you try harder, you can be perfect, and
  • 2) You idiot! You screwed up again! But… (and return to message 1.)

The illustration, below, is the work of Ben and Jock, and describes this ego path — it is the circle I have labelled # 1. (self-hate)

The circle to the right of it, labelled # 2 (self-compassion) is what I would call passion . Ben and Jock call this the “Renew Cycle” in The New Manual for Life.

selves model

© The Haven, Wong and McKeen, used with permission

Just FYI, Freud’s structure of Id, Ego, Super Ego is a clinical / rational model. In Freud’s world, there was no place for things like “purpose, or vocation,” as those implied a faith position. His main argument with Jung was over Jung’s instance that there was some other spiritual, purposeful element to be taken into account.

But I don’t want to get stuck in semantics

I’m going to remove the Ego word now, and replace it with “critical voice.” The Critical Voice, for most, is the dominant sound in the mental theatre. The key to remember is that (as you see in the diagram, # 1) the critical voice is “pitching” perfection as is determined by the ideal state. The upward (green) arrow from Actual to Ideal says, “Try harder.” The downward green arrow says, “You screwed up.” If we don’t learn to set this voice aside, we’re doomed to repeat this endless cycle.

The Ideal Self

perspectiveIDEAL — It’s decided by your community

The Ideal Self is what a perfect human being would look like, as defined by the social structure we belong to. In other words, each of us carry around a picture in our heads, implanted there by society and family, that we compare ourselves to. Always unfavourably. Because it is a construct (there has never been an Ideal Person…) it’s a bit like comparing a real apple to an imaginary one. If you make the imaginary one shiny enough, no real apple can compare.

Except, imaginary and ideal do not exist!

The Passion or Renewal cycle stands as the “opposite spin.” This cycle or path is about plumbing the depths of The Authentic Self — and the material in there is equal to Jung’s Shadow Side. It’s the material that is unexplored, and the material that our patents and culture taught us to repress.

A Favourite story

I once had a client who wanted to paint. Her parents were doctors, and refused to let her go there, even to the extent of not letting her have art materials, throwing out what she made at school and brought home.

She rebelled by barely passing, becoming a secretary, and having a lot of sex.

Then, in her mid-twenties, she painted a quite amazing painting, and then met me. We talked about this, and she went off to study art. Her artist wasn’t gone; she was merely stuck in the “bardo” of the Shadow. She chose to resurrect the artist by… wait for it… finding the artist in her Shadow, then adding her to her Actual Self, by PAINTING!

This series of articles is about, really, standing up to the pull of “what everybody knows,” rejecting trying to fit in by trying to conform to the Ideal, and endlessly exploring the deep pool of the Shadow — the Authentic Self. I call this living with passion.

To the questions:

Question # 1) relationships, charge and passion.

Right at this moment, I’m working with 3 clients asking this question. They’re in relationships that seem to lack charge, or strong sexual attraction. One has worked through the List of 50 exercise from my e‑book, “Getting EXACTLY the Relationship You Want,” and says the guy is an almost perfect match.

So she’s puzzled that she never wants to rip his clothes off (otherwise known as sexual charge)

If you talk to couples who have had a positive, long term relationship, you’ll discover a common theme, and that is that there is a ton of passion and not necessarily a ton of charge. Charge diminishes over time, as intimacy grows, because charge requires objectification.

I would go as far as to say that huge charge is always a sign of impending great sex, but that the probability of a deep, intimate relationship emerging is almost zero.

Charge is charge, intimacy and passion are the basis of deep relating.

What I’m saying in reply to the first question is this: being turned on by someone is indicative of nothing beyond “chemistry.” Yet, and this is how this fits with the ego question, our cultures (movies, books, etc.) promote sexual charge, and “falling head over heels” as a true marker of a relationship.

Please note! There is a near 50% divorce rate, and we all know scores of others whose “chargy” relationship ended up dead in the water. Sexual charge is a marker for good sex (and perhaps, chemically, we’re picking up the pheromones of a good breeding pair…)

I certainly have had some of those kinds of relationships when I was younger, so I get it. When I finally decided that I wanted a real relationship, I dragged myself kicking and screaming up from my genitals and into my heart. There, I found what, in September, will be 30 years of passion and joy.

I would therefore advise simply hanging out with the person, getting to know him, dating, exploring. Approach sex as a fun game and experiment, without letting yourself slide into stopping yourself because you initially aren’t bowled over by charge.

You might choose to create an Intimacy Project to explore passion and eroticism through talk and touch (we are great fans of erotic massage…) This makes our sexual nature into something more Tantric, significant, and “spiritual.” This puts sex into another niche — a method for deep self-knowing, as opposed to an indicator of “life long compatibility.”

And if, after dating for a while, you STILL are uninterested in sex with this person, you then might choose to move on. The odds are, however, that the closer and deeper you go with him, the more “interesting” you will find him, and an altogether more whole sexual experience will open up.

Maybe I need to write a series on sexual exploration.… what do you think???

Question 2: Ego and Passion

You might think of ego and passion as oil and water. (Different circles, on the above chart.) Ihe ego is always promoting conformity, which is the opposite of passion. The “voice of passion,” often the quiet voice, is beckoning toward diving into uncharted territory, and living out “stuff” that society is uncomfortable with.

Passion, by definition, is a bit scary

It starts in the Shadow, and even when we bring it back with us, and begin to live from it, there is still an edge to it. If one’s passion becomes boring and predictable, it has crossed over into the ego side, and becomes a part of the “norm.” (This is why artists stagnate if they are not developing and extending their art.)

Passion is the right hand loop, and is always the “Road Less Traveled.” It stands as an alternative to ego.

We teach that the ego voice is not “bad” or “wrong.” Many people spend their lives trying to repress the ego voice. They are the people who abandon meditation because they can’t quiet their mind. Of course not. True meditation is letting the voices be — not attaching to them.

Your ego voice will always provide the judgement and the whip to fit in. The passion voice will whisper, “Do your work, explore yourself (figuratively and literally) and dive into the scary stuff.”

The ego voice leads to a painful, battle-filled stasis, and the passion voice, to an uncomfortable, diving-filled exploration, and a constant flow and movement. They are two sides of the same coin. You just have to get over fearing being uncomfortable.

The question is: do you want to stay stuck believing what society preaches, stuck in odd relationships that go nowhere, OR do you want to risk sailing into the darkness, confronting your fear of falling over the edge of the Universe, and ending up in unexplored territory?

One is to stay at home and sigh, the other is to risk and move.

No net. No guarantee, other than an adventure enough to fill a lifetime.


Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

12 thoughts on “Passion, Ego, and Charge”

  1. I’d never thought about it quite this way before so your work here is done:)

    Not “fearing the uncomfortable” is a big one for me so it was helpful for me to see how my actions (or inactions) are either keeping me in my society-approved rut or moving into an adventure of unknowns. Taking a moment to remind myself of this when I’m resisting or avoiding action could be a start.

    And I really like the flow chart from The New Manual of Life!

    Thanks for what you do.

    Danette

    Reply
    • Hey Danette,

      Yeah! The default setting, for all of us, is stasis. It’s what we’re designed for (think 98.7 degrees.) In a sense, we’re wired to be a rock in the river of life.

      Getting into the kayak and paddling is the act of moving into. Mostly it takes a change of heart, as our heads tell us, “Stop! Don’t go there. Don’t push. Be careful.”

      As you notice, the question becomes, “This time, despite my fear, will I choose to engage?”

      Nice hearing from you!

      Warmly, W

      Reply
  2. Well, wow, this one got me thinking. After really damaging myself and barely yet healed from the mental stories I built up over my last “very chargy” relationship that failed and left me feeling burned, I am in exactly the same place as your 3 clients…seeing someone I feel friendship for but no chemistry/charge around. This is totally new for me to date someone for 3 months without being sexual yet (oops!). So, I’ve been struggling with that exact question of whether to try the sexual exploration anyway and see where it leads, or whether to break it all off because this lack of charge must mean this isn’t the right person for me. (Internal story: my body must know something my brain can’t quite figure out.)

    After reading this, I am really seeing my ego-based fears about all of this. i.e. having/trying sexual experimentation of any kind with this person would be a one way trip…after that there would be obligations to “be in a relationship” with him, have to be exclusive, be unable to maintain boundaries, or to always be sexual when together ‑even if it didn’t work out or feel good after the experiment. Bam, Wayne, you really brought me right to what I needed to think about. I know intellectually this is possibly all a load of crap, but how does one navigate all that with a new person?

    Please do write about sexual exploration, boundaries, and fears. I’m all ears!

    Reply
    • This might be the place for an Intimacy Project, i.e. a discussion w/ your friend re. a boundaried sexual experiment. If you set it up as an exploration, then it ought to be clear to both of you that having sex is about having sex, not about “moving the relationship on.
      You then keep discussing how it’s going, which deepens the conversation.
      Wayne

      Reply
  3. I know I’m really having an upheaval of some kind, but that made so much sense that you said that you “no longer wanted to jump through hoops for something that wasn’t interesting.” That’s about precisely where I’m at with my life here. I’m just biding time until it’s right to do what I really plan. I may not make a huge humanitarian impact, but I know I will positively affect at least a few or more. If encouraging/helping are the only ways I know/can serve, it’s all I can do and then it will have to be enough… I think I can make some impact even though I live in a society that values the machine over virtually anything.

    Reply
  4. Thanks so much for your replies Wayne. It means a lot. And yes, I really seemed to grasp the connection of this series of articles. They’ve really spoken to me — a lot. I’m really not trying to come off as a complete head case although I am one to an extent. I suspect family/society picks up on my insecurities and may think they need to Shepard me to a safe existence of conformity (which I have never been about). So, I actually have to listen to this stuff that totally conflicts with my own inner directives. You’re probably right; it takes me so long to take action that I must appear to be a totally clueless dullard. But inside I’m really a humanitarian who’d like to help relieve suffering somewhere out of country (already have plans). I just believe we’re all in this together and it feels like a calling to me. Naturally the status quo can’t understand why I would choose that.

    Reply
  5. Yet another thing dawned on me concerning my complex. Although I may naturally act primarily out of passion, if my own inner critic doesn’t shut me down, then the collective one of society in general definitely will (which in my mind is either manipulation or intimidation and is usually in proportion to whatever effort I’m exerting accordingly). I know you’ve warned of not at least making some effort at following tribal customs and it appears I’m a gleaming example of one who’s fell short and either won’t or no longer can really make the effort. Thus I’m stuck in perpetual mental gridlock and getting nowhere. What does one do in this predicament? I’ve really thought about it. I can hardly bear the thought of surrendering to a status quo life. Yet following my passion(s) is a somewhat hap-hazard choice given that it’s not only my own hesitation (which is surely a learned response by heavy handed tribal enforcement that I cannot really explain), but it’s facing very real barriers set up to either completely foil me or impede whatever my endeavor into some form of failure. The only sensible reason I can produce is that I’m deemed unworthy to act out of passion for whatever reason(s). It’s sort of like forbidden fruit, yet the idea of succumbing to status quo is a total spirit crusher to me. I’m a free spirit. I’ve known that for awhile, but the reason I inquired of liberation is THIS, precisely!
    I do believe I’ve discovered my life’s primary hindrance in depth now. I can only pray that there is a way through it or it seems I’m destined for a lackluster life not truly lived. That to me would be a great tragedy. I crave the road less traveled and mean to contribute whatever goodness I can along the way (out of my under-developed yet natural skill set). Society seems to think I have a debt to pay in the form of complete mindless subservience and it’s more of a reality than one might take from my simply expressing it. Again, this is why I found personal liberation to be such an important factor — it seemed my only hope. Now, I really don’t know if this is only a deeply ingrained shadow of doubt, or if I’d just take mindful action I could indeed find my liberation and passion. What really screws with my head is that people seem to have a stake in making sure I don’t — it’s like screw the suffering elsewhere, you’re only use is to help power the machine (which I’m not at all even skilled at…). That’s my nightmare of a quandary.

    Reply
    • Wow, you liked that article, eh??? 😉

      I haven’t been aware of anyone able to “block my decisions” since I left home at 17. The church tried — when I got “exited” from my congregations, my punishment was to submit a bibliography on power and boundary issues to a pastoral counsellor. I demurred, took the 3 months severance, and left. That was 1996 — didn’t want to jump through hoops for something that was no longer interesting.
      The real question is who you think has “say” over you, and how you can drop that thinking while at the same time beginning to act in accordance with your wants / needs / passions.
      That’s your work — your project.
      Not doing it is thwarting yourself, and blaming others.
      Wayne

      Reply
  6. Also, in regards to going nowhere but contemplating passion choices much more; it might explain why I’m so stuck in my head and rarely taking any action. It may be what I desire, but evidently my ego is still strong enough to inhibit me from acting. Thus I’m sorta’ just stuck in my head… and unable to act. That would explain A LOT. If you have any suggestions I’d be glad to hear them, but you may be thinking I need some therapy sessions. At least I’m coming closer and closer to understanding my dysfunction.

    Reply
  7. Among the things that really struck me while reading this is: it would seem that I operate from passion WAY more than ego (unless my passion has become part of ego) and it’s been this way for quite some time. That surely explains why I’m almost always maladjusted and longing for things that don’t happen.

    Also, your conclusion is the exact place where I live. Of course I’m living there in doubt or indecision, but my heart is all for going for it! I guess my ego does manage to hold me back.

    What I glean is that I’m unconventional and that I’m much more passion than ego driven. Heck, according to this summary of the two, I’m practically ego free, but I know that’s hardly the absolute truth…

    Reply
    • Operating from your passion implies doing, and “longing for things that don’t happen” implies inaction.
      Seems like do is what is required
      Wayne

      Reply

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