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Representational World

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Representational World?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Representational World

Belief in the Dismembered World Creates the Jabba the Hutt in Us

The problem is that this materialistically reductionist view becomes the basis for our soul to believe in the validity of its greed, its desires, its lust and aggression, its attachments and prejudices, and its negativity. Because the moment the world is dismembered, then one part can be against another part. And the problem is not only the dismemberment, but that the love that unifies is no longer there. From the purely materialist viewpoint, there is no implicit love that makes you feel good toward other people and that can overcome the separateness. And where there are two without love, there can be conflict. So it’s the belief in that dismembered world which creates the Jabba the Hut in us, and keeps us identified with that position. It supports the belief that our need for accumulation, our insecurity and our need for power and control, is all real. It reinforces the idea that you should try to satisfy these needs, because that’s the only way to support and protect yourself and achieve a state of satisfaction. So of course, most of the world believes that this is what will bring them security, happiness, contentment, and a sense of fulfillment in life.

Integration of the Totality of All Object Images

The totality of all object images are integrated into what is called the representational world (a concept introduced by Sandler). The self-concept plus the representational world constitute an overall psychic structure, what Erikson and Kernberg refer to as ego identity.

It’s Natural that We Develop the Easy Point of View . . .

If we put together all that we’ve been exploring, we can see how our representational world, what we believe the world to be, developed from our interaction with our early environment, the people in it, and what they believed. And what that world becomes is based primarily on the notion of separateness, rooted in the experience of our physical body being separate from other bodies. That gave you the idea of being separate from all the other separate physical objects around you. And soon you learned that some of the objects are called humans, and some of them are important sources of life, because they’re the sources of some kind of goodies that you need. Then you learned about other physical objects that are a source of some kind of satisfaction, and others that are sources of pain and difficulties. And of course, there’s a lot in our experience of reality that contributes to this idea of how the whole world is constructed. Yes, things do look different. Things do feel different in different places. So it’s natural that we develop the “easy” point of view, that the world is dismembered, full of separate objects, good and bad. And since you are in this physical world and have to survive in it, then of course you’ll go about getting the good things from the good places and trying to avoid the bad things from the bad places. But when we live by that perspective, we are just perpetuating and making more real to ourselves our representation of the world. Which means we continue to support a false way, or more accurately, a limited way, of viewing and experiencing the world.

Looking Through the Representational World We See Only a World Devoid of Being

The narcissistic wound that arises here is for not being seen as the source of everything, of all knowledge, understanding, love, value, preciousness, meaning, and existence. We are hurt about not being recognized as this supreme manifestation of Being, the one most worthy of love and admiration. It also reflects our own incapacity to see our true pure nature, as we are not yet realized at this level. At this juncture, we understand that believing that we are separate individuals, or autonomous entities, rather than recognizing ourselves as the oneness of all existence, creates alienation from pure Being. To take oneself as ultimately a separate and autonomous person creates the supreme wound, which appears as an abyss, an abysmal chasm, that alienates us not only from our true nature, but also from everybody and everything. This is the supreme betrayal, and the beginning of endless suffering. We also understand, here, the cosmic shell as the experience of the world devoid of its true nature, the infinite pure Being. Looking through the representational world, we see only a world devoid of Being. The quality of infinity and omnipresence of the identity at this level of experience eliminates duality. We experience Being not only as our true nature, but as the nature of everything. This means it is also the true nature of the ego-self. The pure presence of Being is the underlying ground both for aspects of Essence, and for structures of the ego-self. Both become seen as particular formations within the presence of pure Being.

Our Representation of the World Turns Out to be Empty

When we begin to experience Jabba the Hut, we’re basically getting a little deeper into our experience of our self-image and the world that this self-image relates to. We begin to experience our sense of self as empty because it’s just an image—it doesn’t have any substance. Then we also recognize that the world is empty. But again, it’s the image that’s empty, not the real world. It’s our representation of the world that turns out to be empty, just as our representation of ourself is what’s empty. An image is an empty thing; it’s nothing but a mental picture. So that’s why, when we experience our soul through the image of our ego structure, at some point we always find an emptiness in it. There is nothing there, because that’s the nature of a constructed image. And it’s the same with the world. For a long time we don’t realize that the world we’re experiencing is simply a result of the filter we’re looking through. We think that’s how it really is. And most scientists take it to be that way too. In general, scientists do not look beyond the belief that the world is composed of objects, although there are theories now which challenge that.

Seeing Through the Projection of the Representational World

When the ego individuality associated with the self-concept is finally perceived objectively, it is experienced as a kind of empty shell. One feels the presence of boundaries that give one a sense of being an individual, but one feels fake, unreal and empty of any true substance or nature. Usually this leads to the absorption of ego boundaries into the Personal Essence. However one can still perceive the world in the usual way, as real and full of significance. This means one is still not seeing through the representational world. One is still projecting this ego structure onto the real world, and is filtering one's perceptions of the world through it. The realization of both the Personal Essence and the Cosmic Consciousness now make it possible to see through the projection of the representational world.

The Representational World Seen as a Big "Cosmic Shell"

But now one experiences the ego personality as an empty shell, full of greed, lust and desire for physical pleasure, comfort, security and power. And this state is continuous with that of the world, including the physical universe, as empty, flat and lacking any real significance and value. The material which has filled this shell in the past, all the past object relations, is no longer there. And the representational world is revealed in its true nature, as empty, as a shell covering a huge, infinite deficient emptiness. Just as the experience of Being finally exposes the self as a shell covering a hole, it now exposes the representational world as a big “cosmic shell,” covering a huge “cosmic hole.” This means that without the connection to Being the world we usually see is really empty, a cosmic deficient emptiness, covered by a shell, which is the content of the representational world. It is this experience that many mystics refer to when they say the world is an illusion.

This Conventional Way of Experiencing the World is Powerful and Difficult to Penetrate

So it’s not surprising that this conventional way of experiencing the world is powerful and difficult to penetrate. It’s so entrenched and crystallized because all of society supports it, and it’s all you’ve known for as long as you’ve known anything. It’s a powerful, cemented conditioning that is very difficult to shake off. Even when we see reality as it is—a different reality in which everything is light and illumination, brilliance and love—it’s hard to keep to that way of seeing. Because something passes, the atmosphere changes inside you, and then… you’re back in the familiar “reality” of the physical world of separate objects. Having returned, you believe that you’ve just had an interesting experience, instead of recognizing that, no, that wasn’t an experience, that was a peek at true reality. We’re so convinced of the physical, materialist view of reality that we easily fall back into experiencing it, reaffirming our conviction that it is true.

Understanding the Representational World as an Issue

One cannot let go completely of the self-concept unless one let's go of the totality of ego identity, including the representational world. One cannot be the Personal Essence relating to the representational world. The self-concept will eventually reassert itself through the presence of its milieu, the representational world. But if the Personal Essence is truly integrated then the representational world will start being perceived as not the real world, and will become an issue to be understood.

We See Ourselves and the World According to Images From Our Childhood

The same thing happens with the world. The way that we see it is a reflection of our early environment, and we see it pretty much according to how we experienced our environment early on. Just as we formed a God representation, we formed a world representation, generally referred to as the representational world. And just as you develop an image of who you are that is essence-blind and therefore incomplete, the same thing happens with your internal representation of the world. In actuality, your image of yourself is closely related to your image of the world, since they form out of your experience of yourself in your early childhood environment. We see ourselves and the world through these images that formed many years ago, and so we experience ourselves and the world according to images from our childhood. This is related to the well-known psychological phenomenon of transference, in which we project images of people from our early childhood onto people in our present lives. We unconsciously see this person as mother and that person as father, with the corresponding image of ourselves in relation to them, recreating these early relationships. Likewise, we project an image of the world onto our present-day experience of it, based on our early experience. This world representation is a synthesis of many images. It is based primarily on our early experience with mother, since she was the central figure in that environment, but also includes the totality of the environment that we experienced as a child. Because of our essential blindness, our world representation is almost inevitably that of a world devoid of depth, devoid of consciousness, devoid of presence, devoid of God, devoid of truth. It is an empty shell, a projection of mother’s empty breast.

Facets of Unity, pg. 56

When You Deconstruct Your Representation of the World, the Real World Can Manifest

In the previous chapter, we discussed and explored the nature of the physical world experientially from the perspective of Jabba the Hut, from which we believe that the physical world is the source of our satisfaction. And how, if we look into that more, we begin to see the emptiness of that world and its illusory promises. Now we’re understanding it in a more psychological way. We’ve learnt that when we see not just ourself, but also that world, as an empty shell, it means we’re beginning to see the representation we have of the world. That’s why I mentioned in the account of my own experience, when I started experiencing my shell and its emptiness, that I saw it was an extension of the world. It felt like my shell wasn’t separate from the physical world. Now, it’s clear that the shell is a mental construct, so right away that told me that the whole world, the way I’d been seeing it, is also a mental construct.

But we’re also seeing that this does not mean the whole world is nothing but a mental construct and that there is no real world. It just means that the world as we know it is a mental construct. And as that is dissolved, we begin to see what the true structure of the world is, its true pattern, which exists and can be perceived. When you deconstruct your representation of the world, the real world can manifest. And that cannot be deconstructed, because the representational self is no longer there to do the deconstructing.

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