You see, when you have an issue in your life, the point is not to get rid of it; the point is to grow with it. The point is not just to resolve the issue; the point is to grow through resolving it. So, in many ways you can see that maturity has to do with this growth, this broadening, this depth.
Diamond Heart Book I, p. 137
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The process of liberation of the soul frees her from many issues and barriers. We can organize these into the following categories:
• The soul’s physical preoccupation and external orientation. This is attachment to the external, which is what the world promises her, at the expense of her depth, her true nature.
• The passions and appetites, drives and instinctual compulsions. These are the forms external orientation takes.
• Attachment in general, with its grasping and tight holding.
• psychodynamic issues and conflicts with their repression, ego defense mechanisms, and blockages. This includes the difficulties of early experience as they survive in one’s personality and unconscious.
• Self-images and object relations. These constitute the content of the soul’s identifications.
• Fixation and rigidity, which tend to characterize her views and attitudes, but most importantly her ego structures.
• Narcissism, which reflects the soul’s alienation from her true nature.
• General ego structural issues, such as weakness and inadequacy. This includes schizoid defenses.
• Precocious development.
• Underdevelopment. Both this and precocious development may characterize some of the soul’s ego structures.
• Structure in general, more specifically the need for one.
• Underlying all these categories are the fundamental issues of ignorance and duality. These are the central spiritual barriers usually identified by the various wisdom traditions. In Facets of Unity, we discriminate this fundamental barrier into nine fundamental delusions about Reality.
Inner Journey Home, p. 186
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At some point, inquiry will reveal the particular structure or structures underlying the issues. The soul will be able to see her conditioning. She can see that there is a rigid impression, a fixed structure that gives her identity, individuality, and functioning. It is then a short step to discerning the self-representation that patterns the particular structure; that is, she will become consciously aware of holding a particular self-image. By seeing the self-image while retaining the curious attitude of inquiry she may begin to see more precisely the history of this self-image, the specific object relations and their associated feelings that constituted its history. This will relieve her further from believing it is a fundamental truth of who she is. This can go as far as recognizing it as a mental image created, or remembered, by her mind. When she reaches this stage of understanding, the soul is open to who and what she is.
Inner Journey Home, p. 189
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Essential aspects are states of presence so they cannot be contained in a representation. What happens is that the ego structures and issues function as barriers to the dynamism of the soul; by morphogenically transforming her field, they prevent her from manifesting these aspects. They structure the soul in such a way that her creativity flows within the forms allowed by these structures. When these issues and structures are made transparent, which sometimes require ego regression, the barriers are not there anymore, and the inherent dynamism manifests these aspects.
Inner Journey Home, p. 197
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These are the barriers and limitations due to past experience and its repression. Conditioning is the result of impressions from the past, and tends to remain outside of consciousness, functioning automatically. Exploring psychodynamic issues reveals to the soul how many of its experiences, attitudes, and actions are influenced by unconscious conflicts, beliefs, and feelings. When one inquires into them, they reveal the related unconscious material. The soul then might recall various events in her early experience, including traumas and abuses, wounds and rejections, intolerable conflicts and deprivations.
Inner Journey Home, p. 227
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Existential issues are related to the normal limitations of being a human being living in a world with others. These issues include questions, conflicts, and suffering in relation to desire and desirelessness, gratification and frustration, intimacy and isolation, relatedness and aloneness, love and aggression, instinct and morality, limitation and finitude, transitoriness and mortality, choice and accident, meaning and emptiness, being and nothingness, fear and dread, and so on. These issues reflect the fact that the soul has both animal and essential potential, that she is unrealized without knowing it or knowing that there is any alternative. The soul lives an embodied life with its normal limitations and frustrations, which are compounded by her ignorance of her true nature.
These issues tend to arise naturally in life, especially during transitions and intense events, but they also are brought forth intensely due to the inner work. They arise especially as the soul learns to penetrate and transcend her ego structure. To follow our example, when the soul begins to see the limitation of structure and experiences herself as presence, the structure begins to reveal its nature as a mental construct characterized by past conditioning, ideas, memories, etc. The soul begins to experience an inner emptiness, a meaninglessness, a dread of falling apart, and terror of death and annihilation. These experiences of falling apart or being annihilated actually come to pass as the structures dissolve. The soul experiences disintegration and dissolution, disorientation and a loss of identity; she feels lost and despondent. These existential crises are actually elements of some stages of working through ego structures that then lead to deeper realizations of true nature, moving to timelessness and formlessness.
Inner Journey Home, p. 230
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