Working on "Shoulds": Worksheet
We each have two consciences, that of the real inner self and another that is an internalized, superimposed conscience or superego. Because the latter is an internalization it includes false images and assumptions implicit in typical judgmental thinking with its dualism, guilt, fears, compulsions, self-defenses and implicit negativity. In this voice we can almost hear the exact words of parents or significant authorities. It behooves us to become more aware of the artificiality of this conscience so that we may release it and learn to trust the intuitive knowing and guidance of our inner self instead.
1. What are some of the things that you hear yourself telling you that you "should" do, that you also heard your parents tell you? Is there a basic theme to this conscience concerning what is "good" and "right" for you?
2. How might your sense of what you "should do", or what is "right" or "good", reflect an unrealistic, and egocentric view of yourself?
3. Can you find ways in which this conscience hides selfish, destructive or primitive urges?
4. In what ways does it also block your life force and natural instincts and impulses?
5. In what ways do you punish yourself for failing to live up to the standards you set for yourself?
6. In what ways does the existence of this conscience induce compulsions that are difficult to control?
7. In what ways does your conscience also lead you to a consequent rebellion against laws or ethics?
8. Can you think of a specific situation where there was a conflict between the two consciences and you followed the intuition coming from your inner self. How did that turn out?
9. How might you learn to rely less on the "should" conscience and more on the guidance coming from the soul?
10. Can you see how relying on the conscience or knowing of the soul automatically releases you from the negativity implicit in the false conscience?
The voice of the soul is implicitly characterized by self-love, self-acceptance, peace, respect and trust. It knows that everyone is guided and protected from within and so it is not prone to take on false responsibility for others or guilt that would come from not living up to other's false expectations. It does not primarily act against things but for things and is innately positive. On the level of the soul, what is best for one is best for all.