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Excerpts about Separation

Complete Disengagement from the Mother

However, when one experiences oneself as Being, one is no longer the self-image. One’s sense of being a human individual is now based not on the internalized self-image, but on pure beingness, beyond all images of mind. This means that this new sense of oneself is not in relation to mother’s image. It is not dependent on past object relations, and is not a reliving of them. This is the autonomy of Being, that we discussed in detail in a previous chapter. The mother’s image is completely irrelevant to this sense of being oneself. It is in fact in a completely different dimension of experience. One is living on the Being level, while mother’s image and all mental representations are on the mind level. These representations are experienced as mere thoughts, concepts, images and of no fundamental reality. The disengagement from the mother in this experience is complete, utter. One feels no relation to the memories of mother or her image, in the sense that one’s sense of identity is completely independent from both. The experience of the mental representation of the mother is seen as completely alien to one’s experience of Being, as if from two different universes of experience. So the separation involved in the experience of Being is complete, total, and profound. Ego never feels such separation, regardless how separate and autonomous it is on the mental sphere. It is a different order of separation. Ego separation is like a distance on the surface of the earth; while Being separation is like going to another star system. In fact, it is more like dying. And many individuals respond to it as a kind of death.

Phases in the Process of Separation

1. Confusion and conflicts about separation and individuation. The confusion is due to not being able to see herself as a separate person. This usually leads to vagueness about identity or self. It is difficult for the ego to have a sense of self when there are no clear and stable boundaries that separate it from the object.......... 2. Feelings of frustration and negativity. The feeling of frustration is the specific aspect that characterizes the negativity in the nondifferentiated representations resulting from negative experiences during the symbiotic stage.......... 3. Besides the fact that it is a natural response to, or development from, frustration, anger seems to be one of the main ways that individuals attempt to separate. Anger gives the individual both a sense of strength and the energy needed for the movement of separation. In anger, one rejects the mother, or at least the negative interaction with her, and thus creates a distance from her..........4. Assertive strength is what actually makes it possible to separate. What is needed is strength and energy that allow one to feel that he can exist on his own, without the mothering support of the object. Anger must give way to the assertion of one's strength and expansive energy, and is often the way to it. Although the process often starts with anger, in the cases where separation actually succeeds, it always ends with the sense of expansive and assertive strength...

The State of Separation

" is a state of fullness that is characterized by the following properties: It is a Presence, a beingness. It has a sense of strength and power. The strength is not felt as characterizing one's body or sense of self, but is the Presence itself. This state of Essence is the Presence of Strength... The sense of Strength has a feeling of energy in it. It is an energetic sense of power, a sense of compact excitation and aliveness. This gives it a feeling of being active, although it is actually a Presence, and not an activity. The Strength as a result, feels assertive or aggressive in a positive way... It has a sense of largeness and expansion. One feels energetically big, as if one's energy and Presence is much larger than the dimensions of one's body. Capacity: when this aspect of Essence is present one feels able... The actual affect of this state usually has a feeling of heat. One feels hot all the way through, with a sense of fire and redness. This again indicates its energetic quality.

True Separation is the Realization of the Strength Essence

Just as true individuation is the realization of the Personal Essence, and not the separate individuality of ego, so is true separation the realization of the Strength Essence, and not the separation of ego boundaries. It is amazing when, time after time, a student will be having all kinds of emotional conflicts about separation, but the moment the Strength Essence is present in the experience the conflicts will evaporate, leaving a sense of strength and separation. There is a sense of separation, and a capacity to separate, without a sense of boundaries, or a need for them. One is the Personal Essence, which is Being, and one can see clearly that boundaries are only mental constructs. The issue of boundaries as it relates to separation and individuation is a very deep and subtle one, which is not resolved till later in the process of essential development.

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