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Otherness

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Otherness

All that Is Extrinsic to Our Basic Nature

Not being empty of other refers to the predicament in which we experience ourselves with all sorts of added accumulations that are not part of our true nature. For instance, our love is not other, but our belief that we are unlovable is. It is a learned construct that we have come to believe. Our ideas and beliefs are not intrinsic to us. What is other to us is the identification with the constructs and the ideas that pattern our experience, that are not part of the presence of true nature. And those beliefs and identifications are part of what we work with when we investigate the self. They are memories and impressions from the past, patterns and dynamics that recycle and repeat old object relations and tendencies. In time, we learn that they are extrinsic to our basic nature and that we can be without them. This is why, at some point, we experience them as obscurations, obstacles, contaminations, or impurities. When we experience ourselves empty of other, empty of those accretions, we are free to recognize the immaculate quality of our nature—its presence, its luminosity, and its stainlessness.

An Approximation of Real Personal Interaction

In other words, one has to be a real person, and perceive the other as a real person, as who he actually is, for there to be a real personal interaction. Otherwise, the interaction, although it feels personal and even intimate, is but an approximation of real personal interaction. And when one sees through one’s identifications with past object relations one becomes acutely conscious that this approximation is fake. One is shocked into the realization that his personal contact and consideration have always been vacuous, constituting nothing but the replay of past object relations, or the replay of an organization of those object relations. One was not making contact with the other person, and was not really considering the other person. He was considering somebody else, in fact, only an image of a person, an image which is not even an accurate image of the person he is interacting with.

In Most Relationships the Other Person is Someone to Make You Feel Good

Then we proceed to project mother onto others, and try to get their approval so they will love us and help us. That is one of the main motivations for sex, for example. Sex is a physical discharge. We charge up and then discharge; so sex mostly becomes an attempt to discharge our tensions and pain. We can see how deep the motivation for sex is, rooted in the beginning stages of life. It is like wanting your mother to come and feed you and make you feel wonderful, or wanting her to help you spit up your milk. By now you have no confidence that you can do it yourself because of all your blockage. So, it’s always, “If I can just find Prince/Princess Charming, then I can discharge all my tensions and everything will be fine.” In most relationships, the other person is someone to make you feel good. If they make you feel good, you love them. If they make you feel bad, you reject them. Usually we want the other person to regulate us. When you build up tension, you say, “I love you, let’s make love.” It doesn’t mean that sex can’t have other motivations like true love and appreciation, but most often there is a compulsion from accumulated tension and a desire for discharge.

Seeing Self and Others as Islands

There are as many islands as there are people in the world, and you believe that your self, your island is separate and distinct, not just from other islands, but from the rest of the universe. If you examine what you do, won’t you see that you are continually involved in this island, modifying it, rearranging it, reorganizing it? How aware are you of other islands? Not very. Your awareness of other islands is colored, even determined, by your concerns about how to protect and enhance your island. There is no true interest in the other islands for themselves. When you think of another island, it’s how to get something from it, or how those other islands are blocking your view. The reference point is always the self. Every feeling, thought, every action, every decision, every plan, every complaint is related to that self. This point of view is so common that most people don’t think about it—what else could it be? That’s how life is. Life is all these islands trying to be the best or the worst, depending on what plans you have for that island. Sometimes there are wars between the islands. Sometimes there are friendships. But both wars and friendships happen from the perspective of the island, with reference to you—what you’ll get from it and what you won’t get, what you like or dislike about it, how it makes you feel and your opinions about it.

When There is a Sensitive Consciousness of the Other

So contact involves not only openness and vulnerability, but, also, the presence of a sense of Being. One is open, vulnerable and present. However, the reader might object that this is the condition of the presence of any aspect of Essence. Whenever Being is felt as presence there is necessarily some openness, and a measure of disidentification from ego and its defenses. This is true, but this does not yet make for contact. The presence of a state of Being means the presence of pure consciousness, in any of its absolute forms. This means there is awareness, sensitivity and openness. There is a sensitive consciousness of the other, an empathy and an appreciation of the other’s existence. In these states, one might be very accurate in one’s perception of the other, and observant of his state. There might be tender love, warm kindness or even joyful interaction. But this is not necessarily contact. Consciousness is not necessarily contact, although it can make possible sensitivity and empathy with the other. Although Being is necessary for contact it is certainly not sufficient for contact in its unqualified form. For there to be contact, the Personal Essence has to be present. Contact implies personal contact. It implies a being in contact with another being.

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