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Representational World

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Representational World

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.

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.

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

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