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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Castration?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Castration

Bringing to Light the Oedipus Complex

The superego, then, is seen to be the heir of the castration fear. So working on the superego, by analysis or otherwise, will ultimately bring to light the Oedipus complex, and with it the issue of castration. Dealing with this issue, and particularly allowing the sense of castration itself to surface into consciousness, will automatically precipitate the experience of the genital hole.

The Void, pg. 140

Castration Anxiety

Castration anxiety is a direct consequence of being cut off from the Will Essence. The Oedipal situation augments the situation, but does not create it. For more detailed discussion of this point refer to our book The Void. It is enough for us here to mention that the state of castration itself is nothing but the state of deficiency resulting from the loss of contact with the Will Essence.

Defending Consciously Against the Superego

By learning to defend consciously against the superego, the individual is really rejecting, or rather separating from, this identification with the parent of the same sex, which will ultimately bring out to consciousness the basis of the identification. Since the identifications relevant here are with the parent of the same sex, they include a sexual identification. Dealing with this identification and the deeper castration complex is tantamount, in the Diamond Approach, to dealing with a certain specific hole in the personality. This hole is related to a distortion in self-image, particularly in the genital part of the body image. The castration complex is itself the main cause of this distortion; this is true for both sexes.

Experience of a Deficient and Empty State of the Self

This self-image of an empty dark hole occurs in both men and women. From one perspective it is a state of castration; from another, deeper perspective it is experienced as a deficient and empty state of the self. We will show later that both perspectives function as a unity, although the perspective of genital castration surfaces first. The castration perspective is operative in the process of experiencing space through analyzing the sexual body-image, because understanding the genital hole leads directly and smoothly to the experience of space.

The Void, pg. 140

Fear of Feeling Castrated Blocks Will

It has been assumed, for instance, that a person needs tremendous will and determination to be able to do the Work. The task does require tremendous will and determination, and in the past, the failure to use sufficient will was blamed on the student. The teacher said that the student was not committed enough, not determined enough, didn’t use his will enough. And this was true. It has always been and still is the case in the Work. So the teachers pushed the students, doing all kinds of things to get them through—tempting them, driving them—whatever might succeed in getting them to use their will and determination to continue working. Now we understand that a person cannot use his will if the will is blocked or repressed. We know that the will gets blocked and repressed for specific reasons. Our work in this group has shown us that one of the many causes of this repression is the fear of feeling castrated. This unconscious fear is well known and documented in the psychoanalytic literature, though its connection with the will is generally not seen. The moment a person tries to use his will, he begins to experience a terrible fear, the fear of castration. It may be sexual castration or the castration of one’s self, one’s energy, one’s will. The person doesn’t even know this fear is there. He only knows that his will is not available, that he cannot act with determination, cannot do difficult things.

Loss of Inner Support or Confidence

This experience of loss of Will leads to the child trying to get the regulation through the exertion of effort. This he does by trying to control either himself or his environment. This activity of trying, effort and control is the false will that the child starts building. This is, obviously, linked to the building of ego structures, particularly the defensive ones. When there is objective understanding of the Will Essence, we find that trying, effort, control and so on, are antithetical to the presence of the real Will. Real Will is an implicit confidence that the organism will function correctly. This allows the attitude of surrender, which brings about the manifestation of the Merging Essence. So we see that the loss of Will, resulting in effort and willfulness, impedes the smooth functioning of autonomic regulation. This in turn disturbs the capacity for functioning in the world. There is no sense of inner support, or confidence in one’s capacities. The final result is a deep sense of inadequacy, of not being able to function in the world as an integrated and mature individual. It is illuminating to see the organic, multileveled interconnections in the functioning of the various essential aspects. Essence is not only the ultimate ground of human existence, it also governs our functioning.

Men with Exaggerated Masculinity

It is not uncommon that men with exaggerated external phallic identification are covering up an unconscious identification with the vagina. The exaggerated penis is supposed to hide and to distract from the softness and juiciness that is judged by the man’s superego as weak and effeminate. However, under most circumstances, men with exaggerated masculinity, who are trying to exhibit a big and powerful phallus, who put up a facade of toughness, strength, and iron will—in other words, those with the “macho” image—are men who are trying to defend against the genital hole by exaggerating and holding on tightly to the phallic identification. The greater the fear of castration, the greater is the need to defend and exaggerate the phallic image. This is well known in depth psychology. What we are adding here is the connection of the fear of castration to the fear of the genital hole. Whether a man unconsciously identifies with the genital hole or with the phallic defense depends primarily on the circumstances of his early childhood. Those so-called “masculine” men usually have a difficult time experiencing and accepting the genital hole. It brings a lot of fear and humiliation, actually a cataclysmic breakdown in the defensive structure of the personality.

The Void, pg. 89

The Phallic Womans' Fear

The phallic man’s fear of the genital hole is exceeded only by the phallic woman’s fear of losing her imaginary penis. The man is afraid because of his unconscious genital hole and because of the childhood oedipal situation. The woman’s fear, on the other hand, is greater, because the threat to her “penis” is greater. Not only does she have an unconscious genital hole, her imagined penis is always threatened by reality. Every time the woman sees her genitals, she can see she has no real penis. So reality itself becomes a great threat; it is always pointing to the genital hole. This insecurity manifests as exaggerated and unrealistic competition with men, and all kinds of attempts, conscious and unconscious, to cut them down to size, that is, to castrate them. Such phallic women usually despise and reject the passive feminine woman because she is a reminder of their greatest fear. These women hold on to their phallic identifications for dear life. Space is fought and defended against.

The Void, pg. 89

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