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Metabolism (Psychic Metabolism)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Metabolism (Psychic Metabolism)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Metabolism (Psychic Metabolism)

Capacities Needed for the Later Stages of Psychic Metabolism

Spiritual practice is primarily the cultivation of presence, understanding, awareness and surrender. These are the capacities needed for the later stages of psychic metabolism. Awareness and understanding are needed for the purification of ego identification. Presence and surrender are needed for the process of absorption itself. One learns to be open, vulnerable and present to one’s experience, in order to allow effective metabolism. This means that one learns to be in direct contact with one’s experience, which in turn requires the presence of the Personal Essence, which is the aspect which can make such direct contact without defensiveness. Thus, when one is realized as the Personal Essence, metabolism becomes a natural, spontaneously occurring process. Effective metabolism leads to the realization of the Personal Essence, and the Personal Essence, in its turn, makes metabolism a natural process of living. The life of the Personal Essence is a continuing, ever-expanding process of integration and individuation./p>

For Psychic Metabolism to be Complete It Must End in Being

In the advanced stages of the journey of inner realization, many experiences involve this process of absorption. Such experiences, as far as we can tell, do not occur at the initial stages; if they do, the steps are not so clear and definite. They require the capacity to drop all defenses of ego, the capacity to recognize Being and the capacity to distinguish it from ego states. To actually experience absorption, one must be aware of Being directly, so it is understandable that the process of absorption has not been conceptualized by object relations theory, which has set its task as the study of mental processes and representations that are normally accessible to everybody. The five observations we listed in Chapter Eleven point to the possibility of this process of absorption, and the direct experiences of it show the reality of it. Our conclusion is that the process of integration of ego, which Kernberg says begins with introjections and ends with the formation of ego-identity, does not necessarily have to stop at the fixation of an organized structure of identifications in the psyche. In other words, psychic metabolism of experience does not have to end in the mind. For such metabolism to be complete, it must end in Being. This is what explains the process of true inner transformation, which now can be seen as the completion of ego development, to the level of the essential person.

Object Relations Theory Utilizes the Concept of Psychic Metabolism But with a Few Partial Exceptions Restricts Its Application to the Content of the Mind

We are presenting here a perspective that is supported by a wealth of experience—in fact, by all the spiritual experience of mankind—that inner integration can go beyond the mind, and into the realm of Being. Our goal here is not to demonstrate the truth of this spiritual experience, for this is humanity’s common knowledge, but to demonstrate in detail the relationship between this experience and ego development. The connecting factor is the development of the Personal Essence, which is both personal and within the realm of Being. In contrast, object relations theory utilizes the concept of psychic metabolism, but with a few partial exceptions (such as the work of Michael Balint and Fairbairn) restricts its application to the content of the mind. Most writings indicate that when early experience is metabolized it becomes integrated into the structure of the ego. Since this field does not include the concept of Being, it does not take into consideration what we consider to be the ultimate goal of ego development. Thus ego development is seen as occurring in a completely different realm from spiritual transformation, which is not addressed at all. These assumptions are what underly the mistaken belief in the gulf between the man of spirit and the man of the world. The Personal Essence can be seen as the integration or absorption of personality into Being, as the synthesis of the man of the world and the man of spirit. However, it is more accurate to see it as the ultimate product of ego development. In other words, ego development and spiritual enlightenment are not two disjoint processes but parts of the same process. The understanding of the Personal Essence shows how they are linked. This point is a radical departure from the understanding of both traditional spiritual teachings and modern psychology. It unifies these two fields into one field, that of human nature and development.

Requirement for the Aspect of Space During Psychic Metabolism

The aspect of Space is related to the Personal Essence in yet another, more specific way. It is one of the aspects needed for an important part of the process of psychic metabolism, i.e., that of elimination. We have seen that for metabolism to proceed to its completion, which is absorption, the false in any experience must first be eliminated. The greatest falsity, in any identification system, is the central belief that the image defines who one is, The content of identification systems is either part of an image, or used to build and fixate an image. So the elimination of image amounts to dissolving all of what is false in the mind. The truth contained in the mind becomes absorbed into Being, and does not remain as an image, which is a mental content. And since Space is what dissolves, or what accompanies the dissolution of, any image, then it can be regarded as the aspect needed for elimination. When an image is eliminated the mind becomes empty (of its content), clear, spacious and light. This is the experience of Space, mind with no content, the nature of the mind. The dullness of mental content dissipates as the lightness and clarity of Space penetrates it.

Understanding the Psychic Metabolism of Experience

The understanding of the psychic metabolism of experience seems to imply that human realization goes from the development of ego, to the realization of the essential aspects with the Personal Essence as the central aspect, to enlightenment on the nonpersonal levels of Being; however, the realization of the nonpersonal aspects does not involve abandonment of the personal and other aspects of Essence. In fact, the Personal Essence goes through another stage of development as its relation to the nonpersonal aspects is understood and metabolized. It becomes the personal actualization of the nonpersonal aspects of Being.

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