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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Fakeness?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Fakeness

All Sectors of the Personality are Substitutes for the Essential Ones

The personality not only has the memory of the essential aspects but in fact uses this unconscious memory in its attempt to fill the particular hole, by filling it with a fake quality or with hopes of getting it from outside. The final picture is that this sector of the personality takes the place of the essential aspect. It acts as a substitute for it. The servant of the house behaves after a while as the master of the house. All sectors of the personality, all qualities of the personality, all characteristics of the personality are substitutes for the essential ones. The personality, in fact, is an exact replica of the essence, but it is false. It is made up, a reaction, an outcome, and does not have the reality of essence. It is a plastic substitute that lacks the aliveness, freshness, realness, and luminous clarity of the real thing. This is a painful and difficult situation, but in this situation resides the key to its resolution. Because all sectors of the personality are substitutes for and imitations of the aspects of essence, they are really faithful pointers to these aspects. By understanding these sectors we can regain the aspects of essence. Instead of condemning the personality, as most work systems do, we can use it as a guide and a faithful guide at that. The personality contains the keys to its own riddles. Some of the ancient schools realized this fact, and employed it in their work.

Fakeness in Personal Contact

In other words, one has to be a real person, and perceive the other as a real person, as who he actually is, for there to be a real personal interaction. Otherwise, the interaction, although it feels personal and even intimate, is but an approximation of real personal interaction. And when one sees through one’s identifications with past object relations one becomes acutely conscious that this approximation is fake. One is shocked into the realization that his personal contact and consideration have always been vacuous, constituting nothing but the replay of past object relations, or the replay of an organization of those object relations. One was not making contact with the other person, and was not really considering the other person. He was considering somebody else, in fact, only an image of a person, an image which is not even an accurate image of the person he is interacting with.

Fear of Being Found to Be Phony

Fakeness: A singularly defining manifestation of narcissism is the feeling of being fake, unreal, lacking authenticity. This may appear first as the fear of being found out, without knowing what is going to be found out. When the person goes deeper into this fear he may discover that he is afraid to be found out to be phony, that it will be seen that he is not for real. This sense of phoniness is a reflection of the fact that the normal identity is devoid of the real self, the essential presence. He might even feel himself to be an empty shell, devoid of substance or reality. The sense of phoniness, or the feeling of being an empty shell, appears in this phase of development as a result of approaching the truth of the emptiness of his normal identity.

Life Without Authenticity

In the process of working through our narcissism, we come to realize that to present an image of ourselves, instead of the immediate presence of who we are, regardless of how faithful it is to the original, is to be fake and to live a phony life. It is the life of the empty shell, a life without authenticity, without fundamental truth. This understanding of the sense of being phony that is universally associated with narcissism is more fundamental than that offered by the theories of depth psychology. It demonstrates that phoniness is inherent to the life of ego. It is not only a quality of pathological narcissism or what is called the “false self”; it is intrinsic to the experience of the self in the conventional dimension of experience. The fakeness is simply more obvious in pathological narcissism because the shell is more exposed.

One is Either Oneself as Essential Being or One is a Self of Ego

That’s the moment of the great betrayal, when we abandon ourselves. Like the person in the story, “The King’s Son,” we begin to live like the natives live. We put on the robes, and the robes are made of fakeness. That fakeness is the shell we feel. It is the fabric of the shell. What is real in us has been pushed away, and all our lives we feel the shell. If we penetrate the shell, we feel the emptiness. This predicament is very sad, but it is universal. It happens to everyone who identifies with the ego sense of self, with the usual personality. One is either oneself, as essential Being, or one is a self of ego, developed over time, which is an empty shell. When we confront this shell, we are touched in the deepest place. We are in deep anguish, because what would make life meaningful is not there. One may feel then, “I want to be totally here, nothing else will do it. Nothing has significance, even pleasure and essential experience, if I am not here.” But we do not want to confront this, because we don’t want to feel now the abandonment and alienation we felt as children.

Seeing that the World of Ego is as Empty as Ego

Staying with this realization of the deep underlying relationship to the world will spontaneously lead to a new perception, hitherto totally unsuspected. One begins to become conscious that one’s empty shell feels continuous with, and not separate from, the rest of the world. One feels as if one’s individuality and the rest of the universe make the same entity, at the same level, with the same significance. This is the beginning of the objective awareness of the totality of the ego identity. One starts becoming aware of the totality of the ego structure projected on all of reality. Then one starts becoming aware that this reality, which includes both self and world in a continuous manner, does not seem to have any real significance. Both self and world turn out to be one big shell, empty and insubstantial. Now it is not only one’s personality that is perceived to be fake and empty, but the whole world is experienced in this way. It is strange to see physical objects, including people, having no substance, no density and no reality. They feel empty and flat like cardboard, colorless and devoid of vitality. Everything still looks the same, but one realizes that one has been projecting a significance, fullness and reality that is not really there. Here one is objectively perceiving the totality of ego identity, and realizing for the first time that it is empty, unreal and, in fact, feels like images or thoughts, which it is. So not only one’s individuality, but the totality of the world that one has been familiar with, turns out not to have the reality that one believed in so unquestioningly. One realizes, for the first time, that the world does not have the richness and gratification that one always believed it had. The world of ego is as empty as ego.

The Hole of Fakeness

When you recognize the feeling of being fake without trying to change it, and when you do not defend against it, you will feel complete nothingness, worthlessness, complete lack of support, complete helplessness. It is not that our process creates it; no, we have to go through it because it is there. This hole is there in our depths, and we are constantly avoiding it. When we allow ourselves to experience it, we might learn that emptiness is nothing, only peacefulness, and that the chasm is nothing but a boundless peace. It is an emptiness, and it doesn't have a selfhood, but it is not as scary as we imagine it.

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