Main Pages

By Region



Object Relation (Central OR)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Object Relation (Central OR)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Object Relation (Central OR)

Ideal Object and Central Object Relation

So let's further explore this central object relation. The central object relation is a relationship between the central ego, the core, or the central part of the soul to what is called the ideal object or the ideal other. The object here is ideal in the sense that the object, the parent or the teacher or the teaching or the school or the breast, whatever it may be, is comforting, satisfying, fulfilling, nourishing, supporting, and giving. The ideal object is not absolutely idealized. We need not think the ideal object is perfect. The ideal object is simply good, in a normal, everyday kind of way. For a long time, the student relates to the teaching, the school, or the teacher as the ideal object. They relate to that ideal object through the central object relation. That object relation will have to be exposed because it is not reality. You are still living through an internalized object relation. You are still living through a mental structure. You are still living through images, through a projection. You are still imagining reality as something that is not the way it actually is. Because you are living your life from a false perspective, there will never be true realization. Realization will not take hold. Transformation will not be effected in a fundamental way. Any experience you have will be a part of that object relation, which will make you forever dependent on that object relation. 

Overthrowing the Central Object Relation Brings About the Dark Night of the Soul

The more you experience your teacher or the school as giving you what you want, nourishing you, telling you what you need to know, the more you get into that dependent position. The more the teacher doesn’t push you to be independent, the more you identify with that positive object relation. That’s why the perspective that I’m presenting now, of being grown-up, mature, and independent, will challenge that object relation. You might feel, “Do I really have to go out and do it all myself? Why not just be taken care of? Why not just get all the understanding, the nourishment, and the blessing that’s available and things will be okay?” The central object relation can be enacted with any ideal object. The ideal object could be your teacher, the school, the work; it could be Essence, God, the truth; it could be your husband, your wife, your child, your job. Any of these can become the ideal object that gives you a sense of support, nourishment, inner ease, and comfort. Any of these could make you feel secure in the world. No true realization happens until you throw away that safety and feel insecure. That security will have to be shaken until you feel complete insecurity. Overthrowing the central object relation, sometimes referred to as the secure attachment relationship, brings about the dark night of the soul, which we discussed earlier, the terror of the moment, the true situation. But even the dark night of the soul is an indication that the understanding of the Basic Fault is not complete. With complete understanding of the Basic Fault, you realize that eliminating false security does not mean you have to feel perpetual terror. The central object relation is basic in the sense that it dominates our experience of the world. When something disrupts the central object relation, you resort to the rejecting or frustrating object relations. When things are fine, you come back to the central object relation, which is the basic condition of humanity. There is nothing unusual about the central object relation, nothing pathological about it. It’s what we call normal. It is normal. Normal and average and ordinary, but ultimately not real. If you want realization, you have to understand the central object relation.

Source of the Central (Fulfilling) Object Relation

The good relationship that you had with your parents also constitutes an object relation. Each of us had moments of relating with both parents and, at the deepest level, with the breast that were not so conflicted. Without this fulfilling object relation, you wouldn't be here. You wouldn't have survived physically and emotionally. And, of course, this central positive object relation is hardest to see, although it is there and you are enacting it all of the time. Usually we can’t see or pinpoint the central object relation for what it is until we deal, to some extent, with the other more painful object relations. The central object relation is typically not painful. In fact, we usually experience it as normal and non-conflicted, or even as good and fulfilling.

Student Re-enactment of the Central Object Relation

The central object relation mimics the relationship with the breast when you have been nursing for some time—your belly is getting full and feeling relaxed, your cheek is against the warm breast, and you begin to doze. That ravenous fire of passion is gone. What remains is security and contentment. Everything’s just fine. The breast does not necessarily look all wonderful. It’s just a nice, normal breast. The breast is not idealized through the frustration. The lack of satisfaction is what makes you idealize the object. The exciting breast before you consume it is idealized, but the real breast as it nourishes you loses that shine. Although it’s not all that yummy, it’s not bad either. It has milk and is soft and warm. That nourishing breast is called the ideal object because it’s the good mommy that comforts and takes care of you, it’s the good daddy that supports and listens to you, it’s the friend, the teacher, or the God that sees and understands you. Ultimately, the student re-enacts the central object relation with the good teacher or the good work. So for a long time the student is satisfied sitting there with mouth open to receive the teaching. When the teacher says, “Get to work,” the student responds, “Where’s the breast? If I go, I can’t eat any more. I have to go and get my own food? That’s terrible. I’m abandoned and alone.” You experience the disruption of that object relation as the loss of that comforting and nourishing other. Another way we hold on to the central object relation is to re-enact it by identifying with either side of it. On one side of it, you’re the little kid, relaxed and happy, with Daddy and Mommy around, your teacher or God taking care of you, essence pouring into you, and you’re feeling content. The loss of that object relation will be like the loss of the breast. On the other side, you could be the giving, nourishing breast, and see other people as needing to be taken care of and nourished and supported. Understanding this perspective means also the loss of that position. To be a real human being, mature and down to business, means that you can’t only be that nourishing, giving breast, doing everything for the other person. You could lose the central object relation from either end. In both cases, the loss of the object relation means the loss of the comfort, the connection, the security, the support, the nourishment, the fulfillment, and the love that is the chief effect of the central object relation.

The Main Structure that the Inner Work of the Diamond Approach Addresses

The process of working through the primitive structures of the animal soul and the soul child requires that all three object relations be understood all the way to the clear, embodied experience and understanding of essential aspects related to them. We have not discussed the process of working through the central object relation, but this is the main structure that the inner work of the Diamond Approach addresses. To work through it means to render transparent its constituent self-images, which entails dealing with all the major ego structures. This involves working through the (normal) ego structure of being an autonomous individual with a unique identity. The autonomy structure is the subject matter of our book The Pearl Beyond Price, and the identity structure is the subject matter of The Point of Existence. Working through these ego structures leads to the self-realization of true nature and its individuation in personal life. The two primitive object relations become clarified, and then are integrated into the clarified central object relation. More accurately, the soul develops into a mature and full soul, who experiences and recognizes essential presence as her nature and identity, but can also embody this realization in life, with her essential power and her rich, overflowing heart in harmony.

Working with the Central Object Relation

Working with the central object relation brings up some kind of aloneness. But the aloneness is not so terrible because it is not complete. Because of the Basic Fault, the basic separation from reality, the central object relation is usually not lost totally. The object relation changes from being the fulfilling object relation to being the empty object relation. Suddenly the breast, instead of being full of milk and nourishment, shrivels up and becomes empty. So you’re not entirely alone, but you’re left relating to an empty breast. The breast does not disappear. The other person does not disappear. The work does not disappear. Rather, these things continue to exist but don’t give you what you want. They don’t defer satisfaction like the frustrating object or refuse satisfaction like the rejecting object. It’s more like the teacher or the teaching or the school or the husband suddenly hasn’t got it anymore. The breast is dried up. Nothing comes through. God is not delivering the goods. And they’re not delivering the goods not because they’re bad, but because there’s nothing there, they’re all out. 

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach