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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Loss?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Loss

Experience of Loss Can Help You Connect with the Essential Part of Yourself that Has Been Lost

When you experience loss and separation you have the possibility of seeing that what was filling you wasn’t really you. If you stay with the hurt and the pain of loss without trying to cover this pain with something else, it is possible that you will feel the emptiness, feel the hole, see the hole. Then if you allow yourself to feel the deficiency, the emptiness, you may find the essential part of you that will really fill the hole, from the inside, once and for all. It’s not even filling; it is just the elimination of the hole and the identifications with the deficiency. In that way, you regain part of yourself. You connect with the part of your Essence that you lost, and that you thought only somebody else could provide for you.

Fear of Loss of Security

The loss of the symbiotic mother, which is associated with Merging Essence, implies a lot more than one can see at the beginning, because of the properties of symbiosis and of the Merging Essence. The loss is experienced as equivalent to the loss of, or the loss of the possibility of, security, pleasure and company. The fear of loss of security becomes reflected in fears of loss of support, money, nourishment and so on. This accounts for many phobias, like fear of being in airplanes, of earthquakes and so on. The fear of loss of pleasure is generalized to all kinds of pleasure; eating, comfort and so on; but more particularly it manifests as fear of loss of sexual pleasure. This is enhanced by the fear of loss of company, which manifests mostly as fear of aloneness. In other words, the gratification of what can be seen as the three primary instincts—sexual, social and survival—becomes endangered.

Fearing the Loss of What You Have

One reason we don’t want to see this truth is that we often believe that if we choose to live in accordance with the truth of Essence, we will lose all the goodies of life that we’re attached to. We are so accustomed to looking at our lives from the perspective of getting things from the outside, we believe that if we cease to count on this pattern, we will lose them all. This is not so. In fact, if all your actions and desires, all the aspects of your life are subordinated to the truth of Essence, you can have what you want in your life. You can be famous, rich, sexy, have a family, a career, all these things. And you can enjoy them in the fullness of Essence, rather than always trying to get more and fearing the loss of what you have. There is no conflict between living the essential life and getting what you want in the world. In fact, when we are living according to our essence, it is possible finally to love our lives and the things in our lives. But if we value external things over our essence, then we shut off the part that can enjoy these things. The heart of joy, what we call the yellow heart or the bright sun, becomes sunny when it is turned toward Essence. When it is turned somewhere else, it is dark. It’s that simple.

Loss of Basic Confidence

So we see that will and fear are connected. The loss of basic confidence makes us block our will, which then creates a fear that without the false will we will have no support. We feel we will be vulnerable and defenseless, unsupported, groundless, with nothing under our feet. We feel our needs will just collapse under us if we let go of the false will. This might actually happen momentarily, until the true will is felt. With the true will, you do not feel as if you are being supported, you simply feel the absence of the fear and of the need for support. It feels like an openness, and emptiness, a big space in which to experience life. You feel that all kinds of possibilities are there, and no intentional action is needed. Things will just emerge out of that openness, spontaneously.

Loss of Contact with the Mother's Image

On the psychodynamic and structural levels, the main resistance against the radical separation perceived in the experience of Being is due to the unwillingness or inability of ego to be completely separate from the mother. The individual feels he is losing his mother, and his connection to her, because now he is not an individual based on past object relations to her. The remaining identification with ego reveals his unconscious attachment to her image. So the profound autonomy in the experience of the Personal Essence, and the sense of separation of the Strength Essence, both uncover the deep need for, and attachment to, the mother’s good image. The loss of contact with the mother’s image is often felt as a sense of loss and emptiness. At the beginning stages one does not necessarily feel the loss, but the possibility of this loss brings to the forefront of consciousness not only the attachment to the mother, but also the conflicts and deprivations in one’s relationship to her in early childhood.

Loss of One's Individuality

On the other hand, there are definite experiences where one actually feels oneself, as the personality, being absorbed into Being. As the last primitive and subtle defenses dissolve, due to objective understanding of vulnerability, one feels oneself being steadily absorbed or reabsorbed. One feels taken in, eaten, swallowed, completely integrated. There is no fear and no resistance. The deepest fear of the ego is now actualized; there is a loss of one’s individuality, of one’s separate identity. But it is experienced as a matter of fact perception, without reaction of any sort, and without a sense of loss. At some point one perceives—usually suddenly—that one is the formless oneness of Being. The supreme, pure aspect of Being is now experienced in its aloneness, without the presence of ego structures and identifications. For this reason, the issue of aloneness sometimes resurfaces just before this experience of pure oneness. This state of oneness is in contrast to that of the Personal Essence, but without any contradiction. One feels that one is everything; there are no personal boundaries, and no partitions between objects. One is the supreme aspect of Being, is pure non-differentiated presence, that is the nature of everything, that is also everything. Pure Being is experienced as both everything and beyond everything. As beyond everything it is experienced in its suchness as a pure sense of Beingness. This is referred to usually as the state of unity. As everything, it is experienced as the nature of everything, and this is usually referred to as the state of oneness.

Loss of Relationship

When you relate to someone in a deep way, you fill your holes with the other person. Some of your holes get filled with what you believe you’re getting from the other person. For example, you may feel valued because this person appreciates you. You don’t know consciously that you’re filling the hole with their appreciation. But when you are with that person, you feel valuable, and unconsciously you feel the other person is responsible for your value. Whatever this person is giving you feels like a part of you; it is part of the fullness that you experience. Your unconscious does not see that part of the person that makes you feel valuable as separate; you see it as part of you. When the person dies or the relationship ends, you don’t feel that you’re losing that person; you feel you’re losing whatever is filling the hole. You experience the loss of a part of yourself. That is why it is so painful. It feels like you’re being cut and something is being taken out of you. That’s what the wound and the pain are about—the hurt of loss. You may feel as if you lost your heart, your security, your strength, your will—whatever the person fulfilled for you. When you lose a person close to you, you feel whatever hole that person has filled.

Loss of the Awareness of Death

This deepest hole in the personality, around which its identity is structured, is the avoidance (the loss) of the awareness of death. More accurately, the personality does not understand death, and it avoids the perception of its possibility and its existence. It is terrified of death because it means its own annihilation. We are not referring here to the death of the body, although the personality cannot conceive of any other kind of death because of its identification with the body. We mean the experience of nonexistence, which is the absence of experience. But this nonexistence is the deepest nature of the personality, its very center. The personality's fear and avoidance of death creates a gap (a hole) in awareness around which the personality is structured. This gap is the kernel of the unconscious. Unconsciousness develops as the personality develops and is structured around this hole. Unconsciousness is ultimately unconsciousness of death, which is necessitated by the lack of understanding of what death is.

Loss of the Concept of Presence

The loss of the concept of Presence happens through the realization of the ultimate void (Sunyata), which is the absence of conceptualization. This is another radical departure from one’s previous experience. One goes from a sense of absolute presence to a sense of absolute Absence. One here realizes that for the first time a complete cessation of the sense of self is attained. There is no experience of self or person, without consciousness that there is no self or person. When the sense of presence is lost, the last foothold for the sense of self (identity or person) is gone. In the state of Absence there is no self-consciousness at all, and one realizes that it is the self-reflective movement of the mind that is the core of the sense of self.

Loss of the Support for the Narcissistic Equilibrium

The next stage arises when this idealization of the teacher is disrupted by something that the teacher does or fails to do. It is usually disrupted simply by the fact that the teacher is not perfect and the idealization is not realistic. Regardless of how perfect the teacher might be, she will never fit the idealized image of the student, and the student will at some point notice the discrepancy. When the student sees something in the idealized figure that doesn’t fit with the imagined perfection, there is a disappointment and a loss of the idealized image. The student will experience even slight failings of the teacher as lack of empathy, attunement, appreciation, understanding, sensitivity—but most importantly, as the loss of the teacher’s support. This loss often brings up the defensive reaction of anger, rage, and hatred. The student hates the teacher for not living up to his image of her and feels that she has failed him, or even betrayed him. Psychodynamically, every time the idealizing transference is disrupted, the student experiences unconsciously, if not consciously, the loss of part of his structure, a part that provides him particularly with the sense of support for who he is. This is a loss of the support for the narcissistic equilibrium—the sense of self-esteem and stable self-existence. However, the student does not initially recognize the loss of support implicit in the loss of the idealized object. He first goes on the defensive, experiencing rage toward the teacher, blaming and devaluing her. This rage may manifest as cold withdrawal from the teacher, or even vindictive devaluation. This might seem counterproductive or disruptive to the teacher-student relationship, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise. If the teacher understands the situation and is skillful in her interactions with her student, and if the student is sincere and mature enough, there is the unique opportunity here of the student seeing his teacher as she is. More significantly, there is the possibility of a quantum jump in his inner transformation.

Loss of Your Own Love When You Were a Child

If you continue observing and exploring your feelings around the issue of love, you’ll discover a certain deficiency. You’ll find that the need for love is an expression of a part of you that feels deficient and empty. It is always wanting to be filled from the outside. If you stay with that wanting, allow yourself to feel the desire for love deeply, you’ll feel the deficiency, the hole of love, and you’ll experience the hole as the result of the loss of your own love when you were a child. This will bring up the hurt of not being loved, the deep wound; if you allow yourself to experience this wound fully, it will become like a fountain, a fountain from which love flows. You will experience the aspect of essence that is love. This was the missing piece that had to do with the issue of love. Now you have love—not from the outside, but from your own essence. Experiencing this essential aspect of love erases the need to fill that emptiness from the outside just as space or the void resolved the issue around self-image.

The Loss of Boundaries

The final outcome of the process of disidentification is the experience of the dissolution of the psychic structure or self-image. This is the experience of space, of what is sometimes called the void—when self-image is dissolved, the person will experience the loss of boundaries, both physical and mental. The nature of the mind is then revealed as an emptiness, a void, an immaculately empty space. The void and the absence of the identifications that form the psychic structure are the same thing.

The Momentous Loss of Our True Reality

It is our lot as human beings to fall into a momentous error. This error is so momentous that we not only end up not knowing and not recognizing who or what we are, but we end up not seeing the world around us as it is. We are born with physical bodies, and we grow up little by little to become independent, functioning human beings, and through this long process mind develops. At some point we see ourselves not as the reality that we truly are, that we were born as, but we start seeing and believing the reality which is our conditioned mind. Our awareness of our true reality and potential is so fragile, so delicate, so pure, that even in the moment we notice it, it disappears. The moment you begin knowing you are here, the moment consciousness dawns and self-reflection starts and knowing happens, you’re gone, you’re lost. What you are, what reality is—gone. Completely gone. You cannot say that it is forgotten, because it is not really a content of your mind. It just becomes unperceived and unperceivable. A certain natural development of the mind, of our cognitive and functional capacities, is necessary to enable us to live and to function. However, this development tends to establish us in a perspective which is not an accurate reflection of reality. This perspective tends to exclude some aspects of reality and emphasize others, and the perspective that allows us to function in the world tends to become the only reality that we perceive. We take a very small part to be the whole. This loss is much more momentous than can be imagined from the perspective of conventional reality.

When there is No Loss in Letting Go of Your Point of View

There are as many variations as people. We could put those variations into groupings. One of the groupings is the nine points on the enneagram. But even within one fixation there are all kinds of variations. No two people are the same. No two people are the same, but in another sense, everyone is the same. Basically all fixations operate from one perspective. There are nine types or fixations but they all come from one point of view—of acquiring things for the self, and defending that self. When you see that your focus on your self, your separateness, your preoccupation with your personal life, are all barriers against the natural order of reality, you become more willing to be open and loving. There is no threat then about being generous. You see that generosity is our nature. There is no loss in letting go of your point of view; there is tremendous gain—yet no self gains it. The gain is everyone’s gain, the gain is for the universe. You will feel freedom, joy, fulfillment and happiness—but these feelings are not for you to possess, they are for the universe. Whenever any human being loses his point of view, the entire human race benefits. Ultimately, the work we do to understand our lives and our selves is not for us individually, but for the good of everyone, for the earth as a whole.

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