Conscious living: Family values or the gringo ego?
By Louis Bourgeois
Carolyn Myss influenced my understanding of the evolution of consciousness and my awareness of the energy body. She describes the basic three levels of consciousness as the tribal mind, the egoic mind, and the spiritual mind. In North America, especially after World War II, a dramatic shift in the consciousness and culture began to take place. The tribal values of family and community slowly shifted to a concentration on education and independence.
I was born in 1952, and can remember how eager I was at 17 to leave the family fold. The same was true for each of my three sisters, and we would one day be scattered all over the country, two of us living in San Francisco and Seattle, about as far away from our family home in Connecticut as one could get, and still be in the U.S. My two older sisters went to Ivy League schools, never married or had children, focused instead on their careers.
The difficulty many gringos have in living in Ecuador, which would hold true for all the Latin countries that I have explored, is that the local people are still happily entrenched in the tribal mind. Their values are clearly about family and community and the Catholic Church. We might appear to be egoic monsters to them, and they likely appear to be relatively uneducated and unsophisticated to us. I married into a local family, and I marvel at how, for example, my father-in-law enjoys watching many of the old television shows that I enjoyed as a child.
Conscious living calls for us to embrace these differences. Remember from the first blog that our new earth consciousness is described by acceptance, appreciation, and enthusiasm. It’s my challenge with my wife’s family to accept and even appreciate how they think and how they live. They have a treasure that I lost in my life’s devotion to independence and exploration. When I ran into some financial difficulty some years ago I attempted to reach out to my two wealthy older sisters for help. They refused to help me, criticizing my life choices. This is indicative of the egoic mind, which is critical and competitive. When my wife and I decided to buy a van for our business a little over one year ago, members of her family stepped up to give or loan us all the money necessary to buy the vehicle. There was no question that they would help. When my wife’s sister wanted to buy her own home, even though it upset the paradigm of an unmarried woman remaining with her parents until she married, the family chipped in to make the down payment on her condo.
So, though I could never truly go back and live comfortably in this tribal world, I appreciate it and enjoy certain benefits. I know that for my daughter’s life, the integration of the tribal and egoic consciousness will offer her the best of both worlds.
I mentioned one of the key principles of Conscious living in the first blog, that being simplicity. A second important principle is balance, or integration. It is a clear sign of our personal development, our evolution, that we learn this principle and apply it in our daily life. The principle is reflected in the Serenity Prayer: paraphrased as: “Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”