Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Ipseity
Descent of the Ipseity Into the Limitations of the World
The soul feels any sense of movement away from total intimacy with the absolute mystery to be an intolerable loss. However, regardless of her resistance and protest, it finally dawns on her that she cannot stay where she is, and that it is not up to her personal choice. At some point she recognizes that her unfoldment is taking her to a place different than the transcendent absolute ipseity. She might feel the arising of a great sadness, tremendous grief. It may take her a long time before she realizes that there is no loss of the total intimacy with the absolute, that she does not have to actually leave her home to go on to these further stations. As she surrenders to the dynamism of Being, and ceases to hold on to her realization of the absolute ipseity, she recognizes and surrenders her attachment to the absolute realization. In this process she discovers that while it is true that she is on a journey of descent from the heights of transcendence, this journey is not a separation from the absolute. The descent is a descent into limitation, but it is the descent not of her individual sense of herself, but the descent of the ipseity itself. In other words, she descends into the limitations of the world not as a soul entity, but as the absolute mystery itself.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 413
Issues of Self-Esteem in Spiritual Work
When we are alienated from our essential presence—that is, when we are narcissistic—we are inevitably alienated also from the quality of Value. We are disconnected from our sense of innate value by the mere fact that our identity is situated in the conventional dimension of experience. This alienation from Value becomes apparent when the manifestations of central narcissism begin to approach our consciousness. We become aware of the lack of Value inherent in our normal sense of identity as this identity becomes transparent and is revealed as empty. This understanding of the issue of self-esteem or value is satisfactory if one accepts our view of narcissism. In contrast, the theories in depth psychology that explain self-esteem are diverse and unclear. Our view does not contradict these theories, which are basically accurate when applied to the dimension of common experience. The diversity of views simply points to the deeper ground of the issue of self-esteem. It also shows that the question of self-esteem is always problematic for the normal individual, for the “normal” self is always alienated from the intrinsic Value of the true self, regardless of how narcissistically healthy it is. So in spiritual work, the issues of self-esteem that manifest as the narcissistic constellation arises, are simply the intensification of a condition that has heretofore been in the background.
The Point of Existence, pg. 159
Recognizing the Absolute as Ipseity
The absolute is both my nature and my identity. Is the nature of the soul and her very identity. It constitutes her manifestations but it is also her depth and deepest essence. Alternatively, we can say the absolute is our true self, our objectively actual self. But it is also the nature of the soul. That is why we like to refer to the absolute as ipseity, for the word ipseity means both nature and self. To recognize the absolute as ipseity is a profound experience, for it is the self-realization of this dimension of true nature. (Inner Journey Home, pg 407) Absolute Reality & Ipseity The Sufis refer to this reality as the “divine essence,” the essence of God, but also as the final nature of all existence. They use the Arabic word dhat to refer to it, which means self, identity, nature, and Essence all at the same time. The closest English equivalent of this term is the word ipseity. In the experience of ipseity, the absolute truth of Being, duality ends as we perceive that the identity and nature of everything, including ourselves, is inseparable from everything. Everything is the radiance of absolute ipseity, just as light is the radiance of the sun. (The Point of Existence) Ipseity & The End of the Search When the soul arrives at her absolute home, recognizes her true beloved, and realizes it as her ipseity, many insights, realizations, and feelings spontaneously arise. One’s life begins to show its overall pattern, seen from the perspective of the inner journey home. This culminates in the personalization of the absolute ipseity, where we learn to be a human being, a person, and to still abide in the absolute.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 24
The Absolute: Total Selflessness that is Also the Ultimate Self
The absolute is such a mystery that even though it is total selflessness it is also the ultimate self. What can that mean? We have seen that the absolute is the divine essence, the inner essence of Being. It is the final nature of everything, including ego and essence. It is the absolute nature of the soul, her deepest ground. To realize it is to recognize in direct experience that there is nothing that is not constituted by it. We feel we are constituted by it, that it forms our very substance and identity. We are it, and it is us. We feel and see it as a luminous crystal presence of black clarity. But at the same time we feel it is I, nothing but me, for there is nothing else that can be me. It is not like there is a cognitive sense or feeling of I, identity, or self. There is no conceptual quality of the beingness of the mystery. But there is a perception or apperception that it is none other than I. It is a perception of the luminous night being the beingness of me, without the feeling of me. The I is not the familiar I, whether ego or essence. It is like I know it is I because I am it. There is nothing else that is I. It is the sense of complete subjectivity. It is like recognizing the subject that is I, which turns out to be the absolute. In other words, the absolute is both my nature and my identity. It is the nature of the soul and her very identity. It constitutes her manifestations but it is also her depth and deepest essence. Alternatively, we can say the absolute is our true self, our objectively actual self. But it is also the nature of the soul. That is why we like to refer to the absolute as ipseity, for the word ipseity means both nature and self. To recognize the absolute as ipseity is a profound experience, for it is the self-realization of this dimension of true nature.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 406
The Thing and the Nature of the Thing at the Same Time
Nevertheless, I have various favorite names for the Absolute, depending on how the Guest is manifesting. Today my favorite name is the Secret. Two days ago it was the Guest. A while ago I called it the divine ipseity. Ipseity is a very good name for it. I like it because most people don't know what it means. It’s good to give it a name that nobody knows because if you think you know what it means, it's not it. Ipseity is a name that was used in the past for the same reality we're talking about. The dictionary defines it as something like the final selfhood. The word “ipseity” was used by early Christians. In Arabic the Sufis refer to it as hawiyyah. Ipseity is not exactly identity and not exactly self, but both and also something between the two meanings; it can also mean nature or self-nature. Ipseity means it is its own nature and it is its own self. Hence it is both self and the nature of self. Ipseity means the nature of all things, but also the self of all things. It is a nature, a reality that is the self. So, it is not the self in the sense of being an entity or identity or having a sense of self. It is the self in the sense of being the actuality of what is. It is both the thing itself and the nature of the thing. It is both the gold and the lion in the golden statue of a lion. The gold is the nature, the lion is the self, but the ipseity is both, is the golden lion.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 51
The Ultimate Reality that is Both the Self and the Self-Nature
The interplay of involvement and spontaneity, presence and absence, is beautiful and deeply satisfying. I am myself, without a feeling of self. I merely function as my own nature. That is why calling the absolute “ipseity” feels more accurate than thinking of it as ultimate reality or truth. It is the ultimate reality that is both the self and the self-nature.The passionate intensity and fierceness of presence gives this way of being the flavor of a love affair. The process of the realization of the absolute continues to expose deep components of the personality, revealing other implications of the truth of the ultimate nature of myself and the world. This process confronts me again and again with the animal states and tendencies of the libidinal soul: insecurity, fear, vulnerability, helplessness, and so on. When I relax, the passionate burning arises, along with the hot tears. Then the ipseity, the luminous crystal blackness, shines through. I again experience this mystery as both the self and the nature of everything. I see the universe as a beautiful appearance, like a luminous veil over the mysterious darkness. Sometimes I see the absolute; sometimes I feel and sense it, as a luminous crystal presence of black clarity. A particular perception begins to dominate: awareness of the ipseity as the self. The perception is that I am the ipseity, but it is different from any experience of any other dimension. There is no sense or feeling of I, identity, or self. The beingness of ipseity has no conceptual quality. But there is a perception, or apperception, that it is none other than I. It is a perception of the ipseity being the beingness of me, without the feeling of me. The I is not the familiar I, whether ego or essence. I know it is I because I am it. There is nothing else that is I. It is the sense of complete subjectivity. This is recognizing the subject that is I.
Luminous Night's Journey, pg. 84
When We Are Either the Absolute Mystery or Its Absolute Servant
In realizing the freedom vehicle, we realize that each of us is an objective, precise instrument for the absolute. We exist as its eyes, its mouths, its ears, its arms, its legs, its genitals, its brains, its nervous systems, its mind, its intellect, its heart, and so forth. The complete and natural function of any of these organs, and hence of our bodies and souls, is to be an instrument of the absolute, allowing the absolute to behold and experience its own creation, its own display of its hidden treasures. To be fully ourselves is to faithfully serve the absolute, to purely and selflessly do its bidding. In serving it, in surrendering our wills completely to its dynamic will, we find our happiness and fulfillment. We cannot be happy by trying to fulfill our separate and selfcentered wishes and desires, if they conflict with the natural outflow of the logos of true nature. Recognizing our selfishness and egotism, and understanding how these positions dissociate us from our true nature, allows us to align our wishes with the natural flow of Reality. First we need to align our identity with the absolute ipseity; but deeper still, we need to align our will with the will of the ipseity. As the freedom vehicle we can recede and merge into our inner nature, which is the vastness of the absolute mystery. We are then the vast stillness and silence that underlies all that is, an absence without which no presence can be. But also, as the freedom vehicle we can manifest as individuals in the world, bringing forth and expressing the qualities of the absolute, and thus serving the absolute. In effect, we are either the absolute mystery or its absolute servant. There is nowhere else to be.