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The Point of Existence

The Point of Existence

The Point of Existence describes the underlying spiritual basis for the common understanding of narcissism, which is the experience of a disturbance in the inner sense of self and the resulting need for constant reflection from the outside. This vulnerability in the inner experience of identity arises out of a basic separation from the essential presence which is the source of a true sense of self.

The question of the nature of the self and its relation to Being or the Divine has long been explored by philosophers, mystics, and religious thinkers. Among those who have seriously entertained this question, there has developed a generally accepted set of answers, which of course cannot be conveyed in neat, easily comprehensible statements. In The Point of Existence, the exploration of the process of the realization of the self is informed by those traditional answers, and by the methods through which they are achieved. In addition, this book clarifies the relationship between the different approaches of these various traditions and the question of the nature of the self.

The question, “What is the self?” is also being asked by contemporary psychology.

In this book, Almaas focuses on the identity of the self, which is related to a particular aspect of the self which he calls the Essential Identity, and describes in detail how issues of narcissism are related to this identity. Understanding and integrating this aspect of the self (which in other work he has called the Essential Self) is a central factor in the capacity of human beings to come to a complete appreciation of their true nature and the nature of Being. In particular, this aspect allows one to recognize oneself as presence or Being, or even as emptiness, in deepening dimensions as the process of realization continues.

Available at Shambhala Publications or most book retailers.

"Almaas's The Point of Existence is a supremely original and unique work at the interface of spirituality and psychoanalysis. It will be of immense significance for anyone involved in a spiritual path. The promise and challenge of this work for both transpersonal and psychotherapeutic orthodoxies is immense. It will be studied and debated by psychologists, spiritual practitioners, and theologians for years to come." -Harry Hunt, author of On the Nature of Consciousness

"Almaas has given us a powerful unfoldment of a new field of study. This pioneering work renders outdated both the psychologist's traditional avoidance of deeper dimensions of experience and the mystic's dismissal of psychology. Almaas's tour de force is must reading for anyone who is seeking a more profound understanding of human experience." -Sherry Ruth Anderson, co-author of The Feminine Face of God

"Almaas is one of the most significant voices for a new and remarkably integrated spiritual vision. His work connects the personal, the universal, the psyhcological and the spiritual not as pieces put together, but as the inseparable mandala of the sacred the we are. I respect his work to the highest degree and commend it to anyone interested in living the life of the spirit" -Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"A.H. Almaas is an astute and brilliant explorer of the common ground of psychology and spiritual development. Almaas provides a much larger and more satisfying framework for understanding the quandaries of self, identity and the resolution of narcissism. He shows how the universal narcissism of everyday life is an incomplete stage of development that can only be overcome through realization of one's deepest, most essential nature. This is a book to study, to contemplate, to live with, and to use as a guide on one's journey." -John Welwood, author of Love and Awakening





Part 1 Self-Realization and the Narcissism of Everyday Life
Chapter 1  Dimensions of Self
Chapter 2  Self and Self-Realization
Chapter 3  Self, Essence, and Narcissism
Chapter 4  The Spectrum of Narcissism
Part 2  Views of Self and Theories of Narcissism
Chapter 5  Self and Self-Representation
Chapter 6  Self-Representation and Narcissism
Chapter 7  Kohut’s Bipolar Self
Chapter 8  Dynamism of the Self
Part 3  Identity: Ego Structure and Essence
Chapter 9  Identity
Chapter 10  Functions of Identity
Chapter 11  Disturbances of Identity
Chapter 12  Identity and Essence
Chapter 13  Essential Identity
Chapter 14  Essential Identity, Essence, and Narcissism


Part 1  Characteristics and Development of Central Narcissism
Chapter 15  Manifestations of Central Narcissism
Chapter 16  The Development of Narcissism
Chapter 17  Factors in the Development of Narcissism
Chapter 18  Specific Environmental Factors
Chapter 19  The Process of the Development of Narcissism
Chapter 20  The Truth of the Grandiose Self
Chapter 21  The Phases of the Development of Narcissism
Part 2  Essence and Narcissistic Transferences
Chapter 22  Meaninglessness and the Flame
Chapter 23  Idealizing Transference
Chapter 24  Narcissistic Helplessness
Chapter 25  Support and Being
Chapter 26  Essential Origins of Idealization
Part 3  Transformations of Narcissism
Chapter 27  The Need to Be Seen
Chapter 28  The Mirror Transference
Chapter 29  The Empty Shell and Fakeness
Chapter 30  The Narcissistic Wound
Chapter 31  The Great Betrayal
Chapter 32  Narcissistic Rage
Chapter 33  The Great Chasm and Black Space
Chapter 34  Love in the Transformation of Narcissism
Chapter 35  Realization of the Essential Identity


Part 1  The Developmental Spectrum of Narcissism
Chapter 36  Individuation Narcissism
Chapter 37  Oedipal Narcissism
Chapter 38  Oral Narcissism
Part 2  Dimensions of Self-Realization
Chapter 39  Pure Being
Chapter 40  Nonconceptual Reality
Chapter 41  Absolute Truth
Chapter 42  Nondual Presence
Part 3  The Essential Identity in Spiritual Traditions
Chapter 43  The Stillpoint in Christianity 
Chapter 44  The Atman in Hinduism


Appendix A: C. G. Jung and the Spiritual Dimension of Self
Appendix B: The Ultimate Nature of Self in Spiritual Traditions
Appendix C: Levels of Conceptualization
Appendix D: Essence and Narcissistic Libido
Appendix E: The Bipolar Self and Ego Structure
Appendix F: The Optimizing Force of Being in the Self
Appendix G: Understanding and Experience
Appendix H: Gradual and Direct Approaches to Self-Realization

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