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Ego Inadequacy

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Ego Inadequacy?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Ego Inadequacy

The Deeper Resolution of Ego Inadequacy

We have been discussing the process of personalization of the Cosmic Consciousness, which shows the direct relation of the Personal Essence to the formless realms of Being. It indicates, in an actual personal experience, that individuation is really the Cosmic Conscious Presence individualizing and manifesting as the Personal Essence. This process is also the deeper resolution of ego inadequacy. It is easy to see here that ego inadequacy is not only a consequence of the loss of contact with Essence, but also due to the separateness of ego boundaries that isolates the ego individuality from the Cosmic Presence. The Personal Essence has no inadequacy because it is directly connected to, and hence completely supported by, the Cosmic Loving Presence. Ego boundaries leave the ego individuality without the inner support of the various aspects of Essence, and without the comprehensive support of the Cosmic Essence (Consciousness). So just as we saw before that ego inadequacy is due to a mistaken sense of self, now we see that it is also due to the presence of ego boundaries. Both intrapsychic self-structures, the sense of identity and the sense of separateness, although indispensable to ego existence, are the reasons for its deep and basic inadequacy. Inadequacy is the deep nature of ego, due to the mere presence of its structure.

Ego Weakness Will Disappear Only in the Realization of the Personal Essence, the Real Person of Being

We have stated that ego weakness is a universal issue characteristic of any ego existence, and that psychopathology indicates a severity of this issue. From our previous discussion of ego development and the development of the Personal Essence, it is simple to see from the perspective of the Diamond Approach why this is so. Since, as object relations theory states, ego weakness is due to incomplete or inadequate ego integration and individuation, and since, as we have discussed in great detail, ego development as conceived of in object relations theory is an incomplete process, every ego structure will naturally have some inadequacy. The individuality of ego is not the real, true and final integration of the person. This means that ego weakness will disappear only in the realization of the Personal Essence, the real person of Being. As long as one takes himself to be an individual and a self based on self-image, there is bound to be a basic sense of inadequacy at the core of the identification. Ego inevitably contains a deep, basic sense of, and fear of, inadequacy. This is of course why the development of the Personal Essence ultimately exposes the inadequacy; it is the antithesis of the arising fullness, integrity, confidence and strength of Being.

Experiences where there is a Natural Fear of Disappearing

The defensive function of ego is at its height, against both the inadequacy and its feared consequences. These fears are reasonable in two ways. The first is that ego inadequacy is a reliving of an earlier experience in very early childhood, when one was actually vulnerable, helpless and dependent. Although we discussed the state of inadequacy in terms of the beginning of the phase of rapprochement, its emergence or development is a gradual process that starts much earlier, in the first months of life, because the process of cathecting physical reality starts so early. Many students actually remember themselves as infants, alone, helpless and scared. This kind of memory might be a composite of many experiences at different early times, but it does reflect some experiences in the earliest months of life. Since the individual normally identifies deeply with the state of deficiency it becomes understandable why, when this state becomes conscious, it generates so much terror and fear of death. This reflects the actual helplessness of the psychophysical organism at such early times. The other reason for the terror is that at such early times, at the beginning of ego development, ego structures are still unstable, shaky and not unified. Since one identifies with such structures, in these experiences there is a natural fear of disappearing, for one is aware of one’s sense of self as shaky, unstable, weak and vulnerable. In fact the experience can lead to a kind of death, which is the disappearance of these unstable and early-formed structures. This is obvious in the cases we discussed above, where at some point the individual disappears completely, and only emptiness is left.

Support of the Citadel

When the Citadel aspect is present, it gives the individual the possibility of looking at ego inadequacy in an objective and unemotional way. One feels so supported that the state of inadequacy loses its threatening property. The Citadel gives one a sense of solidity and support, with no grandiose ideas. One is clearly aware that it is an essential presence, and not a physical or mental power, that it is a support for Being and not for ego. The sense of support and protection related to this aspect is much deeper than the state of awesome immensity. One begins to learn that the realization of this aspect requires from one something specific. It is not a matter only of inner understanding. It is a state in which Will and Truth are harmonized, are functioning as one state. This means that its influence is to manifest Will in the service of Truth. It is actually solid Will in the service and support of objective Truth. To embody (realize) this aspect, one’s actions, and all of one’s life, must function according to objective Truth

The Defensive Function of Ego is Usually at its Peak When One is Dealing with Ego Inadequacy

A major step towards resolution of the state of inadequacy is the integration of the third objective dimension of Essence. The entry to this dimension occurs by confronting and understanding the defensive nature of ego. One need not exert any effort to focus one’s attention on this aspect of ego. The defensive function is usually at its peak when one is dealing with ego inadequacy. The strongest and most tenacious defenses and resistances come up to ward off the awareness of inadequacy. One’s whole consciousness contracts. One might feel heavy, thick and defended. One feels defensive and resistant to going within. The consciousness becomes dull and insensitive. The tensions in the body become intense; they can become so severe that one gets headaches. The impression at such times is that the individual is defending himself as if he is fighting for dear life. In fact, it turns out that this is one of the fears generated by ego inadequacy. Some individuals become afraid that if they feel so vulnerable and helpless they might die. Others become afraid that they will get so small that they will disappear.

The Possibility of Experiencing the First Major Resolution of Ego Inadequacy

The hope of resolving inadequacy is in the realization of the Citadel aspect. This implies that one is willing to live one’s life from the perspective of objective Truth, which takes into consideration the fact of Being, without denying physical reality. Although all students deal with ego inadequacy, only a minority move steadily towards resolving it. This is because not many are willing to adjust their lives according to objective Truth. This deep surrender is rare and requires a great deal of maturity. When the Citadel is realized it creates the possibility of experiencing the first major resolution of ego inadequacy. It is the presence of the Citadel that allows the hole, or deficient emptiness, of inadequacy to be replaced by the various aspects of Essence. This happens specifically first by the emergence of the Merging Essence in the solar plexus—the location is important but not absolutely necessary—exactly where the inadequacy is usually experienced.

The Sense of Inadequacy is Connected with the Absence of Certain Essential Aspects

It should now be clear that the ego inadequacy which appears at the beginning of rapprochement, which occurs simultaneously with the shift of identity from Being to the psychophysical apparatus, is due to the loss of contact with Being, just as Guntrip and Winnicott have indicated. We have also seen evidence that the defenses against this state are actually attempts to connect with certain essential aspects. However, object relations theory in general, as we have discussed, views the psychophysical organism as our deepest self, and physical reality as the most real of all existence. This is because it is a theory constructed after the fact of cathecting physical reality, by theorists identified primarily with ego. Knowledge of Being allows one to see that this perspective is just part of the truth, The various modes of the sense of inadequacy are connected with the absence of certain essential aspects. The sense of castration is the absence of the Will aspect, while that of impotence is absence of the Strength aspect. The sense of worthlessness is the absence of the Value aspect, and the sense of insignificance (or being nothing, as Penny described it) is the absence of the Essential Self. These connections have been made by many students who experienced the state of inadequacy as a deficient emptiness (which is always a result of losing Essence), and then explored the deficiency [see our book The Void for more discussion of this point].

The State of Inadequacy Manifests in Many Forms

Essential realization puts a much greater pressure on one’s capacities, and sooner or later a sense of inadequacy emerges. It usually does not indicate emotional disorder or immaturity, for under normal circumstances this inadequacy would probably never surface to consciousness. Every student, however normal and integrated he is on the ego level, at some point becomes aware of this sense of inadequacy; it is a universal phenomenon. One must deal with ego inadequacy in order to break through personal limits and attain a greater expansion; the sense of inadequacy is the main thing holding him back. The state of inadequacy manifests in many forms, according to its various sources. We will discuss its main manifestations, and the defenses against them. 1. The most typical is a state of feeling deficient, inadequate, unable, and, at the same time, scared of these feelings. The inadequacy here is an emotional state, a painful affect of not being up to what one has to do in life ……… 2. The inadequacy can manifest as a state of extreme helplessness, in which an individual feels so helpless that he cannot even lift his arm. He feels weak, unable, incapable. ……… 3. The state of inadequacy is frequently experienced as a state of inner emptiness ……… 4. The state of emptiness and the related affects of the various deficiencies are sometimes graphically experienced. One feels not only a big emptiness, but a sense of many holes in one’s psyche. One feels perforated and deficient at the same time ……… 5. The state of inadequacy and helplessness is frequently experienced as a sense of weakness, of having no structure and no sense of inner support. Sometimes one will feel as if there is no inner structure to one’s body, as if one has no bones, nothing to hold one up, support one in taking action ……… 6. The state frequently manifests as a feeling of smallness. One feels too small to do grown-up things. One experiences oneself as not up to big tasks, not ready for expansive states. ………. 7. One of the most difficult manifestations of inadequacy is a state of feeling alone and not supported. One feels as if one is hanging in mid-air, with nothing to support one underneath, and nothing anywhere to hold onto ……….. 8. The state of inadequacy appears in dreams in unmistakable symbols.

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