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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Cathexis?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Cathexis

Cathexis of the Self

Narcissism is the cathexis (libidinal investment) of the self.

Libidinal Cathexis

Libidinal cathexis shifts substantially into the service of the rapidly growing autonomous ego and its functions, and the child seems intoxicated with his own faculties and with the greatness of his own world.

Shifting of Cathexis from Being to the Body

So the presence of the Essential Self, with its sense of omnipotence, helps to give the child the opportunity of having an immediate and repeated experience of both the physical world and his body, in relationship to each other. This happens as self-representations form, as we have already discussed. The outcome is the formation of many self-representations which include experience of the body, the physical world and the relationship of the two. The disappointment and deflation at the beginning of rapprochement is a result of this experience, as is a greater and more realistic appraisal of the body and the world. It also marks the shifting of cathexis from Being to the body and its world. Consciousness becomes increasingly anchored in physical reality, and in the mind, which is closely allied to the latter. It becomes less aware of the dimension of Being and, in most instances, loses its contact with it. The unity of Being is lost, and the world appears more and more fundamentally physical.

The Integration of One's Identity

In our understanding, when used to define narcissism, the term cathexis refers to the fact that one experiences one's self-concept as inseparable from one's self. It highlights the intimate integration of this self-concept. It becomes easier to understand if we think of it in relation to the integration of the sense of identity. Cathexis, then, means the integration of one's identity. We term this integration, in our work, self-realization. In other words, the cathexis of the self is a psychoanalytic concept that approximates our concept of the realization of the self.

Understanding Cathexis of Physical Reality in General

The realization of both the Personal Essence and the Cosmic Consciousness now make it possible to see through the projection of the representational world. The continued experience of the Personal Essence and the Cosmic Consciousness begins to expose a contraction in the psychophysical organism that has been very deeply hidden. One slowly starts realizing that this disharmonious contraction has to do with focus on, or cathexis of, physical reality in general, and not just on one’s own body, Understanding this exposes the self-concept again as an empty shell. However, now the empty shell feels like an individual who is emotionally and mentally trapped by the physical world. Sometimes one feels as if he is fat, or full of fat that covers a deep emptiness. One becomes aware that this sense of being a fat empty shell is coexistent with a state of greed and lust for food and physical comfort and pleasure. One realizes the consequences of the exclusive cathexis of physical reality, which is basically how ego sees the world. One relates to the world as if it can fill one’s emptiness, can satisfy one’s greed for all kinds of physical rewards. One is deeply, though unconsciously, aware of one’s deficient emptiness, and is seeing the world as the source of gratifications.

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