Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Loss of Essence
Baby's Essence is Non-Differentiated
When a baby is born, it is pretty much all Essence, or pure being. It’s Essence is not, of course, the same as the Essence of the developed or realized adult. It is a baby’s Essence – non-differentiated, all in a big bundle. As the child grows, the personality starts developing as a result of interactions with the environment and especially with the parents. Since most parents are identified with their personalities and not with their Essence, they do not recognize or encourage the Essence of the child. So, after a few years, the Essence is in fact forgotten, and instead of Essence, personality develops. The Essence is replaced with various identifications. The child identifies with one or other parent, this or that experience, and with all kinds of notions about itself. As the child grows up, these identifications, experiences and notions become consolidated and structured as the personality. The child, and later, the adult, believes this structure is its true self.
Diamond Heart Book One, pg. 3
Child's Loss of the Merging Essence
This is a subtle point but of fundamental importance in understanding the relation of the personality to essence. Whenever there is any loss of the symbiotic union, the dual unity with mother, the child experiences the loss of the merging essence. To repeat, this is because for him the merging love aspect of essence is he and his mother together. That is what he is aware of when there is merging love. He is not introspective, so he is not aware of the presence of this aspect of essence from an observer's point of view. He is enjoying the merging love but sees it as the undifferentiated union with mother. In his mind there develops, at the primitive level of his ego, the association of loving proximity with the mother to the merging love of essence. Whenever this proximity, this symbiotic unity, is not there, the merging love of essence disappears. This satisfying symbiotic unity can be lost for many reasons: rejection by the mother, distance from her, frustration by her, too much clinging from her side, physical or emotional abandonment, actual loss, to mention a few.
Consequences of the Loss of Essence
The loss of essence, the repression of the subtle organs and capacities, the shutting off and distortion of the subtle and energetic centers, and the overall resulting insensitivity, all lead to a general but devastating loss of perspective. The individual no more knows the point of life, of being, of existence. He no longer knows why he is living, what he is supposed to do, where he is going, let alone who he is. He is in fact completely lost. He can only look at his personality, at the environment that created it, and live according to the standards of his particular society, trying all the time to uphold and strengthen his ego identity. He believes he is not lost because he is always attempting to live up to certain standards of success or performance, trying to actualize the dreams of his personality—yet all the time he is missing the point of it all. It is no more the life of being; it is only the life of the personality, and in its very nature it is false and full of suffering. There is tension, contraction, restriction. There is no freedom to be and to enjoy. The true orientation toward the life of essence, the orientation that will bring about the life of the harmonious human being, is absent or distorted.
Deepest Cause of Internal Conflicts
The deepest cause of all conflicts of the personality is the loss of essence. It is not childhood programming; childhood programming leads to the loss of essence. It is this loss that is the greatest deficiency. From this perspective, we see that depth psychology itself has a hole, a deficiency. This deficiency is the absence of essence in its understanding. The essence here is not only one element of the personality's conflicts, it is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Without this biggest piece, without this missing element, the puzzle can never be solved and completed.
Essence is Lost Aspect by Aspect
Because essence has various aspects, and different aspects dominate at different times and have different functions, essence is lost aspect by aspect. It is true that essence as a whole is gradually lost as the personality develops, but we see within this overall process many specific processes, when various aspects of essence go through varying vicissitudes until they are finally lost. Each aspect has its own process and goes through its own vicissitudes, until it is finally buried. The total of all of these smaller processes make up the whole bigger process of the loss of essence. We observe that the aspect of love, for instance, goes through the vicissitudes of waxing and waning until it is finally dimmed and lost. And we see that this process is different from the processes that essential value, or will, or compassion, or emptiness go through. We see that certain aspects are lost before others. Some aspects are lost abruptly and some are lost gradually. The point we want to make here, which no other system or tradition has emphasized, is that although essence as a whole goes through a process of dimming and eventual loss, specific essential aspects have different processes of development and varying vicissitudes. The environment affects essence as a whole, but it affects the different aspects differently.
It is Not Easy for a Child's Essence to be Suppressed
We will see instead that it takes a long time, with very powerful influences opposing it, for Essence to finally recede and be buried… The fact is that it takes a hostile and contrary environment, continually and mercilessly rejecting, ignoring and hurting the being of the child, for years on end, before it succumbs to suppression.
Loss of Essence in the Child
The newborn baby is mainly in the state we call the Essence of the Essence, a non-differentiated state of unity. At about three months, the baby is in a “merged” state, which is necessary for the development of the relationship with the mother. After the merged state, strength develops, then value, joy, the Personal Essence, and so on. But, of course, because of interference from and conflict with the environment, this development is only partial. Every time there is painful trauma, there is a lessening of a certain quality of Essence. Which quality is affected depends on the nature and the time of the trauma. Sometimes our strength, sometimes our love, sometimes our self-valuing, or compassion, or joy, or intuition, are hurt, and then, eventually blocked. When a quality of Essence is finally blocked from a person’s experience, what is left in place of that quality is a sense of emptiness, a deficiency, a hole.
Diamond Heart Book One, pg. 47
Parent Personality Leads to Child's Personality
Regardless of how loving the parents are toward their children, if the personality is the center of their life, the same will happen to the children. They will end up with personality being the center, Essence being buried.
Parents Inevitably Suppress Their Child's Essence
The child’s Essence is always misunderstood, ignored, or rejected, and frequently insulted, trampled and hurt. We are not referring to isolated traumatic experiences only. We mean almost all of the time, in all interactions with the environment and the people in it... We see here the plight of the child - his loneliness and isolation and the hopelessness of his position. For the child is still the Essence, and regardless of how much the parents love their child, they are bound to misunderstand and suppress his being, the Essence. Adults are mostly personality, and no matter how much they try, they will misunderstand and hurt the child’s Essence.