Connecting with your core is the key to your empowerment through choice. “Make a decision,” is a crippling command for many. When your mind is presenting dozens of different scenarios, how can you know which is the right way to move forward? Learning to connect with your core allows you to tune out the white noise of ego, doubt, and distraction, freeing you to clearly assess your options and make an empowered, conscious choice in any scenario.
When you are more connected to your core, your path forward seems clearer, you feel happier and more at peace, and you are able to have a more positive impact. Think about it this way; would you rather make your decision from a place where you are doing what you think you should do, where you are angry or fearful, or where you are in contact with the highest truest part of yourself? Yep, me too. Below, I have outlined 6 ways to connect with your core.
Most of the time we walk around in the superficial part of our selves – the mask. In fact, many people don’t even know that is where they are living from. You can challenge you mask by asking if what you are thinking or feeling is actually true or if it might be able to be viewed from a different perspective. The work of Byron Katie does a wonderful job of challenging the mask and reconnecting people with a deeper part of themselves.
We might want to pretend that this part of us is not even there at times. The whole reason it is the lower self is that it was shunned and shut down—deemed socially unacceptable—but it needs to have its time as well. When we learn to connect with and safely express our lower self, we gain a ton of energy and are much less likely to leak out our negativity in unconscious ways.
It is a very simple fact that if you do more things you love you feel happier, more fulfilled, and more at peace. The trick is to know if you REALLY love what you are doing or if you have just adopted it because it is socially acceptable. So, pay attention. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about this in his book Flow. This book states that when we are doing things we truly love we experience things like time “flying” because we are so engrossed in what we are doing.
From a beautiful painting to a sublime piece of music, we connect with our core when we are inspired. This effortless way of returning to our core can be used frequently through our days and weeks to nurture this connection.
When we are in integrity with ourselves, we are more connected to the core of who we are. One of the things that I teach in my programs is that there are no methods or rules that guarantee a person fulfillment and success because each one of us needs to create a life and or business that is in alignment with who we are at a deep level and our values help us do this.
The most challenging and most profoundly life-changing strategy for connecting with your core is simply returning to love when you have left it behind. This requires that you are experienced enough with feeling deep love and that you are aware enough to switch gears at will. This is also a central teaching in my work. I believe that as people learn to do this their lives becomes infinitely better.
The most important part of this is remembering to pay attention to where you are coming from so that you can apply these tools and reconnect with your core self. You can also download this pretty infographic and place it somewhere you will see it everyday, to help remind you of your focus.
The Lower Self is one-third of your entire Self. It is also the repository for your anger, rage, despair, apathy, and other negative emotions. If you are dealing with irrational, explosive emotions that your rational mind knows are way out of context for the situation, you’re dealing with your Lower Self. When you’re blocked, or find yourself repeating unhelpful patterns, you’re probably also dealing with your Lower Self. It is the ugly stepchild of the psyche, and it will act the part if you shun it.
According to the Core Energetics Model, the self is divided into three parts: The Lower Self, the Mask, and the Higher Self (or, Core Self). Simply put, the Higher Self is the truth of who you are, the Mask is who you want to be perceived as, and the Lower Self is where you hold the pain you experience when the Higher Self and the Mask work against one another. Understanding the Lower Self will unlock valuable information and resources for you.
Exploring your Lower Self is like jumping into a deep swimming pool at night — risky, daunting, and maybe a little creepy. The goal is the contentment you’ll experience as you float on that dark surface, confident in your understanding of the relationship between your body and the water that surrounds it! But know that before you float, you’re going to have to swim, so make sure you know how, and bring a lifeguard.
Here are a few things to remember, as you take the plunge:
The Lower Self is messy. Rage and despair do not make for good dinner guests. Do not let the honesty of your experience be overshadowed by the havoc that confronting these feelings might cause you. The Lower Self is SO MUCH more honest and real than the Mask.
Dealing with the Lower Self is work to do in an environment of support; inside sessions or a program. These are difficult emotions. As always, acknowledge your own limitations and boundaries, and take care of yourself along the way. Equip yourself for the task at hand, and rely on the resources around you. The point is to transform the Lower Self, not to get lost in it.
Know that the chaos you might be feelings is temporary, but important. Acknowledge your emotions and their validity. Without being dismissive, recognize that they are just emotions. If you allow yourself to feel them and be curious about what they are telling you, they may pass even faster and have even more positive benefit.
Your Lower Self is worth getting to know. When you have the strength and courage to descend into the darkness, you will find the pathway to joy and the gift of your vitality.
The mask is the outer expression of who you are. It is also called the persona. Your mask makes up much of what you might think about when you think about “you.” How you choose to cut your hair, what you wear, and how you connect socially are all a part of the mask or persona that you choose to put out to the world. Sometimes the mask gets a bad reputation. New age rhetoric and self help books tell us to be authentic and to be our true selves. Some spiritual traditions emphasize dropping the illusion of the self for a deeper connection with the spirit. Let’s also consider the benefits of the mask.
The mask is a useful and important part of who we are. At its best, the mask is an outward expression of who we feel ourselves to be on the inside. It can be the creative material of our deeper expression. When our mask is in alignment with our deeper nature, it feels authentic and is fun to play with.
On the other hand, when we overly identify with our mask, and think that it IS who we truly are, we live a life of subtle or not-so-subtle anxiety. We suffer from feelings of emptiness and feel a profound loss of meaning. Our defenses are grounded in our mask. When we live in these defenses, we can find ourselves caught in the drama of life, fighting often, or feeling the victim.
Our deeper nature exists as the part of the self that is differentiated from the oneness of everything, but fundamentally expresses our essence. This is often called the true self or the core self. This is distinctly different than the no self that is discussed in Buddhism. The no self is when we are able to completely step outside of our personal identity. In this space we are able to connect with the infinite. There is a lot to learn from this experience of the no self. I find it is the true self that helps most people live fully and create a life of meaning.
As I mentioned, we can live our lives believing our mask is our true self. Often times, this illusion only gets dismantled when we have significant crisis that pushes us to question how we have come to see ourselves. As our mask is challenged, we go searching for something else and this search can lead us in the direction of our deeper nature.
We do not need to wait for crisis to begin our journey. Some of us feel a call to look for something deeper and more significant. Some of us are fortunate to have maintained a strong connection with our deeper nature. Others of us might experience a generalized sense that there is more to our life than what we have previously lived. But regardless of how we start, the way that we get there is by challenging the hold of the mask, dismantling the beliefs and emotions that hold us to experiencing the world through this limited view, and learning how to express our deeper nature through the filter of our mask.