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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Fragmentation?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Fragmentation

Dealing With Any Sector of the Ego

The first step of this process in dealing with any sector of the ego has two parts. The first is becoming aware of—actually perceiving and experiencing—the particular belief or identification that constitutes the structure. The second is the dissolution of that facet of the ego structure. The latter is the most difficult one in the process of transformation, since it means letting go of part of one’s identity, and this surrendering can be experienced as a dissolution, a disintegration, a fragmentation, or a sense that you are falling apart. This juncture can be very painful or frightening because the old sense of your identity is crumbling and falling away and you don’t know what—if anything—will take its place. What you’ve held on to has felt real to you, and now you’re letting it go and heading into what feels like unknown and uncharted territory. It feels like jumping into an abyss and it can be terrifying. If this jumping into the abyss is easy, one’s transformation tends to happen easily. But if this letting go of past identities is difficult—very painful or excessively fraught with fear—one will tend to hold on to the old, staying aligned with one’s ego. What makes the difference is the presence of a certain kind of trust that we call basic trust. It is an unspoken, implicit trust that what is optimal will happen, the sense that whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good; that nature, the universe, and all that exists are of their very nature good and trustworthy; that what happens is the best that can happen.

Facets of Unity, pg. 22

Equanimity During Fragmentation

The experience of fragmentation occurs in some stages of spiritual development. In the deeper stages it loses its threatening and terrifying character. This is partly due to the increasing insight that it is an image that is fragmenting, not oneself or one's body. Also, the individual increasingly attains a capacity to be the self without the self-representations. So we can experience the self and the self-representation separately. And since we can see directly that it is not who or what we are that is fragmenting, but some representation of who or what we are, there is more equanimity about the experience.

Jumping Into the Abyss

Allowing ourselves to experience the hole of holding is a crucial step in reclaiming contact with the holding dimension of Being, Living Daylight. Your sense of basic trust is also increased each time you experience the environment responding to you in a supportive way and each time you experience yourself being held in one way or another. In the process of spiritual work, each time you move beyond your usual sense of reality and of who you are—each time you jump into the abyss with its sense of disintegration or fragmentation and accompanying fear—and you experience Being coming through, giving you a sense of support, a sense of relief, of satisfaction, of meaning, your basic trust is strengthened. The more experiences you have that involve dealing with painful states and memories, and resolving them, allowing you to connect with various aspects of your fundamental nature, the more that sense of trust is created. The more your soul is held and the more basic trust is developed, the more you will unfold. Providing this holding for who you really are is one of the functions of a spiritual teaching and a teacher. So the whole of the Work ultimately builds basic trust.

Facets of Unity, pg. 46

The Sense of Fragmentation Might Arise on the Way to the Nonconceptual

Nonconceptual perception can sound like psychosis, but it is not the same kind of experience. It is a very different kind of experience: There is a sense of oneness, unity, integration, and harmony. Psychosis is a lack of integration. In psychosis, the physical world is disintegrated or fragmented. But that’s not true in the nonconceptual dimension. The sense of disjointedness, fragmentation, and things falling apart might arise on the way to the nonconceptual. The disintegration of the structures of the usual mind seems similar to psychosis. But that’s not what we mean when we say nonconceptual. The nonconceptual perception arises when you let go of those structures. They are gone completely, disintegrated to nothing. Then you can see things as they are instead of seeing them through the filter of your mind. A psychotic person sees the world through a fragmented mind. He is not looking at the world with “no mind.”

The Sense of Fragmentation Often Feels Literal

An example will concretely illustrate the difficulty in differentiating the self from its self-concept. In dealing with narcissistic issues, or with issues on the level of deep ego structures, one sometimes encounters the experience of fragmentation. As a result of either an already existing weakness in the structure of the self, or deep work that has dissolved ego structures, the individual experiences fragmentation, or disintegration. The sense of fragmentation often feels literal; the person experiences his body in fragments. This terrifies him and brings fears of death......... The person’s experience of his body being broken into disconnected fragments does not reflect the actual situation. It is an inner experience; the body is still in one piece. How can we explain the graphic and vivid experience of one’s self in fragments when in actuality one’s body remains in one piece? The usual understanding is that the fragments are not of the body itself, but of its image in the psyche. However, the individual’s feeling is that he himself, not an image in his mind, is fragmenting, and thus, he will likely experience physical terror. This is because the image of the body forms a central component in the self-representation. (

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