The Self-Connection Podcast: S1 E 14: Evolving Consciousness through Congruence

In today’s episode, Tim and Sharon explore the importance of evolving consciousness and what this growing process looks like. Evolving consciousness for each individual is a growing capacity to account for themselves, others and their environment with truth, compassion, curiosity and harmony. It is a never ending process of growing and learning, which seems to benefit from the differentiation of Self and ego.

0:00 Meditation

5:30 What’s alive in you? This is a different way of asking “how are you feeling?” This allows for the exploration of other forms of consciousness which may not be feelings such as beliefs, wishes, and yearnings.

7:15 What is the space between things? It is formless and can be described by some of the energies we use to help transform our stuck experiences. Such as using presence, compassion, love to transform challenging emotions such as anger and depression. 

10:20 Congruence is the manifestation or expression of consciousness. This is where we have done the internal work of Self-connection and creating a conscious response in the form of a congruent behavior/expression. Congruent has as its effect a sense of peace and wholeness regardless of the response/reaction of others. 

13:00 Evolving consciousness occurs when we can connect to our deepest values and resources to transform our experiences and reactive patterns. Sharon calls this the “Pause” effect where we disengage from set patterns and access supports and resources to learn and create a new response.  

15:40 How do you know when you’re in a rut or a pattern? Virginia talked about 4 survival patterns that represent ruts we can fall into : blame, placating, superreasonable, and irrelevant. What marks the use of a survival pattern is a loss of connection to one or more elements of self, other and context. 

18:20 Fight, flight and freeze are marked by overgeneralizations, characterizations, threatening, intimidating, are forms of fight. Flight looks like distracting from the topic, withdrawing, emotional withdrawal, stonewalling, cutting off. The defences can be combined in many ways creating what Virginia Satir called a ‘stress dance.”

21:00 People’s sense of themselves are eroded and degraded when stuck in these survival patterns. This is an important marker of defensive coping. In other words, you can identify that you are in a defensive stance if you are feeling of low worth and disconnected from your authentic Self.

23:00 Healthy congruent communication is marked by a genuine dialogue where people’s flaws aren’t fixed character judgments and people can engage in a process of mutual understanding and growth together. 

23:45 “Its all about process the perception together” People quickly assume that they know what each other mean. It is important to check out each other’s meaning because what is said and what is meant is often not the same thing.  

24:30 In having this dialogue we need to take turns listening because two people can not speak or listen simultaneously. Tim asks how do you decide who gets to be heard first? The person who can shift their energy from survival to openness, curious and compassionate can volunteer to listen first and can positively impact the relationship. 

26:30 We discuss the challenge of transitioning from the need to be right and to “win” the argument towards a collaborative supported conversation. Sharon suggests that we need to connect to our higher values and wishes of harmony, connection, love , we can let go of needing to be right. 

28:00 We debate on the utility and use of compassion. That congruence may simply the honest expression of one’s own feelings without projecting a need of a particular response from the other. 

30:00 The difference between Ego and Self. We comment on competency at the level of Ego and our feedback should never be related to the Self. In order for us to receive feedback constructively, we need to differentiate between our ego and Self. When these are enmeshed then there is a tremendous threat and vulnerability in hearing negative feedback.  

32:30 Consciousness is a differentiation between Self and ego. The work of differentiating Self and ego is an ongoing growth process. Reflecting and meditating on these differences can help us grow. We need a secure base from which we can know who we are (Self) and then a way to share at the level of role /ego what is happening and having constructive growth-oriented conversations. 

33:40 Sharon makes the point that some people will struggle to feel Self-worth. We talk about how the attachment needs of a child are ego needs; and are an important part of healing. Ego’s can die when the patterns no longer fit and can be reborn and this is personality transformations.   

36:15 Congruence is honest but it doesn’t go below the belt and lose sight of respect of self, other and context. When we are communicating congruently, we are connected to our value and dignity at the level of Self as we are discussing things at the level of ego/form/role. 

39:15 “The Hardest Thing to do Ever!” is holding the mind and heart of my self and of the other simultaneously.