Main Pages

By Region



Good Mother

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Good Mother?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Good Mother

Activation of the Merging Essence

The deepest layers in both self and object images are composed of undifferentiated self-object representations. So the deepest and most basic layers of the "good" mother image are primarily those of the "good" undifferentiated self-object representations. So when an individual feels the loss, or possibility of loss, of the mother's image, he might be feeling the loss of these deep layers. The deepest experiences of losing mother must be those of the loss of these undifferentiated representations... Our view is that the loss of the "good" undifferentiated representation leads to the activation of the Merging Essence.

Conscious Association of the Merging Essence with the Good Mother

The “good” mother image. The ego cannot think in terms of undifferentiated representations. Since it is the result of differentiation and separation it cannot imagine what it is to be truly merged with another. It can only think of two people coming together in a very intimate way; it cannot imagine the actual experience of not being a separate person. So when one feels a need for the Merging Essence one feels it as a longing or need for the good, gratifying mother. The closest he comes to concepts of undifferentiation is in the fantasies of incorporation or of being incorporated, as in disappearing within the good love object, or returning to the golden womb. Unconsciously, Merging Essence is equated with the good undifferentiated representation, the positive dual unity. But consciously it is associated with the good mother, or the all-good love object. A devastating outcome of this association is the development of the strong belief that the Merging Essence is not part of oneself, but that it is, or is part of, the good mother. In the usual process of ego development, the most integration an individual can have of this aspect is the belief that one can experience it only with the good mother, or with somebody who stands for her.

Human Development Seen as the Ever-Increasing Merging with One's Being

We can say then that the Merging Essence is in a sense the “inner mother.” In fact, all students in the process of inner realization relate to it as if it were their good mother. One of the main issues to be worked through is that of associating it with one’s mother. It is an independent aspect of Essence, a Platonic form. It has its own perspective, or rather, one can see all of reality from its vantage point. One can see the whole process of human development as the ever-increasing merging with one’s Being, as more and more boundaries are dissolved. Many associated issues and conflicts must be resolved for it to be completely realized. We are discussing it briefly only to understand its relevance to the realization of the Personal Essence. The reason the realization of the Personal Essence requires the realization of the Merging Essence is that the realization of the Personal Essence is experienced as a profound autonomy implying a radical separation from mother, which seems to threaten the loss of the capacity for inner soothing and regulation. So the ego hardens its defenses and identifications against the experience of the Personal Essence. However, when the Merging Essence is realized, the ego experiences the presence of all the soothing and comforting it feels it needs, and this disposes it to further surrender its defenses. However, this must not be taken to imply that one realizes the Merging Essence first and then the Personal Essence. The process is not so linear. The aspects become realized gradually together.

Splitting Mother Into Good Mother and Bad Mother

At the beginning, in childhood, there is a relationship between the child and the mother, the parents, the environment. When the relationship is difficult or painful, the child deals with it by splitting the difficult from the easy, the love from the hatred. But to do that, you have to do it with your mind, because it is not real. You have to split your perception. You have to split your mind. You have to believe something that is not there. That is the beginning of mental structure. You have to split the reality into this and that, split mother into good mother and bad mother. Well, your mother is never all good or all bad. She is a mixture. So if you split her into good mother and bad mother, and you have to remember this and that, you are creating something in your mind that is not really there. In time, that becomes the mental relationship that you reenact in your life relationships. So there is the idealized mother, there is the frustrating mother, and there is the attacking mother. And your relationships with those three parts are what become reenacted in your life as mental relationships. We usually look at ego from the perspective of self-image. I am looking at it now in terms of relationship, instead of only from self-image: That includes both the self-image and the object image, both you and your mother. I am looking at the totality of the relationship, within which the self-image and the ego developed. We are seeing how we split those relationships, and how that splitting led to the ego and the identifications of the ego. At the beginning, there may have been a need for that splitting, because the child actually could not tolerate the whole thing, didn’t have enough understanding, didn’t know. The system was not developed, the perception was not developed enough to see the totality, to understand it, and tolerate it. The child had to split the different parts. But for us now, this splitting is no longer needed. We can tolerate reality now. The child, we could say, could not tolerate reality completely.

The Source of All Attachments

When the need for the good object takes over, we are generally willing to forget everything—essence, reality, God, truth—and unconsciously, compulsively go for the dual unity. Its power is the final psychodynamic support for the ego identity itself. The following are intimately connected: the attachment to life, to existence, to love, to the good mother. It takes the state of absolute poverty to expose this deep attachment, to bring to consciousness the part of you that has not changed its mind and heart, and still believes it is going to get the perfect union with the perfect object one of these days. The soul might believe that the way to get the dual unity is to become enlightened, but she is still pursuing the perfect object. To thoroughly comprehend this deep desire, you need absolute purity. Deep in the soul resides the primal longing for the good mother, where everybody feels: “I just want my good mommy and that’s it. I want to sit in her lap, have her give me a big hug and kiss my neck. Then I will feel happy and complete.” The terror of giving up this deep longing of the soul is one reason why poverty is frightening. When the state of poverty begins to arise, you find yourself running a mile a minute, terrified as if a goblin is after you, after your most cherished possessions, after your very life. To comprehend what I am talking about, you have to penetrate deep inside, in your guts, where things are stuck and held, where you are too afraid to be truly alone and truly nothing. People die not wanting to let go of this deep desire, this hope and attachment. I am not saying that you should try to find this need for dual unity, for the good object, and relinquish it. The truth is revealed simply by exposing it, by looking at your attachments in your life. All the attachments come from this source. It is the foundation of all impurities.

The True Object of the Soul's Libidinal Desire

When this instinctual energy is opened, there arises the danger of becoming attached to its exhilarating, passionate aliveness, especially if the individual has lived a controlled and puritanical life. The insight that begins the process of working through this issue is the recognition of projection onto the libidinal object. One may recognize that the good mother or wonderful breast was beautiful and desirable, but the object he sees in his mind does not actually exist in the world. One may see at some point that the beautiful, luscious object, which is the true object of the soul’s libidinal desire, contains all the wonderful, sweet, and fulfilling nectars of the essential heart qualities. The libidinal object turns out to be a strong, alive heart, full of a living presence that contains luscious juices that normally manifest in the heart when it is open to its essential qualities. One may actually see and taste the zesty pomegranate of passionate love, the rich golden honey and milk of satisfying nourishment, the apricot nectar of fulfillment, the luscious orange of essential pleasure, the beautiful fluffy pink of love, and so on.

When Merging Love is Lost

When merging love is lost, there is left in its place a vacuum, an emptiness, a hole in the being. Merging love of essence is a fullness—something is there. It is a delicate, soft fullness, a substantial presence. So its loss leaves an experience of an absence, a lack, that is acutely and painfully felt by the child. When an adult feels this emptiness or hole, it is usually experienced as an incompleteness, a lack, a deep deficiency. This deficient emptiness is too painful for the child to endure. It is felt both emotionally and physically as painful. It is also experienced as a threat to the newly forming structure of the ego. This structure is still too weak and fragile to tolerate such loss, which happens right at the beginning stages of ego formation. The ego still needs the experience of gratifying symbiotic union for its wavering and fragile cohesion. To let itself feel fully the experience of loss of the merging essence, which is to the child's mind the complete loss of the “good mother,” will be too shattering. The child still experiences the need for the “good mother” for his very survival, both physical and psychological, so really feeling the loss will bring in a great anxiety: the fear of total annihilation and dissolution. Thus, the child learns not to feel the loss and the consequent emptiness. He learns to fill the emptiness, to cover it up, to bury it. He not only relegates it to the unconscious, he actually fills it with all kinds of emotions, beliefs, dreams, and fantasies.

When Mother is Around as a Cathected Image

The obvious implication is that physical and emotional separation become possible because -- besides the maturation of body and mind -- mentally and emotionally one remains close to mother. The sense of self does not feel abandoned by the mother, does not feel completely alone, because mother is still around, as a cathected image. So one can feel independent and can function in a separate and autonomous manner because there is a constant (although mostly unconscious) feeling of the mother's nearness... now we can use this understanding to see what happens when one experiences Being, as in the state of the Personal Essence. The experience of the Personal Essence feels like a sense of autonomy, independence, individuation and so on. However, since one still identifies with ego or reverts to this identification, one believes that such autonomy is more separation than one can handle. One feels that his distance from mother, emotionally, is becoming bigger, and this is felt as a threat to his sense of identity, as a pressure on his level of integration. And if the individual still has unresolved conflicts about separation, dating back to the first few years of life, then this will be activated by the pressure of the essential experience.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach