Quality-of-Life level of experience

By carefully introspecting and noticing the degree of stress we feel when working toward certain goals, we can distinguish whether we experience the impact of the potential outcome of these efforts with the intensity of a life-death threat, or of a normal ‘Quality-of-life-level‘ matter.

When we’re working to achieve a particular goal, we might experience some stress depending on what is it stake. If we take a good hard look at how much stress we are experiencing, and discover that the degree of stress isn’t really justified by the nature or the apparent goal of the activity, then something else is probably going on: a Substitute Sense of Self depends on the outcome.

We talk about that in the rest of this work. On this page I want to make it clear that besides unhealthy, Substitute Sense of Self-oriented stress there certainly is also normal stress. Every action that requires some sort of a special attention or skill brings forth a sort of mental tension geared towards the outcome: ‘Will it go well?’ There might be unexpected situations interfering, which increases the stress about bringing the action to a good ending. This is what I call Quality of Lifel stress; it doesn’t affect us more deeply than the surface of our existence.

Map for Healing Sense of Self

On the map for ‘Healing Sense of Self’ you can see that anxiety can be fed by a pathological Substitute Sense of Self-oriented fear as well as by Quality of Life-level fear. Let’s be clear about this: we cannot expect to be totally stress-free; life isn’t like that. What we desire to eliminate is the unhealthy Substitute Sense of Self-oriented stress and anxiety.

A person with a healthy Sense of your Self might or might not experience moments of apprehension and/or fear, even daily. The difference is that he has no ‘Substitute Sense of Self’ at stake. Thus a Quality of Life-related fear has an entirely different basis from a Substitute Sense of Self-related fear. The former refers to a healthy, everyday type of apprehension.

Identifying those two aspects is important because the Quality of Life side of an Ego-References is masking the problem of dependency!

All Ego-References have both a Quality of Life aspect and a Substitute Sense of Self-oriented aspect. The latter makes what would be a normal behavior (e.g., ’to be on time’) serve a pathological function. For another example, it is perfectly healthy for ‘sleeping well’ to be important to a person.  However, being compulsively dependent on ‘sleeping well,’ turning it into a performance with life-or-death consequences (subconsciously) at stake, is unhealthy.

This two-aspect complexity makes identifying the dependency (and thus the pathology) involved in any Ego-Reference behavior almost impossible. Yet until the pathology is recognized, there’s no motivation to seek a cure. That means the situation is bound to remain the same! Even though the suffering is great!

The Quality of Life-side of an action or behavior comes from a ‘green’ brain, belonging to a person who goes the path of being connected to the Self. The Substitute Sense of Self – oriented part of the activity or behavior belongs to the red brain, which belongs to the person who walks the path of addiction to the Substitute Sense of Self.  Hopefully the drawing will shed some light on this complicated subject.

Use the drawings above and below here to shed some light on this complicated subject. Notice that in both drawings the Quality of Life side of an action or behavior comes from a ‘green brain,’ belonging to a person who is on the life path of being connected to the Self. The Substitute Sense of Self–oriented aspect of the activity or behavior comes from a ‘red brain,’ which belongs to the person who is on the life path of addiction to the Substitute Sense of Self. Yet these two aspects co-exist in any particular Ego-Reference behavior of such a person. The only difference is that the part that is called Quality of Life level experience of that unit (that ‘leave’ in the illustration) wouldn’t form an Ego-Reference if it were not combined with the Substitute Sense of Self-oriented part: a person who is not dependent on an Substitute Sense of Self for his self-experience has no such things in his life as Ego-References and Hidden Goals.

Where this becomes important is on the moment a person justifies his behavior to others or even to himself: The Quality of Life part of his argument makes total sense and that is (till this very moment) the only part we know. But if you recognize the other functionality of that same argument you can understand why the behavior is unhealthy and leads to problems: e.g. Argument: ‘I go to bed early because I want to be fresh and in good shape tomorrow morning.’ On the QoL-level this is a perfectly honorable argument; however if it operates as an Ego-Reference (or even 2: to be able to sleep AND to be fresh and in good shape) it is perfectly unhealthy. Again: so far nobody would be able to recognize the pathology in this argument if it weren’t for the distinction we just made.

Quality of Life Leaf

Ego-References turn into a Quality of Life-level wish-list

It’s interesting that when we restore our Sense of Self, our Ego-References vanish as one of the elements of our Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System. The conditions we were compelled to fulfill might very well stay on our list of desired goals, but on a totally different level, involving no compulsion, and with a totally different potential impact. Their impact is much more on the surface of our living experience, a Quality of life level. There is no subconsciously-experienced life-death threat at all. The quality of our daily life is the most that is at stake – and Quality of Life is a very healthy and normal thing to be concerned about. The difference is between desire and concern or panic and terror!

Here are a couple of examples of Ego-References which become Quality of Life matters:

Being on time can be an Ego-Reference. When we have a Restored Sense of Self, it isn’t hard to imagine how being on time improves our Quality of Life-level experience.

Sleeping well can be an Ego-Reference. When we have a Restored Sense of Self, sleeping well turns into a normal and healthy desire to sleep well, because sleeping well definitely has a positive effect on the quality of our daily life.

In sum, it is important to understand – and might facilitate your introspecting and dropping of denial to realize – that every Ego-Reference has a Quality of Life-level aspect to it. The content of the Ego-Reference is associated with a Quality of Life-level desire but its function within the psyche is quite different from anything related to promoting our Quality of Life.

In fact, all Ego-References, desirable as they might appear on the surface, actually degrade our Quality of Life. Thus their potential for improving it gets sabotaged, and is unsuccessful. In the examples just given, a person is less likely to be on time and sleep well when those are serving the function of Ego-References.

Where the reader goes next….