A Unique Understanding of Separation as not Separate

Navigating the Incomprehensible Paradox of Dark and Light

The most mind-boggeling reality of human life for me has always been the capacity for unimaginable beauty and incomprehensible cruelty simultaneously. This image below is a photo of a creative experiment. I was intrigued by dismantling the idea of picture and frame. I was playing with de-entifying the idea of ‘a picture’ on the wall stuck in ‘a box’. The frame, the mount and the set-back space for the image became part of one artwork. I super-imposed the white circle as a visual invocation of the totality of existence. The text very much indicates that oneness is one, meaning, it doesn’t exclude anything. How does that make sense, though? How can absolute horror and absolute bliss be one?

“One Responsibility”

A lot of horror takes place within the human realm that is completely unjustifiable to the human heart. I am absolutely certain, that if humanity was in touch with greater reality as one life as a whole, we would not inflict so much harm. Because it would literally hurt too much. To the heart there is no justification for war and genocide, for torture, for global exploitation, for racism, the suppression of women, the entitlement of the patriarchy, for slavery, for ecocide, for human trafficking or for child abuse, to name only some of the major sufferings of human making. Humanity tends to create unhealthy mechanisms of power, control and suppression over parts of their own and other species, that some persons or groups feel entitled to.

“A Broken Heart”

Every occurrence of conflict in human life, comes down to the same type of power struggle as far as I can see. Again be it personal or global, conflict occurring is a sign that there are parts of human nature that are rejected and projected. For instance the need for dominance or superiority is a sign of a buried feeling and fear of inferiority. Feeling inferior on the other hand tends to hide a need to be special, hence superior. This may sound very simplistic, but what else could be at the route of racism for instance or gender discrimination, apart from the polar-opposite sentiment to what is presumed? ‘Just being’ simply isn’t concerned with polarities of superiority and inferiority, worthiness and unworthiness.

“This and That”

One could call these polar-opposites ‘power-dynamics’, created by a projection into an external other and nurtured by the individual or collective unseen patterns of separative beliefs. The more aware we become of this, the more we feel how the global chaos of unlove breaks the heart. The amount of unsustainable imbalance of power and powerlessness that has become the norm is unbearable. The grief of heart-brokenness is an incredibly powerful and transformative medicine, that can turn personal and collective crisis into opportunities for tremendous and true positive change. I am absolutely certain that an open-hearted humanity living in the understanding that life is one, will find completely new ways of being and create a wholesome, thriving and sustainable, global culture.

In the current individual and global displays of fighting, dominating or suppressing the apparent other, it is the energy of the apparent other that ultimately gains strength. This is because any attempt to eradicate any so called enemy just creates fuel for that energetic form to transmute and multiply. It doesn’t matter if we fight so called ‘viruses’, so called ‘terrorists’ or our own anger. This is what becomes evident, when you see the universe as one intricately connected energy process, not a space full of separate things.

This is why ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’ does not promote any sense of war-fare on any level. The sense of unification against an enemy of any type is not true unity. True unity is always all inclusive. There are only reflections of one living being. So the invitation is to embrace with openness and curiosity whatever is present, be it your own fears or rage, be it a person’s action you find difficult to be with, or be it a global conflict.

“Once Upon a Time”

When the patterns resulting from personal or historic events are fully seen without any judgement or self-judgement, great transformation can occur.  Most significantly, we can learn to conduct the intensity that comes with them, without making them into a thing of I and other again. When not even the darkness is an enemy anymore, we begin to see that all of life is run by lessons given by the higher intelligence of one being. But this understanding only occurs if life is given over to that process of energetic recognition of what is. Then we can experience any circumstance from beyond the slice of experience, meaning we are taking in the whole picture of a situation, and don’t have to act from a narrowed down and threatened point of view of separation.

The more we are one with any process, the less resistance and friction there will be. Walking right through deepest fears and feeling them out to their depth of despair without agenda allows the eventual seeing, that really these tough and painful experiences are also orchestrated by the one life itself, not just the spiritual opening of infinite love and being, we tend to assign to the realm of oneness more easily.

I began to remember fragments of lived experiences in other bodies, countries and times from my mid-twenties onwards. This has helped me to see what type of beliefs the body carried, because of certain, often very traumatic experiences and deaths, that are part of the ancestral inheritance I am transmuting. I noticed that I tended to recreate less intense versions of the same trauma in this life. I noticed recurring themes. The memories were stored in the body and created intense physical sensations and subsequent reactions to various life situations, that were destructive, yet supported me in learning to see them for what they are. So in this understanding there is nothing in life but medicine and guidance and teachings.

And this is how I saw that the more freely the enquiry allows for any finding, the clearer it becomes, that the lesson at the end of any process is not just the intelligence of Life but Love also. Love is the source of darkness and Love is the source of Light. This can not be understood conceptually though. It will be an intuition at first and then become a real walking right through it, finding the same light at the end of what may appear like an endless dark tunnel, and there is again the Light of Truth and Infinite Being that has been there all along. Truly you are all of that: All possibilities for embodied experience, the dark, the light, the tunnel, the vision of infinite beauty and the vision of infinite despair. What is there to fear, if there is only you?

The poem ‘Acceptance’ puts that into words:

“Acceptance”

The ‘Spiritual’ Trap

I love the poem ‘Acceptance’, because it counteracts the possibly sneaky spiritual identities we may attempt to form.The more spiritual and knowledgeable and understanding we think we are, the more we will attempt to fool ourselves that we are very spiritual when we are actually just covering up, that we feel deeply unworthy with new beliefs about ourselves. For instance, I recently discovered, that I began to hold a belief, that somehow those people who tend to be more aware of feeling unworthy, are more easy going than the ones who tend to be more entitled. Entitlement often comes with aggression as the sense of unworthiness needs to stay hidden. And it is hard to tell someone who wants to hang on to feeling special and superior that these are just patterns. However the person who openly tends to believe that he or she is not worthy of love may seem easier at first to uplift. However the generally unworthy type is in denial of the flip-side of the pattern: of having to be special. As far as I can see, that unseen special person can be just as tricky to handle as the one who is overly glamorous and not seeing their hidden lack of self-worth. Conveniently of course I would place myself more inclined to be on the unworthy side of the spectrum, so without noticing I sneaked in an opportunity to feel superior. The lesson here is to become sensitised to the details of beliefs we are forming in reaction to challenging experiences, and how they may play into whatever appears to be an aid to a certain preferred identification.

Especially in spiritual circles I have found a lot of need to prove how spiritual we are. That can be a very tricky disposition, because we will use spiritual practices primarily to perfect an ideal self-image whilst pushing the real patterns present more and more under cover.

Here is a creative writing and visual experiment to bring humor to grandiosity in spirtual communities that leads to behaviours that are very conventionally about blaming and pointing fingers, but pretending to be a great spiritual process:

The video above touches upon how spiritual language can be misused to solidify a grandiose sense of separate self. It demonstrates how the belief that ‘we have done our shadow work’ can be a perfect protection, preventing any real enquiry. I will only briefly touch on this subject, but I find it phenomenal how spiritual or psychological tools, methods and theories can be misused. Anyone can call themselves a spiritual mentor or a healer, and I have come across very distorted behaviors in some of those I have met.

It is my observation, that as long as we attempt to make the separate self ‘whole’ and ‘holy’, we will begin to use language to the advantage of our preferred ‘spiritual self image’: Suddenly control and blame can easily be disguised by ‘setting boundaries’, by claiming that ‘someone is triggered’, that ‘there is a trauma bond’, that ‘someone has attachment issues’ or that ‘someone speaks from a hurt part’, that ‘you are that type of person in the enneagram’ and or that ‘a person is toxic’. I have come across all of these types of generalisations in people who did not want to take responsibility for their actions and behaviours and how they impacted on others. I am not saying that verious models to help understand ourselves can’t be useful, but as long as there is a model there is generalisation and a possibility for it to be abused. We end up forming static beliefs about ourselves, and try to tell others who they are. Often I find that the same people who make a big deal of sounding humble and emphasise being in service to humanity also tend to find it not spiritual ‘to have regrets’, or ‘to feel sorry’ for anything they did. So excessive humility is sometimes nothing more than a ‘spiritual’ sounding cover-up for entitlement.

My sense is that often spiritual capacities and gifts begin to develop in a person, whilst the patterns are still what they are. I felt like a fake for many years, during that time in my life, and experienced a painful divide between who I was in spiritual practice and who I was in every day life. When people are not aware of this divide then there is often a stark difference between someone’s public spiritual image and behaviours in private. It is the heart that will align all parts of us to non-separate reality. I felt such liberation when I felt I was finally becoming one person: open to show myself as I am, in the beauty I can share and in vulnerability regards the patterns that are present.

I also want to point out the danger of acting ‘too sacred’. What can happen is that the practice of ‘Embodied Oneness’ can become stuck in some sort of fake piousness and white-washed language. Megan Rebecca, an amazing poet is refreshingly straightforward in describing her deep heart impulse and her resistance simultaneously.

Megan Rebecca reciting one of her powerful poems

She embraces her frustration with communicating the heart in poetry with the very heart she feels frustrated by, which makes this communication most delightful.

The use of swear words in this poem is beautiful and liberating, real and authentic.

So when I say: “be authentic in what is alive in you”, I really mean that. It is that authenticity that nurtures the heart. What I also love about Megan’s poem is, that the reality that not even separation is separate from all of life shines through it.

A Powerful Self-Enquiry

In the last couple of years I spent significant time enquiring into separative patterns in myself, affecting me in a limiting way.

I found that the wounds in our humanity can be healed in a unique way, when we are able to see them as patterns of learnt separation, disconnection, or withdrawal from full participation in life-as-one-life. I am talking here about tangible energy that is literally perceivable, rather than thought-based understanding of what is happening.

collage and drawing from my early twenties

Withdrawal is not just a conceptual idea that is verbalised. It’s an energetic activity in the body. It is real and it creates effects in the energetic field of what is. As the image above illustrates, separation is a field of oneness also.

One could say that withdrawal from life itself is like seeing and being a vast and multi-dimensional picture of the incomprehensible totality of existence, to then contracting into the narrow tunnel vision of point of view. We are suddenly defending a corner -reacting from impulses we may not understand- instead of being able to respond with feeling and consideration. Then again we may react to that reaction, either with justification or self-criticism. The more we begin to feel whole-bodily, that we are transmitters of energetic communication always, the more we understand that we are creating complex life situations when we are not true to what is happening on an energy basis. What I mean by energetic communication is a capacity to tangibly recognize an event beyond it’s apparently objectified context in space-time. When we stand aside from the content of a situation and experience it purly energetically, we can suddenly see and feel dynamics of polar-opposite activity taking their course: withdrawal and clinging, expansion and contraction, pushing and pulling within our own process but also mirrored in relationship patterns.

digital montage “Love knows”

The patterns and belief-systems that are passed on through generations are sometimes not noticeable to us, as we are so used to them being active in our lives that we can not see them. We have made them into what we believe is our identity. Often people speak of the subconscious and unconscious. I want to avoid these terms, because I feel they may create a belief that we do simply not have access to certain parts of ourselves.

My personal impression is, that we can gain access to all of who we are over time, simply by deepening the capacity to comfortably, easefully and whole-bodily flow as life itself. That capacity becomes intensely attractive over time. Naturally the various layers of self-protection, that may prevent us from seeing underlying mechanisms of behaviour begin to unravel. When the capacity of loving embrace of anything that comes up increases, profound insights arise in a very direct way and gradually separative patterns loose their power over us. But for that to happen we need to embrace and understand them, without indulging in them more than necessary.

As I said, when we are in the belief of separation, we tend to constantly strategise how to get by in a threatening world, ultimately how to survive. And we will have learnt various ways, believing these are the best for survival. What I find fascinating to observe is, that often we may take several, contradictory routes of action without noticing.

For instance if you feel challenged in some way and use wording that is correct and polite, but energetically there is withdrawal and dissociation, then reactions will happen to the dissociation, no matter how apparently correct the wording was. That is, because what happens energetically effects everything, no matter if we are aware of it or not. Complex dynamics and polarisations begin to unfold, without us realising. Currently the word ‘toxic’ is very popular. I hear people identifying ‘toxic people’ and ‘toxic relationships’. We will learn more about the danger of generalisations and objectifications of such a kind as they simply create walls between our self image and what we are really doing and prevent the deeper enquiry that is needed to move beyond manifesting such patterns.

This is why the self-enquiry I propose is based on increasing energy-reality recognition, starting by enquiring into thoughts and feelings and the sensations in our body, that are likely at the source of them. The more openly we can enquire into what is happening in our bodies, and consequently emotionally and in verbal thought and communication, the more exquisite flow of life will happen as who you are. It may not be possible for you to enquire from the foundation of non-separate reality straight away. If there is a lot of thinking it will be crucial to first establish more and more capacity to be in embodied incomprehensible being of the totality of existence and in the beginning it will be enough to know and trust, that you are that, even when you can not tangible recognize that to be the case.

supportive model for self-enquiry, first stage:
incomprehensible being shines through the maze of patterns
supportive model for self-enquiry, second stage: incomprehensible being is the foundation of enquiry

The way we can enquire into separation via physical sensations, emotions and thought patterns from the foundation of self-as-one-being is phenomenally different to any approach for personal transformation, where we will look conceptually at replacing the idea of ‘unworthiness’ with ‘self-worth’ or so called ‘poverty consciousness’ with an idea of ‘financial abundance’, or where we learn to reclaim ‘our creativity’. Conventionally we tend to create different entities, ie awareness and then some sort of I that observes the ‘inner child’, or learns about the ‘shadow’, or the ‘inner critic’, or your ‘pain-body’, to mention some vocabulary in reference to healing painful patterning I have come across. These type of considerations can bring a lot of insights of course, but also lead us to create a whole bunch of complex internal relationships between different parts of what we see as ‘our self’, and give us a sense that we need to do so much work, before we can be ‘the person we are meant to be’. This can put a lot of pressure on ´us´ to ‘improve ourselves´. For instance we need to move from feeling unworthy to feeling worthy. But really we are just attempting to replace one separate self idea with a more desirable one in an effortful way. We may then attempt to add mindfulness or loving kindness to our practices, which are powerful practices, but if it is not deeply explored who the ‘I’ is, who is practing, we can potentially be missing and covering up more and more of our true nature which is fully and mysteriously present as exquisite and all-pervading Love, abundant creative capacity, ecstatic humour and deep fearless feeling and compassion. True being as life itself is totally indescribable in profundity and effortlessly available. The more we try to create the person we want to be, rather than being who we are, the more likely we are to teach ourselves to ignore and push away the patterns we don’t want to manifest as, which means that they will begin to surface in ways we do not want.

Let’s have a look why it is really important to enquire into any suggestive language we may not quite fully resonate with. For instance I wondered, why the concept of the inner child jarred with me. Surely it is useful to enquire into our childhood? Then I realized that I personally really need to make the difference of exploring childhood perceptions rather than the inner child as such, objectifying some earlier identy of ‘myself’.

I actually have memories from very early childhood. I remember the bright lights in the hospital when I was born, which I found highly uncomfortable, I remember sitting in a doll’s bed thinking that I can still just stretch my legs out in it. I also remember realising that whoever experiences ‘Eva’ is the same, no matter what age I am. So there is no inner child for me really. What there is though, is childhood understanding of life, that helps me to consider separative patterns which have formed from this early life understanding.

Similarily, I personally have troubles finding a definition for the word soul that really rings true to me. Often I feel it is used to solidify an energetic identity that somehow travels as a unit. To me that doesn’t feel true, as I only see separative-self patterns ( that are constantly changing and transforming) and infinite being. There is no solid identity at all in this seeing. When I studied the origins of the word soul, I found it in the bible. I discovered that the original word it was translated from in Hebrew, literally meant the breath of god. I found this very interesting as it would be very difficult to control people imbued by the breath of god, whilst it is a lot easier to control people who believe that their soul needs saving. So my recommendation is to really always enquire into any terminology we may use to describe ourselves, that we may tend to take for granted. Interesting insights can arise from that.

And I personally do not recommend building any separate spiritual identity to better cope with life,

instead I recommend:

Dare to be ultimately unknowable

whilst embracing everything you manifest as

and the heart will fill up the empty space

you have become.

If we start with the foundation that there is one reality, then it is not ´us´ working on ourselves anymore. There is a freedom for a natural process to occur organically. There is no search. There is just the practice of embodied one being and the organic unfolding of seeing and lovingly embracing the mechanics of separation, that will find their natural ways to the surface, by life being the teacher. There is an effortlessness and an openness to whatever is authentically arising and to what the outcome would be, if every limited idea of who you are is being embraced and transmuted.

The separate self idea is fear

revelation – drawing

The drawing to the left demonstrates powerfully, how we may create a separate self-image and superimpose that over other separative patterns. We tend to be deeply scared of many of those and hence create a split between them and the image of us we want to have. We can easily dissociate from our own behaviours and from what they teach. The aim is to bring non-judgemental curiosity towards every mode of separation that tends to arise -and thus unentangle the various seemingly internal and external conflicts and battles we may be accustomed to. There is a message in the particular ways we get upset or angry about things that happen and how we subsequently react and treat what we call ourselves and others.

When I began to enquire into the various separate states of being I tend to manifest, I found that they are connected to endless beliefs about how the separate self stays safe in a threatening world. As the separate self is seen as identical to the physical body, it is perceived as just as vulnerable.

Whenever ‘I as the body’ feels not safe in life, I automatically attempt to control something I believe to be outside myself and that had to be a certain way to make me feel safe again. Especially if the self-protective mechanisms that comes up is a feeling of powerlessness. That could be an external circumstance or the behaviour of another person for instance. But our separative attempts to gain control don’t necessarily keep us safe from harm. Instead they often create more of what we don’t want and keep us ‘safe’ from expressing and being the depth and radical beauty that truly is. That does not mean that I endorse passivity or letting ‘others’ do with or to us what they want. Instead I find that the understanding of one life opens up creative solutions to polarised dynamics instead of just slotting into fighting the corner of the opposition.

During the Embodiment as the One Heart explorations here with local students a practice has emerged that we find very powerful. It emerged from experimenting with challenging separative patterns and the poem we experimented with in the first module. It helps to embrace whatever arises, instead of reacting to it. If you want to dive deep into the realm of fear with me, it is a good idea to first pracftice the embracing of fear, pain, despair, anger, sadness and so on, as demonstrated in this video:

Now with the capacity of embracing everything, we may feel ready to identify some undeniable, inevitable and potential threats, that the idea of separate self as the physical body faces, and please understand that the list below may in fact trigger fears or memories, and that the directness of this consideration may be challenging for you. So feel free to either skip this list of fundamental fears, until you feel the time is right, or work with it with the help of the practice with the poem ‘When there is Love, there is Love alone’. You can download the poem here and print it out so you can practice with it:

Fundamental human fears:

The fear of annihilation: sudden death, death by terrible disease, murder, car crash, accident, old age or death penalty

The fear of something horrible happening: being raped, beaten up, burgeled, kidnapped, stolen from

the fear of being forcefully removed from one’s home, family or tribe, via exile, war, natural disasters, break-down of families or human trafficking

the fear of being stuck in a terrible place for eternity, or a long time without a way out ( hell, torture, prison, death row, kidnapping, a bad job, poverty, a terrible disease, disability, an abusive relationship)

the fear of wrong conviction, being accused of something one didn’t do and suffering consequences we can not prevent

the fear of loosing a loved one, child, intimate partner, spouse, close family member, a pet we love, our home and objects we love, for instance valuable items or objects we have a connection with

the fear of terrible suffering of any kind for ourselves or people we love and no power to change that

the fear of causing someone suffering or death

the fear of being betrayed, exploited, used by a loved one or anyone else

the fear of being poor, powerless, not able to feed oneself or one’s loved-ones

the fear of attracting hatred by being rich, beautiful, or talented and successful

the fear of being alone

the fear of failure and not being good enough

the fear of being beauty and depth and freedom of being

the fear of not being in control and the unknown

It may be useful to spend some time with this list considering what your biggest fears currently are. How do you attempt to protect yourself from the situations you fear? I have decided to consider fear in such detail, because the more clarity we have about what our fears are, the less we may end up reacting to them via self-protective mechanisms without knowing that they are the cause of what we are choosing to do or believe.

Once we genuinely enquire into any form or situation we feel challenged by, there is usually fear underneith anger and sadness. Once the protective mechanisms holding a lid on particularily intense fears and painful memories in the body step aside, the beauty and power that really is can begin to emerge through the cracks in the maze of separative dynamics. The less we identify with being a separate self the more capacity we build to be with intense pain in the body and we can begin to see it as medicine for transformation.

Being ‘in peace’ and ‘as peace’ comes with acceptance of what we find and with the understanding that there simply is one being experiencing every separative pattern re-acting. Once we see the oneness within our own multitude of expressions, the true healing of the intra-personal sense of separation can begin. At that stage what had seemed to be an internal and external process (intra- and inter-personal) begins to also merge into the seeing of one reality. This is where the practice of Embodiment as the One Heart becomes truly liberating. When we see the totality of the picture, the oneness in separation, that is where the practice begins to transform lives, as we learn to see the most difficult life situations and conflicts as gifts for positive, mutually empowering change.

I can not emphasize enough how important I consider the total and utter acceptance of all of our various separative states and reactions. There is no ‘bad’ emotion. Every state of being is medicine and guidance if we learn to enquire into it, instead of either indulging in it and reacting to it or withdrawing from it and suppressing it. For instance I have come across the popular notion to eliminate shame in so-called conscious communities. Of course no-one thrives living perpetually in shame. However if someone tends to be entitled in their behaviours and then believes shame is a bad thing or ‘unspiritual’, then the medicine of shame that can rebalance harmful courses of actions can not fullfill its purpose of teaching self-regulation. Also anger, rage and hatred are feelings we tend to see as negative, however these feelings are messengers, saying usually that we are ignoring something that is important to feel and express and take action on. So I am advocating for acceptance, that everything we feel is significant.

There also can not be ultimate safety, as long as we identify as being separate. The less sense of separation there is, the less intensely we prioritise and react to the constant withdrawal into self-protectiveness, attempting to undermine a constant and exhausting underlying sense of threat.

I often come acoss the idea that one day you just won’t feel anger and sadness and fear anymore. For many years I thought ‘enlightenment’ was something like this. So I ran to blissful experiences and away from the hurt. But when there is a real practice we actual begin to feel more intensely. The more capacity we have to hold space for pain, the more we loose the fear of intense feeling. Anger, pain and sadness are very different without the idea that a separate ‘I’ experiences them. What we then experience is simply powerful physical sensations that are just arising.

Diving into detail

Let’s take a closer look at mechanisms of self-protection, the forces of withdrawal into separative activity -based on beliefs about who we are or what is true or not-, which are rooted in the physical body. When we see repeated habits of withdrawal from being as one life into the game of ‘I and other’ in a particular way, we can call this a separative pattern. Habitual, protective withdrawal-mechanisms are usually transferred or created by family, intimate and other human relationships or cultural contexts. Also within relationships and cultural groups there are separative patterns. We can feel a connection with someone, and then bond via a ‘mutual enemy’, either in personal relationships or within cultural groups. In these we find agreements to normalise all sorts of types of presumed separation. There are ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ dynamics and so on, but in this course we will primarily focus on the patterns within ourselves and personal relationships:

There can be separation from parts of our body, which creates separation from challenging feelings and memories and subsequently separation from various talents and abilities we can develop once we know about them. But most of all we tend to live in utter separation of being the reality of no-separation. Often the patterns we are lived by feel very complex, but once we understand that all they can do is create and get stuck in various dynamics of energy in motion, we can choose actions that resolve rather than perpetuate them. We then can see clearly and allow the hidden treasures underneith to come forth. These can be relational and self-care abilities, vulnerability, talents, openenss, psychic capacitis, mutually empowering solution finding and of course most of all the embodiment and creative expression as no-separation.

Sometimes self-protection is a necessary part in the integration process when the identification with the separate self begins to loosen, but sometimes it is simply a habitual reaction to life, that covers up what is really there. Over time we can learn to distinguish between the two.

The most obvious separative patterns are what is classically identified as an emotion: anger, fear and sorrow for instance. On a subtler level we can separate via feeling numb, dissociated or confused for instance. Let’s first establish a definition for feelings and emotions that aligns to the reality of no separation:

Let’s look at some of the many patterns that can manifest in self-protection: in the diagram in the right I mention numbing activities, that can be choosing to eat a cake, smoke a cigarette, or have a glass of wine for example to cover up numbing feelings like dissociation, discomfort, confusion, feeling disoriented, sleepy, and /or numb. Underneith the numbing feelings we often hide sadness, anger, guilt, shame, grief, rage, lust for revenge, hatred, powerlessness, hopelessness and despair.

I also consider various exhilarated states of being that we would potentially see as desirable as mechanisms of withdrawal: like the temporary sense of satisfaction or distraction we may experience from having bliss-full, but fleeting spiritual experiences. So separative patterns are often what we consider very uncomfortable, but they can also be addictively pleasant. As long as there is an ‘I’ having an experience, there is separation and a limit and some deeper process in hiding. There is a sense of either wanting to cling to, or withdraw from specific experiences and chances are high, that we end up in denial and projection, creating manipulative, exploitative, entitled, controling, blaming and degrading dynamics to avoid feeling what is really there, preventing the truth to shine freely.

In the video below I am playing with the beauty of one life and the expression of withdrawal into separate self, there is no story and no content, the film just communicates the energetic play. The sense of separate self is reflected in the amazing statues by the artist Andrew Wood. I wonder how the images affect you, may be watching this film brings up feelings disguised in thoughts, or just feelings, emotions or sensations in the body?

“To my Beloved” – video

The Maze of Separation Tool Kit:

My son was recently distraught about loosing with his football team several times in a row. I said why don’t you just identify with all of football of all times at once? His answer was “Mum it doesn’t work that way.” But speaking from my own experience, this is exactly how it works:

The Cyclical Nature of Perpetuated Pain

To help with the maze of patterns and reactions, that tend to occur in life, I have created some visual tools to support my self-enquiry. It can be hard to figure out what is going on in the middle of a reaction to a challenging situation. Especially when there is a reaction to a reaction, and more reactions to that. It becomes impossible to see how things started. To me visuals are always helpful to identify the underlying agendas of any tense and challenging life situation. I created a diagram that demonstrates the process of oneness in the cycle of perpetuation of pain within the idea of separation. To keep the whole cycle in view in a charged situation helps me to move beyond attack and defence or victim and perpetrator dispositions. We all shift around that cycle, playing different roles at different times. Every stage in the cycle is always embedded in the freedom of ´no I and other´. I want to point out that the one of the most important things to accept is that we don’t only suffer consequences from negative events happening to us, but that we also hurt and create serious damage in others. There tends to be a lot of denial about that. There are so many courses that deal with ‘healing from trauma’ these days, but how many coures are there that deal with the trauma we have passed on? I do feel that ultimately it may be much harder to really accept how we may have impacted negatively on others than how others have negatively impacted on us. In any case that will be very difficult to do as long as there is a belief in a separate self.

diagram: “The Infinite Cycle of the Pain of Separation”

At the beginning of practicing ‘Embodiment as the One Heart´ we may feel often very identified with the different stages of the cycle of perpetuated pain, but if we begin to be able to identify them as occurring within the reality of one being, we are already closer to being able to see and enquire and open back into the freedom of one life and one universal heart. The perpetuation of pain I speak about is very literal pain. Usually all these stages in the circle above come with highly uncomfortable physical sensations, as the root stage of the withdrawal from life happens physically. Also feel free to add different stages in the cycle that resonate with your process, for instance particular physical sensations in particular circumstances, or change the wording to fit your patterns and frameworks. The first stage of the model of self-enquiry we discussed earlier is also helpful in this consideration.

The cycle mentions the loss of the sense of safety, belonging and dignity. These three terms are very useful points of enquiry in and of themselves, as they are fundamental needs to be met in. When there is a sense of instability in any of these, withdrawal from life and disconnection, as well as attack and defense are likely to kick in, as we will attempt to protect our core needs.

The cycle of pain can be perpetuated within oneself, with a so-called other person, or occur in collective patterns. To me it is helpful to identify different stations in the circle in various situations to stay in seeing the bigger picture, rather than withdraw into separate point of view, from which I am likely to fall into self-protection.

Similarly if someone else acts in a way in relationship to you, that you experience as hurtful, but doesn’t want to acknowledge that, you can possibly identify the denial of the intense way of causing harm, whilst also enquiring into physical sensations that may come along with feeling shaken in your sense of safety, dignity and belonging. Further you can look at what that person said as a message from yourself to yourself. The video at the very end of this module will show you how to embody this playfully. All these proposed processes can then support you in seeing the whole situation, rather than identify with one particular role at any given time, which will inevitably de-escalate any potential conflict situation, and lead to transformational insights. As you may be able to tell, the way I approach self-enquiry is multi-dimensional. Here is another way of exploring separative patterns:

The Game of Superiority and Inferiority

As we have considered earlier, the game of superiority and inferiority can take very creative forms in the context of spiritual development, but to me the same patterns appear with and without spiritual context. When we look at the complexity of separative patterns and the multitude of different forms they can take, it can look impossible to solve all the many world issues in question. But the more I have done this enquiry into separateness, the clearer it appears, that really at the foundation of all separation is just one and the same pattern, no matter what form it takes: human suffering that occurs between an apparent I and other is based on fear turning into a need for control. The susequent dynamics then result in unhappiness of all possible kinds, small scale and large scale. Neither being in control nor being controled brings happiness.

Let’s look into English language as a carrier for information again and highlight how it is based on defining the ‘I and other’ via subjects and objects and the movement in-between. We already have a system that presumes not only separation, but also a realm of superiority and inferiority as soon as we speak. Often what is valued as a subject is seen as superior over the object.

We then tend to abstract life into objectifications, so we get a vast range of beliefs that are de-sensitised from the feeling nature of all of life. Desensitisation or dissociation then leads to a sense of entitlement for exploitation. The capacity for humans to place beliefs of superiority and inferiority on top of the idea of ‘I and other’ supports endless distortions and cruelity. Language solidifies such beliefs: using vocabulary like ‘beef’, ‘pork’ and ‘livestock’ makes animals into consumer goods, words like ‘weed’ and ‘pests’ discredit life as invaluable.

The ‘enemy’ is a brilliant term to make soldiers forget that they are killing fathers, brothers and husbands, sisters, mothers, wives and sons and daughters. If we really allowed ourselves to let this sink in, meaning, if we would really feel the reality of what we are doing in our bodies, I would boldly suggest that no one could ever go to war.

When we want to feel entitled to own a person, we conveniently create a legal term for it: we call them a ‘slave’. We create the label of ‘white supremacy’ and the idea that there is such a thing as an apparent white race, that clearly is not factually white skinned, yet somehow believes to oppose and ´supercede´ all people of apparent colour. Also the term ‘colonialism’ sounds a lot nicer, than theft of whole countries and their resources, or murder and enslavement of their populations. Genocide is excused with ‘the inferior value’ of any particular group of people and the idea that they are not ‘like us’, and therefore don’t need to be treated ‘like us’. The same happens in patriarchal entitlement. Somehow a man is entitled to have his needs met by a woman, whilst a woman basically is only ‘acceptable’ if she puts his needs over her own. He seems to be allowed all sorts of behaviour that a woman is not permitted to engage in without more or less severe consequences depending on the cultural background. In the last years the term ´anti-vaxxer´ has become the new global stereotype to project self-centeredness and even danger onto, whilst the real dangers may be going unnoticed.

To summarise: objectifications, generalisations and judgements are activities, that shield us from being able to understand deeply what the patterns are that we manifest, destroying any real intimacy and capacity to embody oneness as humans. We can only safely be embodied as one in context of a shared practice, if we are truly intimate with the patterns that arise and can identify them as such.

This diagram below can support the identification of reactions to life as we go through the day. We can observe how we may flip between the polarities of superiority and inferiority, and how various triggers create certain reactions, depending on the particular nature of our self-protective or separative mechanisms:

diagram – “Life itself and I and other”
meaning of the word judgement: an opinion expressed in a way that it implies superiority over someone, meaning of the word projection: believing that someone else is doing or being or believing what you are doing, being or believing

This diagram and the diagram we looked at earlier combined can also help to more deeply understand the double-bind of judgement and denial. The images above are showing the various escape mechanisms into separation that can occur.  As soon as there is a generalisation, an abstraction of some kind, the belief formed hides denial. The invitation is to observe yourself: anything may come up like ‘animals don’t feel like we do’ to ‘women are just here to serve the man’, to ‘people of colour are likely to be criminals’ or ‘we brought civilisation to Africa’ or ´anti- vaxxers are selfish´. Once a generalisation pops up, there is an immediate opportunity to look at what is being denied underneath. It is the patterns that hold fear, sadness and suppressed anger that tend to hide behind a judgement. Only when feeling through these uncomfortable identifications, there is a chance for true discernment, intimacy or real seeing of life as it is. Compassion is a natural progression that we won’t need to be trained in. Judgement narrows our own field of true seeing dramatically and ultimately puts us into a tiny box of possible experiencing. Our self-protective mechanisms are our self-maintained, unhappy prison cells.

So as soon as we are in a realm of judgement we tend to project something of our liking onto a someone: “This is ridiculous’, ‘your behaviour is toxic’, ‘Don’t give me this shit’, ‘Your shadow is huge’, you ‘never do this’ or ‘you always do that’. Projection can go as far as someone shouting at you ‘to stop shouting’ when you are really calm. I find it also interesting to observe when people are objectified and taken out of context in articles centered around relationship advice. “How to avoid toxic people’, “how to deal with a narcissist”. Objectifying people as the problem comes with a denial that there is something to see in yourself when people with very challenging behaviours show up in your life. In my experience it is usually something I don’t expect to find.

So practicing ´Embodiment as the one Heart´ allows us to move beyond the trap of identification with judgements and self-judgements and to stop flipping between superiority and inferiority. We learn to notice the separative patterns coming up and then we have a wonderful opportunity to look at what the judgement denies to be seen. It’s a beautiful and liberating practice.

My dear friend Chris White is an experienced art-therapist who has enriched and supported the ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’ exploration since I met him in an online community in 2019. He walked with me through the toughest and most painful processes of enquiry into separative patterns.

In the video below, him and I are looking at the phenomenon of how we internalise certain beliefs about who we are, and how these tend to be reflected back to us, when people feel challenged by us. It also shows how we tend to flip patterns of unworthiness back into feeling special, for instance by being uniquely unlovable, or uniquely bad…but most of all this exploration demonstrates the beauty and lightness and transformative power of a space of no-judgement and no self-judgement. Chris works with a method of enquiry into limiting self-beliefs that stimulates the nervous system, by following the movement of his fingers with my eyes. It is called EMDR Therapy and was developed by Francine Shapiro after discovering the connection between eye movement and upsetting events. This embodied way of resolving intensely diffcult emotional processes without creating any fixed container of beliefs works really well for me. To me it is always remarkable how this simple practice combinded with Chris’s sensitive guidance and expertise allows me to move with lightness through a very intense enquiry into very painful parts of myself. What is also unique about this approach is, that you are supported in your own process. You are basically healing yourself. You are the healing, the healer and the one to be healed, like the poem ‘Acceptance’ says. This is one of the reasons why I feel this process is so powerful and leads quickly to lasting transformations.

Deepest Fears, Double Triggers and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

From my personal experience I have learnt that something fascinating happens when we are triggered in such a way that our deepest fears of survival move us. There are beliefs that are formed of what type of behaviour is going to keep us safe in situations where we feel threatened by extreme possibilities of suffering, horror and potential death.

When we practice Embodiment as the One Heart, there is incredible bliss, an unbelievable enlivening sense of home coming and a literal dissolve into the understanding that life is never made of separate parts. Sooner or later in the process, the deeper we go into the practice, we will hit onto the toughest separative patterns that are linked to intense fears of suffering and survival. The reaction to this is often a sense of feeling threatened and attacked even if that is not literally the case. When deep ancestral or personal wounds are triggered, whatever the reaction, it will be dramatic, intense, and feel like a life-or-death matter, even if that is not at all the actual situation. There will be intensely uncomfortable physical sensations. I have mentioned my memories from other lives before. I used to have one reaction to being judged by a partner that felt like I was being burnt alive. I observed another physical reaction that came up to the emotional withdrawal by another man I was in an intimate relationship with. It felt like I was being stabbed with a knife in the stomach. Both of these intense sensations used to cause me to verbally defend myself instantly to push the pain away and to protect myself. It took a while to learn to not react and eventually I realised that both these relationships connected me with ancestral memory: one of being burnt alive by the Inquisition, whilst the other connected to a suicide in which I slit my own stomach open with a sword. So it can be very helpful to identify intense physical sensations in reaction, because they are not random, they can tell a lot about what a pattern is.

In my experience it is patterns that travel and are attracted into incarnations not something like a fixed soul that travels from body to body. Ultimately it is the one life experiencing all incarnations. It doesn’t matter if you remember other incarnations or not. There is no need to look for them. If they are meant to show up, they will, if not, it is enough to work with the sensations in the body in reaction to certain life events. They will guide you.

In situations of strong reactions to a wound being touched, we will be attempting to control a situation, and we may behave in attacking and degrading ways when we feel we can not get our way, all because we want to protect that wound to not get hurt more, possibly without even noticing.

the mask of self-protection covering a sea of pain, what is hidden in the sea of pain? -drawing

We may feel that we need to get our way to feel safe, but in reality we are just perpetuating the pattern, that we are trying to protect ourselves from. For instance if a man shows a strong need for dominance over women and will consistently deny them their right to be equal in very damaging and destructive ways, then probably deep down he feels that he can only survive and thrive through dominance and suppression. What is interesting about these survial mechanisms is that they tend to be more invisible and repressed, the less they are culturally approved of. This happens because often there is another survival belief at play that says ‘to survive you need to make an impression that you are a good, worthy, perfect person’. Underlying beliefs of what we need to do to survive is often not logical, or coherent. They can be completely contradictory, which is why we can easily end up in denial and not acknowledging what we are up to. If for instance you need to be ‘dominant’ and a ‘good person’, you will avoid seeing the domination as destructive, as whatever ‘you’ are needs to match the ‘good’ label. But you will still act it out as your safety mechanism demands this. This is one of the reasons how we can end up with heavily split versions of ourselves, a sleek persona in public and an abusive personality at home. There is nothing unusual about this. It’s simply how patterns work, and the more we see this, the more we can embrace curiously what is, and tap into the authentic power that is hiding underneath the protective mechanisms. It is also not surprising that we often manifest what we want to avoid. This last diagram demonstrates this:

So sadly when all we want is to be loved and feel loved and worthy of love we really tend to do what pushes that love away, and then we prove to ourselves that we were apparently right and that our fears are justified. We won’t be loved.

Another crucial observation I made is that the priniciple of one life is just as present when we are operating from our separative survival mechanisms. We may not be aware of how precisely we connect energetically on levels we can not see. For instance if one person is acting strongly from unnoticed survival mechanisms and unknowingly sets off the survival mechanisms in someone else, then the conflicting energy in the space hightens dramatically. If in the midst of that, a person is verbally and emotionally attacked, that attack will automatically find the biggest wounds in that person that brings up their deepest fears or self-judgments. This is not necessarily intentional. It is just that we are one in separation in the same way as we are one in and as Love. These situations provide the best opportunity for curious enquiry, but if we get caught in the dynamic, and if we attacked someone and only see their reaction, we end up in emotionally very unsafe grounds with one another. This is why enquiry is so helpful. Getting used to enquiring into life situations rather than reacting to them is wonderfully liberating.

Discovering the treasure of disowned abilities in embodied play

The video below shows another creative  experiment with Chris, exploring the roles of victim and perpetrator. It shows how monsterous behaviour is needed to convince someone of being unworthy of being  alive for whatever reason, it also shows how there is a hidden power in the role of the judge when he speaks up aligned to the oneness of all there is.

As I have been working through the memory of being burnt alive through the Inquisition, at the time of this experimental session, we worked with this theme:

So to summarise: this chapter is an invitation into deepening the understanding of separative patterning, and to begin to make your own observations. Powerful role play can help to gain bodily understanding of separative patterns we feel restricted by.

And I am encouraging you to explore the contrast of embodied oneness and embodied separation playfully and side by side to increase your sensitivity to those different modes of being.

I found this last example of exploring self-enquiry in an ’embodied as one’ type of way very powerful. When the body is directly involved, the insights just tend to bubble up so much more easily. I could also imagine dancing verbal communications that I feel challenged by.

Invitations to practice:

Reflecting on this chapter, it has been incredibly rich for me to explore separation in such detail, and I have learned so much from deepening into this consideration. I feel that it is quite likely that there will be a deepening of this chapter and other parts of this course occuring, as more and more people engage with it on a practical level. To end this chapter, for the time being, I will leave you with some of the questions I regularly ask myself in enquiry:

Who am I?

Am I comfortable in the unknown?

Am I comfortable in the space between the lines?

Where is the middle in the paradox?

Does this interpretation feel real?

What does this definition really mean?

Am I feeling superior?

Am I feeling inferior?

Am I feeling special?

Am I feeling free or limited?

Am I clinging or withdrawing?

What is this physical sensation telling me and where does it come from?

Why am I judging this person?

Why do I look for someone or something to blame?

What power is hiding underneath these self-protective thoughts?

Can I accept with love and curiosity what I find (in myself and the so-called other)

Can I see any life circumstance as a part of me, a message, a guidance, a medicine?

Am I scared of death?

Am I scared of loss?

Can I accep grief, rage, sadness, fear, regret, shame, confusion, anger, feeling un-functional or other qualities I may tend to be scared or critical of?

Can I recognise different ways how separation manifests?

Can I distinguish the energetic withdrawal into separation from manifesting as the incomprehensibly beauty of life itself?

If you are interested in one-to-one sessions to support the practices this curse has suggested, please get in touch.

With Love and gratitude, Eva Millauer