Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Regression
Ego Regresses, but Not Back to Essence
Unlike essential aspects, the ground presence of essence is not a momentary manifestation. It is a timeless presence, beyond stages of development. It is always present, eternally our true nature. It is present in childhood and adulthood. The question is whether we directly perceive and recognize it. Ego structures obscure it and obstruct our consciousness from recognizing it. The earlier structures tend to do that more because they are the more fundamental scaffolding for ego. In other words, our disconnection from this ground happens earlier, generally speaking, than the disconnection from essential aspects. When these structures are penetrated, their obscuring and obstructing influence is reduced or ended and we simply become aware of our true nature. This is not a regression to our true nature, for it does not make sense to view timeless presence within the context of time. It is present even when the ego structures are obstructing us from perceiving it. As we see, the question of regression is not a simple one, because essence is a different category of experience than the content of ego structures and their memories. Ego regresses, but this regression is not back to essence. We do not leave essence back in childhood, for it is outside of time.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 197
If the Self Regresses Essence is Not Retrieved
It is true that the ego-self regresses as it goes back in its developmental history toward more primitive established forms of structuring her experience and identity. In the inner journey, however, this is not a complete regression, because the work of inquiry happens in the presence of essence. In other words, one continues to be present in the moment even though part of one’s consciousness goes back in time to earlier structures and their associated experiences. Even if the self regresses, essence is not retrieved as part of an earlier structure, or through a memory of earlier experiences. The structures themselves and their associated historical content are retrieved this way, but not essence. For this reason a frequent sequence of events is that a particular essential aspect will arise in consciousness, before one deals with a specific structure related to it. This experience then precipitates a regressed state of the soul in one of her early structures.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 196
In the psychodynamic process of understanding the personality, one undergoes a regression which proceeds through the following major steps: Disidentifying with parts of the psychic structure leads to the experience of deficient emptiness. The deficient emptiness leads to the experience of space. Space leads to the awareness of Being
The Void, pg. 129
The Deeper and More Fundamental Foundations of the Structured Soul Happen to be the Earlier and More Primitive Structures
We discussed in the last chapter that ego structures cannot capture essence in their representations. In fact, we have seen that this is one of the factors leading to the soul’s dissociation from her essential ground. Therefore, we cannot retrieve essence by going to earlier structures, for the structures do not contain essence. Nevertheless, when essence reveals itself on deeper dimensions some of the barriers tend to be earlier and more primitive structures. In other words, we need to go back to these earlier structures because they happen to be the barriers to, and not the carriers of, these deeper dimensions of essence. This is partly because deeper dimensions of essence challenge ego structures in a more fundamental way. They challenge the ego-self’s deeper foundations. The deeper and more fundamental foundations of the structured soul happen to be the earlier and more primitive structures. Another reason is that as more of the surface structures are penetrated, the soul will revert to earlier structures to shore up her overall structure. However, this does not imply that the soul did not experience these aspects or dimensions of essence at those earlier times. Even if she did, the work of realizing essence is not regression to earlier essential states, even though the process may include such regression.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 196
Three Regression Processes
1. Grandiosity: This is a regression which is an attempt to return to the feelings of grandeur and omnipotence that characterizes the practicing period of the separation-individuation process. ....... 2. Negative merging: This regression is an attempt to regain the omnipotent comfort and support of the good merged state, characteristic of the dual unity of the symbiotic phase; in other words, it is an attempt to regain the loving support of the Merging Essence.......3. Isolation and detachment: This regression is an attempt to regain the sense of differentiation and strength characteristic of the differentiation sub phase. This defense gives the individual a sense of isolation which is actually an extreme sense of separateness. This happens when one feels too inadequate to be present and still feel separate, reflecting the absence of the Strength Essence.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 373
The merging Essence is repressed at the symbiotic stage of the process of ego development. At this stage, the ego has not developed as a separate entity on its own. Regressing to this stage means the ego must regress to the form it had before it developed into a cohesive entity. Of course, this will arouse the ego's fear of loss of cohesion, loss of integration, and loss of its object status. In fact, the person must experience and tolerate the disintegration, which, if understood, will turn out to being nothing but experiencing himself as empty space.
Understanding the Personality
The material we have presented so far indicates clearly that in the psychodynamic process of understanding the personality, one undergoes a regression which proceeds through the following major steps:
1. Disidentifying with parts of the psychic structure leads to the experience of deficient emptiness.
2. The deficient emptiness leads to the experience of space.
3. Space leads to the awareness of Being.