Passion, Ego and Charge

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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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.


Question # 2

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’.


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

The lat­ter ques­tion is some­what “in-house,” as you need to know that “The Rela­tion­ship Gar­den” is 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.

passion ego and charge
© 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

IDEAL Self  —  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!

She learned to stand up to the pull of “what every­body knows,” stop­ping the attempt to fit in by con­form­ing 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.

Many peo­ple are in rela­tion­ships that seem to lack charge, or strong sex­u­al attraction. 

One woman I know worked through the List of 50 exer­cise from my book, Find Your Per­fect Part­ner  —  it’s a great way to find a part­ner that “fits.”

She was 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, while 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, was 40 years and count­ing 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. 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 “life­long 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.

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.

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