The child cannot try to defend against his experience in the present moment and at the same time remain in touch with his present essential nature. Thus, all ego defenses, necessary though they are for the psychological balance of the inadequately cared-for child, contribute to his disconnection from his essential core, and thus to his narcissism… Not only defenses, but many kinds of structures develop in defensive ways. Some ego structures actually develop specifically for defense, for example, those which constitute the schizoid character. In attempting to avoid dealing with very painful object relations the child defends by isolating himself from his felt experience in general. This defensive detachment isolates him not only from his emotions, but also from his essential Presence, characterized by vivid affects and qualities of aliveness. If he were in touch with the essential Presence, he would lose his capacity to isolate himself from his emotions, because the Presence would open him to his present experience, whatever its content. (The Point of Existence, pg 187) From our perspective, however, just as it is known in psychoanalysis that some identification systems are defenses against other systems, or against id impulses, they (all identification systems) are usually defenses against the various aspects of Being. Being is always there; it is what we are in the most fundamental way. That it is not in conscious experience indicates the presence of defenses against it; it becomes part of the content of the unconscious. And any identification system taken to give the individual a sense of self or individuality is bound to function as a defense against Being because Being is who one is, it is the true self.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 138
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The moment you become aware of the vicious cycle of the activity of defensiveness, you will see clearly that what you have been rejecting is yourself, and that the rejection is useless and unnecessary. Then you will relax and stop. The complete perception of this cycle is the stopping of the wheels. Then the personality is dissolved by clarity. There is clarity because there is no movement in the personality separating it from Being.
Diamond Heart Book IV, p. 12
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As children, we were open and delicate and gentle, which meant that we lacked hardness, we lacked defenses, and we lacked a shield around us. But when we felt exposed and afraid, we learned to build those shields to protect ourselves, to defend ourselves from the environment around us. So now, as adults, we continue to put up walls and shields to stop the environment from affecting us. In order to protect ourselves from outside dangers, we stop ourselves from feeling vulnerable by closing down our own feelings, our own sensations, our own imagination.
The Unfolding Now, p. 50
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Defenses have become so institutionalized, so much a part of our character and personality, that at some point we don’t recognize that they are there. They have become part of our internal structure. But in our attempts to protect ourselves from real or imagined danger, our awareness becomes diminished. That is because being completely aware would mean being aware of all the things that scare us or might hurt us or that we are ashamed of. So we defend against them and stop being aware. Much of the time, we are defending ourselves against reality; and it is not against reality as much as it is against our own experience. The implication for our practice is that we can recognize and understand this and be aware that we will encounter these things as we continue to practice being where we are.
Inner Journey Home, p. 51
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