The Ego, Egoic Mind, and Jackals

Sometimes when I observe how much of human interaction is filled with judgmental thoughts and words, I feel overwhelmed. I also feel worried and unsure as to when humanity will evolve toward a more nonviolent way of communication.

It’s at these times that I feel most annoyed by the common use of so-called judgmental words, such as ego or egoic mind. Yet I know that these words are favored by countless people who’ve studied psychology, spirituality, metaphysics and mysticism. So, when I am talking with a yogi or a mystic, a psychologist or kabbalist, I may choose to use these words as a shorthand. I’d prefer to use the NVC term, jackal, which points toward a meaning similar to ego or egoic mind.

If someone is rather new to the NVC process and vocabulary, however, they may not understand the word, jackal. To meet my need for ease and clarity, I may say ego, or egoic mind. “Egoic mind” is a phrase I’ve read in books by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve always seen it as an innovative combination of two terms: 1) the reactive “mind” described by Eastern mystics, and 2) the “ego” term used by some gurus to mean selfishness/arrogance. Ego is also used by psychologists with a different meaning. So you see how quickly we can feel confused by all the different shades and layers of meaning. Thus the beauty of the term, “jackal,” which has a singular meaning: those angry or judgmental thoughts and expressions based on the pain of unmet needs.

As we become more fluent in NVC language, we can evolve toward a constant, moment-to-moment practice. This kind of practice, I hope, supports us in developing deeper personal humility. And with this quality of humility, I want to believe we can become ever more flexible. We can become more radically accepting and tolerant, even of those things and words we don’t particularly like. Also, we develop the ability to translate the so-called judgmental terms into NVC terminology, on the fly.

So long as this translation is going on constantly in my head, then I find it easier to stay consciously in a state of humility and acceptance or non-judgment of any choice of words or language someone may use.

We might suggest to those who’ve studied psychology, spirituality or mysticism, that the word, “ego” and the phrase “egoic mind” is judgmental. We could request that they substitute the term “jackal.”

In a loose sense, all these words are referring to similar things. I’m on an ongoing quest to steer clear of an NVC orthodoxy or dogma. I hope I can keep that NVC translator going on in my brain, as it helps me to stay in the nonjudgmental consciousness I enjoy so much.

About swpollack

I’m an independent mediator and collaborative communication coach who can help you to co-create greater ease, connection and mutual understanding in your personal and professional relationships. As a non-traditional specialist, my aim is to get concrete results for my clients in a fraction of the time usually required by traditional therapy and counseling. Please visit my business website: . The emotion-based coaching work I do is deeply therapeutic, yet I am neither a psychologist nor a psychotherapist. Instead I work with a holistic, empathic process called compassionate, nonviolent communication. I also facilitate ongoing support groups for people who want to learn this organic process of nonjudgmental communication to help build bridges of connection, harmony, collaboration and understanding. For more about my Build Compassionate Relationships meetup group, visit: . I’ve been offering these services to the public since 2000 in the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, as well as by phone and through Skype conferencing. . Nonviolent Communication is a process developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It’s based on a very pure, nonjudgmental language of feelings, needs and requests. I’ve found this to be a powerful tool in my mediation work which involves bringing two or more people together despite a painful history of conflict.
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