Resistance Through Unmet Needs
We also need to be aware of the way our ‘ego’ will try to deter us from the silence of meditation by playing the old emotional ‘unmet need’ tapes with their flawed self-images. If our ‘love’ need was not met or we have only experienced conditional love - love as a reward for good behaviour –, it may be hard for us to imagine that God, which is Unconditional Love, is also there for us.
The ‘ego’ taunts with: You know you are unlovable! You are not good enough! This is for other people, not you! Meditation is based on a loving relationship of faith and trust with the Divine. Our sense of unworthiness might make entering into that relationship initially very challenging.
If our ‘security’ need has not been met, this may well lead to an urge to control the meditation experience. We fear being out of control - control equals security – therefore the ‘ego’ plays on this particular weakness: Are you sure this is a good idea? You won’t be in control! Are you not frightened? The ‘letting go’ that meditation requires may be therefore at first incredibly threatening and can cause a sense of panic. To accept that we are essentially good, despite what we think and feel, and that the nature of Divine Reality is Love and Forgiveness takes quite a quantum leap of faith.
If a need for ‘esteem’ is our driving force, which makes us put excessive emphasis on status and reputation, then to consider doing something ‘unorthodox’, even ‘counter-cultural’, such as meditation, may not fit the real need to be accepted and respected.
If we did not feel valued, as the pattern of our early life was marked by being ignored and our opinions were not asked for or taken on board, then to trust in our own inner voice, our own opinion, is a real problem.
The way forward is to remind ourselves that all these emotions are based on our conditioned attitudes formed in the past. Therefore we can learn to switch the tapes off and not listen to these outdated and false messages from the ‘ego’. Our mantra could be: ‘That was then, this is now!’
The desire to believe in something beyond ourselves does not therefore come from the ‘ego’; it is the deeper unconscious aspect of our consciousness, our ‘self’, that is the attracting force. The pull of the deeper ‘self’ makes us seek true meaning beyond the everyday reality of the ‘ego’: “Among all my patients in the second half of life, that is to say, over 35, there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.” (C.G. Jung - ‘Modern Man in search of a Soul’) Although Jung dealt with people when their problems had already developed into neuroses, his statement holds true for all of us. Considering that it takes time for neuroses to become so crippling that treatment needs to be sought, this awareness of a lack of spiritual values can start much earlier. He talked about ‘a religious outlook’ because of the time he lived in, but what we now encounter is rather a spiritual hunger, which is our response to the love of the Divine Reality that unconsciously attracts and motivates us.
For further help with setting up and leading groups, please look at the ‘Christian Meditation Groups’ Website in English, Spanish and French, based on the book ‘A Pearl of Great Price’ by Laurence Freeman