Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Separateness
All Life Cooperates to Make One Body
We are not separate. We are a network. Just as you have cells and organs in your body which cooperate to make a harmonious entity, all life on earth, all forms of life cooperate to make one body. Our individual health will contribute to the health of the whole. This is why the more open you are, the more willing you are to be loving and to serve. This comes from recognition that we are one being. It's no longer a question of giving. It's a flow -- a flow from one cell to another for the health and maintenance of the whole organism.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 146
Creation of the Sense of Separateness
It would be a mistake to assume that the mere perception of having physical contours creates the sense of separateness. The sense of separateness is created by the formation and maintenance of ego structures, which are cathected; i.e., held onto with emotional (libidinal) energy. This can be clearly seen in the many cases in which there is a distortion in the body image, indicating that the image is a mental structure and not an objective perception. [For more on this subject see our book The Void.] Without these structures there is no sense of separateness. Some aspects of
Being involve perception of body contours without those contours bounding the sense of presence Ego boundaries are experienced as a film or thickness around the body, because their reflection in the body is a surface tension. This subtle contraction, which is characteristic of all identification systems due to the presence of the defensive element, is experienced in different states of hardness, or thickness, depending on the degree of tension, like any other physical tension. It becomes particularly hard or thick or rigid when there is anxiety regarding it. This happens particularly when one becomes aware of the possibility of its dissolution. The extreme anxiety about loss of boundaries causes the surface tension to increase, which makes it easier to perceive. To believe that one’s boundaries coincide with the external contours of the body indicates that one has not only cathected the body, but also has decathected Being. Belief in ego boundaries involves the conception that one is primarily the body.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 397
From the Perspective of True Nature, all Manifestations of Reality are Neither Separate nor not Separate from Each Other
Because we ordinarily experience ourselves as beings in the world of objects and other beings, the issues around separateness are central to being human. When we arrive at the experience of unity, the experience of nonduality, the question of being separate or not separate moves to the foreground. Not being separate is equated with awakening, and being separate is a marker of duality and the experience of the ego self. But as we become more familiar with true nature, we recognize that separateness or not separateness is not relevant to true nature. That question is relevant to individuals who experience separateness and then the erasure of separateness. From the perspective of true nature, all manifestations of reality are neither separate nor not separate from each other.
The Alchemy of Freedom, pg. 171
Separateness is a Barrier Against Reality
When you see that your focus on yourself, your separateness, your preoccupation with your personal life, are all barriers against the natural order of reality, you become more willing to be open and loving. There is no threat then about being generous. You see that generosity is our nature. There is no loss in letting go of your point of view; there is tremendous gain -- yet no self gains it. The gain is everyone's gain; the gain is for the universe. You will feel freedom, joy, fulfillment and happiness -- but these feelings are not for you to possess, they are for the universe. Whenever any human being loses his point of view, the entire human race benefits.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 145
Separateness is a Belief
When you see that you have a point of view and allow it to relax, let your mind relax, love will emerge spontaneously and you will see that you are not separate, you will experience directly that we are all individual expressions of the same thing, different parts of the same thing, of the unity and wholeness. On the most basic level that is how things really are. There is no separateness. The separateness is a belief you have which keeps you cut off from the natural outflow of love.
Diamond Heart Book Two, pg. 144
Separateness is the Perspective of the Basic Fault
The Basic Fault is the perspective of separateness, and the resolution in all spiritual traditions is oneness and union. There is nothing new in that. The theistic traditions talk about union with God. The Buddhists talk about it in terms of dissolution of the self. Other teachings call it nonduality. It all amounts to the same thing. The resolution of the Basic Fault is that separateness does not exist. This belief in separateness is the most basic dilemma, the central spiritual problem. If the notion of separate existence does not dissolve, spiritual transformation has not truly happened.
Diamond Heart Book Five, pg. 277
Soul's Anguish at Her Separateness from What She Truly Loves
The soul’s increasing realization of her essential nature spontaneously puts pressure on this structure of separating boundaries, illuminating it and causing the soul to feel an exaggeration of the sense of separateness. One of the ways this inner pressure manifests is that the soul begins to feel constricted, even though she is deeply in touch with her essential nature. She feels limited in a way that causes existential suffering. She longs to be completely essential; she yearns to melt into the sweet juices of essence; but whatever she does, whatever practice she engages in, whatever attitude she takes, nothing works. She feels trapped inside her own skin while she strongly intuits, and frequently knows from direct experience, that her real condition is complete release and total marriage to her beloved, the truth of essence. She is filled with tears and deep sadness for not being in the carefree condition that she knows is her potential, and pained with the anguish of separateness from what she deeply loves. At this point the soul may reach depths of despair about ever being released from the trap of isolation; whatever inner efforts she makes only dig her deeper into this dilemma. Eventually she begins to see the futility of doing anything to free herself, even the spiritual practices of meditation, prayer, concentration, contemplation, inquiry, attention, and so on. Whatever she does is her own individual action, exercising her own will and intention, and it is becoming clear that this is an expression of the dilemma itself. It is all based on her own individual desire. To desire is to be the individual she is, to long and yearn for her freedom is to be the same limited person, and it is this individual that does the spiritual practices and works on herself. This separate person is, in fact, the same individual who wants to surrender, and because she wants to surrender she cannot; for by wanting it she is being the individual who turns out to be inseparable from the separating boundaries of ego.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 271
The Resolution of Separateness
The resolution of the separateness has to do with going from ego to non-ego, from individual to cosmic, from human to divine. We realize that our deeper nature is God itself. Realizing divine nature means not being an individual; it means being totality, universality, infinity. Nothing is excluded from your sense of self. You realize then that whenever you talk to someone, you are talking to yourself. True love, true compassion, and true generosity arise now because there is no separation between you and the other. You could still feel yourself as an individual who sees how you are unique, but you know too that you are fundamentally connected. At a more intrinsic level, that separateness is not there. The moment you go from ego to non-ego you experience not only that you are one with all human beings but that you are one with everything. You realize that the consciousness that has been compacted within boundaries has no boundaries. It is everywhere. Consciousness is the basic substance and nature of everything. The truth you realize, then, is that who you are is not the product of your childhood, is not your body, is not a sense of limited individuality. You are something that is everything, and you are seeing now the nature of everything, not only on the essential level, but on the level of Being itself, on a non-differentiated level, a non-separated level.
The Sense of Separateness is an Important Aspect of the Sense of Identity
The first body-image contributes to the self-image, especially in its demarcation from the outside. It contributes to the sense of separateness of the self. The second body-image contributes to the self-boundaries more in terms of a feeling of self, and not as much to the sense of separateness. Of course, the sense of demarcation and separateness from the outside contributes, in turn, to this feeling of self. The sense of separateness is, in fact, an important aspect of the sense of identity. Both self-images (or as Mahler calls them above, “intrapsychic structures”) ultimately generate, and in fact form, the sense of identity. So we see here that the sense of self has in it two kinds of self-image (two kinds of self-representations) and two kinds of body-image, forming the nuclei of the self-images. We have seen that this multiplicity is a result of the body having two sets of boundaries, inner and outer. Another factor leading to this multiplicity or layering of self-representations is the process by which this sense of self is developed. We have seen that the ego-identity develops as a result of the separation-individuation process, and also that this process has two distinct lines of development—separation and individuation. The line of development of separation is mainly related to the external body-image and its corresponding self-image. The line of individuation is connected primarily to the internal body-image and its corresponding self-image. Of course there is no clear-cut distinction between the various images, and no clear linear and causal connection. This whole picture of the personality is general and approximate. It is however, sufficient for our understanding of the various grades of emptiness.