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From Your Unique Self by Dr. Marc Gafni.

(c) 2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

©2012 Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

The ego lives in the past, thinking it is the present. Therefore, the ego unconsciously confuses past with present. The ego is unable to create intimacy, which means meeting each other in the fullness of the present moment. To make real contact, you must be personal and present. Only the Unique Self can make contact. For the Unique Self, the present moment consciously includes the past and anticipates the future.

The ego confuses the past and the present. When you are confused””thinking you are present in the present while you are actually lost in a past trance””you are unable to act effectively, lovingly, or powerfully in the situation that you are in. And the past remains always unhealed. Several years ago a friend and board member of my organization called me, angry at not being included in a particular email loop. Her anger was full of intensity and flaming aggression, which was vastly disproportionate to the ostensible exclusion from the email loop. I considered asking her to resign from the board, as this was not the first time such an overreaction had occurred. Of course, what was coming up was not her present exclusion, but a very old sense of being excluded. She held this sense of being left out from her early childhood as a girl with four brothers who were better loved by their father.

This inability to discern the past from the present has made her unable to effectively navigate her professional or personal world, because she is always prone to dramatic overreactions that undermine many key relationships. The Unique Self does not confuse the past with the present. When the past comes up in the present, the Unique Self recognizes it for what it is: the past coming up in the present.

The Unique Self then uses the present moment to heal the past. The Unique Self recognizes that the patterns of the past have no true foothold or power in the present.

Further Discussion:

As Dr. Marc says above, the ego confuses the past with the present, and the Unique Self recognizes the difference, escapes the past's dominion, and uses the present moment to heal the past. So, what, then, is the relationship between Unique Self or ego and the future?  Dr. Marc teaches, quoting Gabriel Marcel, that hope is a memory of the future.  He says:

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