Posts Tagged Wound

How to Be Insecure


Isn’t insecurity something we do really well? Who among is isn’t insecure anytime there is some perceived threat to his sense of self? We can imagine a universe of threats that keep us worried, uptight, and wakeful at night.

But what are we insecure about? What is it that we believe is threatened?

Let’s say I believe in a heaven and a hell. Then I will be insecure that the way I’m living my life might result in an eternity in hell. The same beliefs that created heaven and hell in the first place, we’ll tell us how to live a life where we can avoid hell and gain, instead, an eternity in heaven. As a result we become Christians or Muslims or Hindus. We follow the rules as they were set down centuries ago. We abandon our Authentic Self and become an imitator. Because I really am a sinner and I really crave sex, booze, sloth, and all the rest, I learn to distrust my Authentic Being and become a good little Muslim or good little Christian or good little Hindu.

But we can never be sure we’re good enough. We are haunted by the fear that we’re not getting it exactly right. We know, down deep, that our inner devil just needs to be expressed. Or, maybe we are so secure in being right, that we lord our superiority over all the sinners and ne’er do wells that fill our world. We become superior beings, smug in our self-righteousness.

But then we risk the sin of pride and we’re back where we started, just another miserable sinner, full with our self-contempt and misery.

Or if I am a pious jew, then I must obey a mere 613 commandments. Of course, from the very start it’s hopeless. I am condemned to be the failure that I know in my heart I am. And if I dutifully manage to stay kosher, well then I can feel superior to all those other jews that eat bacon with their eggs in the morning. We can learn to really resent each other with our competing beliefs.

If I believe that abortion is wrong, then I am enabled to feel different than those people who support it. I can feel superior or I can feel sorry for those horrible people who believe that women have a right to abortion. But then I hear about someone who gets knocked up by her father and suddenly I don’t know what I believe – but I gotta believe in something!

Actually you don’t.

Or, if I believe that life is sacred then I will be racked by guilt anytime I eat a hamburger or a tuna sandwich. If I choose to be a vegetarian out of the conviction of my superior beliefs, then I can feel good when I eat my plate of brown rice. But then I attend a talk given by an eminent Buddhist lama from Tibet (as I did) who asks his audience if they feel good about eating their plates of brown rice and when they wag their heads in confident agreement, he bitterly informs them of the tens of thousands of sentient beings who die in each and every rice harvest.

So we’re back where we started. Stricken by the knowledge of our inherent inadequacy.

Let’s go back to our original question. What is it, exactly, that experiences insecurity? Is this “thing” real? Or are we just defending phantoms – fantasies? If we can understand this question, really understand it, then insecurity become a problem that no longer haunts our existence.

Notice that everything we’ve talked about in this post is a belief. I believe in heaven and hell. I believe I am a jew. I believe in the sacredness of life. Each of these is a belief. But these beliefs, in themselves, are really quite harmless.

They are an overlay to a much bigger belief; the belief that this self that I label with the pronoun me is real. This me is not a belief. And because we believe it is real, then the beliefs it holds to be true are also real.

Okay – now let’s step back for a moment and take a deep breath.

We know that the earth revolves around the sun, even though our senses would seem to indicate that it’s really the sun that revolves around the earth as it rises in the morning and sets in the evening. But we know that that isn’t true. It’s an apparition of the senses. And because we know it isn’t true, then the belief no longer has the power to hold us in its trance.

The same applies to the precious self (“me lovely precious”). This self is a belief. But this is something that needs to be seen directly. That is why the question, who am I, is so key.

Yes we ARE, but we are not the belief in this body and mind based me. This body/mind, this cluster of beliefs with beliefs about its past and beliefs about its future, and its judgments and identities – all of it is just a belief.

The believer of the beliefs keeps the illusion alive.

But the only belief who’s seeing through assures our liberation in this very moment is the core belief. And this core belief will always relate to the concept and sensation of lack. And lack is always inadequacy and because it’s linked to inadequacy it needs a whole mass of other beliefs to make it real, to give it substance. We lack. We are empty. In our emptiness we are agonizingly vulnerable. So Lack creates a Bible and a Koran and a Bhagavad Gita – these books are full of rules designed to cover over the underlying Lack. These books have just enough connection with authentic being to give them staying power, but they are founded on a fiction and it’s a toxic fiction because it sustains a belief in what isn’t real. It sustains the belief in what keeps us mired in insecurity and misery.

Religious zealots are simply those people so wrapped up in their holy books that they are entirely disembodied phantasms. Their misery is so gut wrenchingly great that they MUST have these books to keep them safe from the terrifying torment that hides just under the surface.

And because inadequacy feels shitty, we engineer a whole plethora of beliefs that are designed to make us feel superior or just give us some sense of substance. So we spout nonsense about the sacredness of life as a belief without looking further. We are married to a belief rather than to the far more variegated textures happening in this very moment. Because we are identified with lack, we will consistently substitute our unexamined thought (beliefs) for reality.

You are not any belief, but as long as you’re identified with beliefs you won’t understand that statement – as long as you need beliefs to make you feel real, you won’t understand this statement.

Waking up means waking up to the only truth in the universe – the only thing that isn’t a belief. Every single thought is a belief. The thought of the sun isn’t the sun. The thought of hunger is not hunger. They are closer to the truth of beingness than far more far-fetched beliefs like heaven and hell, but they are still unreal.

This is why these posts are so important. You are not a belief.

So let’s return to our primary theme; insecurity. Everything we are insecure about is an illusion. They are just beliefs about beliefs. And the core belief is the false-self – that enduring cluster of thoughts linked so closely with lack and inadequacy. They are ways of avoiding the misery of lack and identification with inadequacy.

Beliefs are strategies designed to deal with lack. Lack creates its own immensely powerful slumber. It is hidden under a hundred self-protecting beliefs. So why waste another day supporting beliefs that are no different from a wall designed to keep you safe from illusions? No matter how high and strong your wall is, it can never protect you from illusions. Those fears – those beliefs, will overcome any defense. Misery and hopelessness can’t be kept away forever.

Those walls we construct around ourselves, around our group identities, around our perceived gender, around our countries, they are all prisons and we are both the prisoners and their wardens. The higher and stronger our psyche builds these walls the harder it will be to escape our own self-made prison.

How vast are the constructs of belief? They are vast indeed. We will do anything to protect us from the descent into lack.

That is the path we must take if we ever want to be really free. Lack is the primal echo of an ancient Wound and it created the false-self. It is a story drawn from experience, retained by the hardened and fearful heart – but it’s just not true. It’s a belief – a belief system and you are not that.

There is a way out*, but it takes commitment to the truth. It takes the courage of a warrior. It takes the insight of a philosopher.

It takes only you.

*There are many good books out there and many wonderful teachers and friends out there, but I can only speak from my own direct experience.

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Suffering is a Choice


Did you know that suffering is a choice? We choose to suffer and then we sustain the suffering by endlessly searching for a way out of suffering, all the while identifying with the very source of suffering; the illusory “me”.

The self we believe ourselves to be is (as the sentence shows) a belief.

If we look out the window, it’s obvious that the earth is not a sphere. Go ahead try this simplest of experiments – based exclusively on what you see, is it not obvious that the earth is not a sphere?

It’s also obvious that the sun revolves around the earth. We can check this out as well and see that it’s true – the sun does revolve around the earth.

Only it doesn’t and the earth is a sphere.

Often what our mind and senses tell us about the world is just not true. Unless we are awakened from the illusion of the mind and the senses, we will continue to maintain that the earth is not a sphere and that the sun revolves around the earth.

The same principle applies to the belief in the “I/me”. The mind is certain that we know that we are this me, but is that true?

It isn’t.

So who is the false me – because if we can identify what is false, the true will arise all on its own. Our goal is to see the false and not to heal the unreal.

The me that I am not is not something that we are born with – it is, like all beliefs, something we learn. We learn to be this me.

What is it we learn?

We are born as a spontaneous expression of life. But then something happens. When we are forcibly separated from our parents, when we receive the message a million times over that what we are doing is not right, when we are required to be obedient to external authority, when all of that happens the “me” is born.

The me we learn to be is the deficient me.

Unlike the baby that is a spontaneous expression of life possessing nothing – just expressing Life – the Deficient Me (DefMe) does possess something – it possesses attributes that are not right. This is the Wound. Those people that made our life possible, also wound us and the result is the Deficient Me.

The DefMe is the source of all our suffering and among its key qualities is that of possession. Instead of expressing Life naturally and spontaneously, we now possess qualities that makes us broken.

And what does this broken me seek – it seeks healing.

But here’s the “kicker” – because the broken me was never real in the first place, it can never be healed! This is the truth that we need to absorb and acknowledge.

This is the seemingly cruel irony of seeking. It can never cease until we become awake to the illusory nature of the false me.

Is there a way out? Is there a solution to our dilemma?

More importantly, how can I to stop the cycle of suffering?

There is a way out.

First, we must really see and acknowledge that healing is not a possibility. So we must stop everything “we do” to heal or improve this broken me. The effort we invest in fixing what isn’t real is a total waste of time – actually it’s worse than a waste of time because it sustains the belief in the illusory me. That’s step one.

Second, we must see that how this broken me arises in consciousness is not something we can stop as a consequence of our will. Our very expression of will is really an efforting of the broken me. Thus the manifestation of this false me, is like everything else in the universe – it happens all on its own. We must just allow everything to happen all on its own. What choice do we have? Can we wish it away? Can we force, what we have already noticed, away? Of course not!

Third, we come to realize that the idea of choice is, itself, an illusion. Everything happens. The me that believes it has choice in what happens is one of the many manifestations of the broken me.

Four, the persona that believes in the broken me is the broken me. They are two sides of the same coin. We must stop believing that this me is who we are. As we stop believing, we start seeing. The seeing was always present, but the belief was an add-on. Now we just see and sit back and enjoy the show – letting it all happen as it must.

Seeing is the natural/spontaneous expression of life as life. This seeing cannot suffer, although it can and will experience physical pain. The seeing can and will experience everything as seeing.

Words really do not do it any justice. Liberation – Awakening is the unburdening of the possession of the false self. This is what it’s all about.

Tomorrow: Suffering is OUR Choice – applying the principles of Liberation from the Lie on Groups. The me belief is deeply entangled in its group, cultural, and gender identities. These too are illusions.

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My Mother Makes Me Crazy – A Chronicle from My Fear-Self


My mother, who is almost 90 years old, is in the process of moving to a retirement community. The process has been replete with stress, confusion, and conflict. Just this morning I became involved in a very confrontational discussion with her. What happened in this conversation provided me with a vivid example of how my own belief system contributes to my own suffering as well as hers’. I think the story is worth retelling. Even more importantly, it shows how our most intimate belief systems sustain the belief in an “I/me” that isn’t real in the first place.

My mother is taking only some of her possessions to her new home and therefore has to dispose of most of her larger items at some personal expense. Since my mother lives on social security, I thought that it would be helpful to sell some of these items on craigslist. By selling them, I would be helping those who could use her old furniture and lower her moving costs.

Well, we tried selling some of the furniture at very low cost and wound up selling none of it. So, after, a heated discussion, my mother agreed to give most of it away.

So this morning I called her because several people wanted to arrange a time to pick up some of the free furniture. She immediately went into a rage complaining that she was giving her stuff away for nothing and that she really couldn’t be bothered with all of the aggravation of greeting strangers and all of the other minor inconveniences of giving her possessions away.

I responded with anger. I accused her of always dumping her anger on me, as opposed to my brother, whose nature is far less confrontational than my own (please note). I also angrily brought to her attention that she had already agreed to give the furniture away for nothing, because it would save her money during the move. I reminded her that I was sacrificing much of my time to help her with the move, not to mention that I would need to be there for the move and for the removal of all the stuff she’s not taking. I was demanding recognition of my sacrifice, as well as all of the good things I was doing for her and all I got in response was her own anger and blame. From her perspective, I was a big part of the problem. I also noted that every time I make a suggestion she immediately rejects it, but if her favored niece makes the very same recommendation she commends her, to me, for the excellence of her suggestions. I then, of course, brought to her attention her hypocrisy and favoritism.

The conversation went on and on like this and it left me exhausted and feeling miserable about her, the move, and me.

So what can we take away from all of this from the perspective of Liberation from the Lie?

Liberation, as it is described in this book, is liberation from our habitual beliefs and conditioning. And that we we are free of all of our underlying beliefs, that even the sustained belief in an “I/me” diminishes greatly. In other words, the direct experience of liberation is the freedom to “be” in this present moment. The greatest challenge in the whole process of Self realization is seeing our own (in Yiddish) mishegas, our own bullshit, our own hypocrisy.

As I reflected on this very unpleasant conversation I made some, for me, astounding realizations.

The source of suffering is the belief in a “me” that isn’t real – it’s just a concept – a belief and this sticky belief is kept alive and well exactly in those circumstances that allow it play its role in exactly the way that role is defined by the ego. This belief is an energetic manifestation and it helped to create this painful interchange. It showed up in the form of “I am right and you are wrong – I deserve your accolades and all I ever get is your complaining – You are old and confused and you should listen to me because I am right – I am expert at finding evidence that shows that I am right and you are wrong – I need to be right (and I need to be the expert) because that’s who I am – (finally) – it is clear that I’ve always been smarter and more together than you and this conversation is just more evidence supporting that “fact”.

Through this conversation I expressed the full fear-self Eric in all his agonizing glory. Can you see this? My psychological self was imposing its hard-edged beliefs from itself to my mom and in the process contributed to making this an extremely painful conversation.

Now let’s make on bigger statement about this conversation.

To some extent, this same “expert” Eric writes this very blog. I regularly assert the correctness of my views. And when I pontificate about the leap of faith that takes us to the place free of All belief, that I am, perhaps, speaking from my own comfortable place of belief. That the person who participated in this difficult conversation is, to some large extent, the same person who writes this blog.

As I write in my book, we don’t transcend our Wound and fear-selves, but we do, to some extent, cease taking them as seriously or we stop believing that they define who we are. In this conversation, I regressed and I fully embraced my own fear-based belief system. It also shows that we tend to most often ‘back slide’ when we are relating to members of our own family, those people where the relations are most effected by old beliefs and many years of conditioning. This is, really, where “the rubber meets the road”.

This conversation also shows us a profound teaching, which is why I’m blogging about it. Conflict, old habits, repeated painful scenes are some of the best vehicles to see our fear-based selves in action. I wrote extensively about this in my book. But, sometimes, the author needs to return to kindergarten to re-take the course he didn’t do so well in the first time around.

Believe nothing you read. Do not believe me. Rather see what is unquestionably true in your own moment-to-moment experience rigorously free of all your beliefs, all of your need to be right – to be the authority. See that the “I” you think you are is really just a belief; a persona that needs to be seen and felt. And then explore whether that is true for yourself.

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How to Cure Human Cancer


If we are ever to cure human cancer we must focus on the root rather than merely treat the symptoms. So our first question is this: what is the root of human cancer? And our second question is, who is our healer? How can we find the person who will bring healing to us?

Cancer’s Root

Cancer is a form of war. Healthy cells mutate into cells that wages a war against the very cells which gave them birth. Cancer is division, conflict. The unhealthy, vigorous, voracious cells displace the healthy cells. It begins with health and ends in death.

We too begin in health, but through circumstances entirely out of our control we split into two. The unhealthy self, just like the cancer cells, possesses far more apparent vigor than the quiet, quiescent, balanced healthy self. The self out of balance, quite literally, attracts all of the light of the authentic self. This compulsive self becomes the being we believe ourselves to be. Thus as verbal, functioning human beings, we come to believe that we are the cancer and that this out-of-balance diseased state becomes what we believe to be normal!

How this happens is, like cellular cancer, rather complex and multi-faceted. To truly understand the process in its totality you will either need to fully understand the content of this blog or read my book Liberation from the Lie. Our human cancer is a direct result of a combination of events including our forced separation from our life-givers (our biological parents) and the requirement in civilized society to impart on the pre-verbal and very young child with the understanding that she is not right as she is. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle made this very clear in his extraordinarily influential work The Ethics, where he made the case that children are born as savages and require discipline to learn the arts of civil society. Children need obedience training in order to become civilized.

The separation trauma occurs when the child is forcibly separated from the life-giver in the very first days of life. The practice of separation, which is most common in western cultures is remarkable in how vividly different it is from what we can observe in the hunting and gathering world and those of simple agriculture societies where children are, literally, attached to their life-givers for the first 3-4 years of life. As I said, this is not a simple story, but cancer is not a simple disease. Understanding the details and seeing them in your own life and immediate experience is truly essential, if we are to realize this truth in our own lives.

As a result of the separation trauma and our early childhood education to “get” right, we learn that we must agree with the vital authorities in our life and also reject our “savage” self, that being born from the perfect light of the universe. We come to realize the painful lesson that love is not a birthright – rather it is earned and it is earned through our conforming to the expectations of others, particularly our parents. Even before we can form words, we understand that we are not quite right – there is something wrong with us. This realization becomes our core source of existential pain and suffering. Over time, it becomes the great fear motivator. I call this core belief in our innate inadequacy the Wound.

Through the Wound the unhealthy self is born.

Because the Wound is so painful, we quickly create adaptations to distance ourselves from its effects. We form sub-personas designed to compensate for the terror and self-negation expressed by the Wound. These sub-personas, which I call Fear-Selves, are secondary selves designed to reverse the core self-negating belief expressed by the Wound. Thus we become pleasers – we please our parents (aren’t you a good little girl/boy) and we learn that to get ahead in life we must please those with power over us. Our Fear-based selves will inversely mirror the criticisms of our parents. If they consistently tell us to be smart, their messages will convince our very young and vulnerable minds that we are stupid, if they ignore us, we will learn that we are not worthy of love and attention, etc. etc. etc. And then when we form false, fear-based personas that seek to earn the approval of important others in our life, it is our false (cancerous) selves that become validated and real. We are the pleaser, the expert, the ambitious, the spiritualist, the sexy manipulator, etc. It doesn’t take much time to loose our connection with our authentic, pre-Wound (healthy) self and, ultimately, the only self we really know is our Fear-Based selves!!!!

The root of the human cancer is invalidation that results in the Wound. This is the cause of human cancer. The effect of this cause is the array of Fear-Selves we develop over the first 30 years of our life to compensate for the terrifying content of the Wound. Just as the Wound was created through well-intended invalidation by our parents, we sustain the process by first agreeing with the invalidation and thus becoming self-invalidators, but we maintain the process with our own children. Human cancer is passed through the generations. It can be stopped but only through profound, transformative self-understanding. You will never find your Authentic Self until you fall out of your trance-like relationship with your false-selves.

The human cancer is seen by one decisive behavior. It is this: the drive to become someone out of an underlying fear. This is human cancer.

Finding the Healer

Now that we have a sense of what is the root of the human cancer, we now must find a healer who can bring all of this ‘to light’ in our own lives. For lasting healing is a matter of seeing and understanding that which is false, so as to allow to arise as the false is shed. That healer can only be you. You are the only person who can bring healing to a self that is out of balance. But because we have become so out of touch with our Authentic Being, since we have been cut off from this Self for so long, even believing the content of this message can become an overwhelming challenge for most of us.

The healing path is described in massive detail and with many exercises in my Liberation book. This is the key manual to finding not only your Fear-Selves, but to find the underlying Wound that forms the whole living process of the false self.

It is the task of the healer to be a warrior of the self. It requires the highest level of courage to explore and question everything you have agreed to be true, but which is false.

You must come to know that the Fear-Selves can be extremely subtle. While their underlying life is governed by fear, often they assume forms that appear loving and caring. The difference between authentic love and fear-based love is that the latter is compulsive, necessary, and designed to be seen by the fear-based self and often others. The fear-based love says, look at how loving I can be. The need to be seen is the key attribute of the fear-based self, even if its primary audience is the false self itself. This is the form of love that can turn to hate and contempt in an instant when it fails to achieve its goals. It is a brittle love.

In contrast, authentic love needs to be seen by no one. It is love for its own sake. It has no goals but to be itself real in this very moment. It doesn’t seek to impress the self or others. It is just vital love in the living moment of life. But as we go through this work, the difference between the authentic and the false can be so subtle, that we will often loose ourselves in the process. All of that is just part of healing. We move from false self certainty to confusion and, finally, to light.

Because Fear-Based selves are selves, meaning that they are objects we can hold up to the light of inspection, we come to believe that the Authentic Self is also a self that is, essentially, an object. So we read a book like Liberation from the Lie and this motivates us to improve and to become Authentic. That is yet another false path. It is just a Fear-Self needing to become a better Fear-Self.

True liberation means that you are no longer the slave to any psychological self of any kind. It is not a self. It is light without attributes. It is the living truth of this moment. This is the only true healing reality.

What takes the greatest act of courage and for some of us the great leap of faith is the realization that most of what we believe ourselves to be is the human cancer. The self that needs to be someone is the very self that is out of balance growth that mirrors the cancerous cells on the cellular level. This is growth that kills what is healthy and we kill what is healthy by replacing the subtle, silent, Authentic Self, with the vigorous, aggressive psychology of the Fear-Based self, the self that is birthed by the Wound. Who we believe ourselves is, exactly, who we are not and who we truly are is invisible to the Fear-Selves.

Welcome to the pathless land that is you. You are your only healer. Healing means a return, a forsaking of all that is false and often that means a falling away from just the clusters of belief that we most cherish about ourselves – after all, authentic healing means severing exactly those beliefs with which we are most attached. That is a truly heroic act of self-realization.

Can you take that path? If you can’t, don’t feel badly about yourself. Few are able to be their own healer. But I know that you will take this path when you finally get disgusted with the second-hand life. If you have reached that point then I invite you to explore Liberation from the Lie or if you have read it already – read it again. It is the manual of self-discovery.

I had intended to include examples of human cancer on the individual, group, and species levels in this post, but it has already become too long. So I will do that in tomorrow’s post and I will link those examples with this discussion so that our understanding of human cancer evolves to be the light of our own healing.

Please spread the word.

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Tolle's Pain/Body and Liberation's Wound/Fear-Self: A Comparison


More and more I would like the content of this blog to consist of letters written by Liberation Blog and Liberation from the Lie readers who raise important questions about what I am trying to put forth in this venue. So, if you have any questions or comments, please send them my way and I will respond to them in as comprehensive a way as I can.

Today’s question focused on a comparison between Eckhart Tolle’s pain/body discussion and mine regarding the Wound and the corresponding Fear-Selves.

The Liberation from the Lie reader writes:

HI Eric, I have almost finished the first section….Is your wound/fear-selves model equivalent to Tolle’s pain-body/ego?

My response –

Tolle’s discussion of the pain/body is related to my discussion of the fear-selves, but there are important differences. I provided a cultural and historical context for the inevitable development of fear as the primary governing principle for a civilization addicted to ambition and consumption. Thus, the discussion in Liberation is much more political than that of Tolle. But, with all due respect to Tolle, I find my own findings to be more sweeping and explanatory. Nearly every event in our personal lives and in the world can be described and understood using the terms of Liberation from the Lie. For example: They explain 9/11 and how America responded to this event. If you read the book carefully, you will see that it explains nearly every form of interpersonal conflict and conflict involving individuals, groups, and even nations.

The concept of the fear-self identified with inadequacy was developed from ideas that I first encountered as they were discussed by Stephen Wolinsky, which he derived from Indian Advaita. I linked those ideas to the concept of invalidation, which I, in part, derived from my many years of work in Navajo peacemaking. Liberation marks the unification of those two psychological traditions.

On account of our primal Wound, the very young self begins to development a contextually specific array of Fear-Selves whose purpose it is to insulate the psychological self from the pain and chaos of its underlying Wound. The identification with inadequacy was essential for the development of civilization since it became necessary to convince people of their own innate insufficiency. In this way, socialization organized itself around obedience (self invalidation) and pleasing important others. Religion, education, and labor became the vital institutions dependent on self-negation through obedience.

The process of self-negation explains nearly every personality type that exists in this world, but the very process that produces the incredible “achievements” of this world, from the fantastic improvements in health to the horrors of the Holocaust, have acted to “cover-up” the light of our Authentic Being. Thus many Eastern traditions, as well as that advocated in Liberation from the Lie, seek to lay out journey of return to this source that is our essential nature prior to its contamination by the civilizing influences of the well-intended family, schools, and the demands of the work-place. Unfortunately, many of these same traditions replicate the self-negating constructs from which they themselves emerged.

Liberation is the seeing, just like in zen, that we are NOT that struggle to be someone or something. Isn’t it interesting that nearly all of us are in a compulsive struggle to be the enlightened me we psychologically project and, at the same time, flee from the self we believe ourselves to be! This is the ultimate self-crushing dilemma.

The organization of life into discrete independent objects, including you and me, is just a convenient story told by the mind. Rather, life is dynamic and ever-changing and our reflection is in everything and everyone. The mind will want to pin everything down into a neat order – and that is, as the tao te ching says, the universe of desire. There is no doing away with that universe. But it is not the exclusive universe. That which is never-changing sees all of this and is not effected by any of it.

This is not to say that we need to become this unchanging background to existence. That is already in place. We see this unchanging field in the light that fills every aspect and element of our sensed world. It’s really more about discovering the legacy of the invalidation trauma in our immediate life. And I think this is where Tolle’s concept and mine come together. Pain and suffering is an inevitable consequence when we both strive to be someone we believe we are not AND we strive not to be someone we believe we are!

I think all of this will become a lot clearer as you continue reading. But here is where Tolle is really helpful. The mind is always a projecting a future me that will benefit from all of this. That is, exactly, the class of thinking that sustains the inadequacy belief. You would never need to invest your beliefs in a future me if you were not still placing your primary faith in an adequate self you already believe yourself to be! Life is now – end of story. It is likely to change as your understanding changes. But right now notice how your future projecting is effecting the qualitative experience of this very moment! When you really SEE that, you will be free.

That is the seeing that untangles the know.

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Tolle’s Pain/Body and Liberation’s Wound/Fear-Self: A Comparison


More and more I would like the content of this blog to consist of letters written by Liberation Blog and Liberation from the Lie readers who raise important questions about what I am trying to put forth in this venue. So, if you have any questions or comments, please send them my way and I will respond to them in as comprehensive a way as I can.

Today’s question focused on a comparison between Eckhart Tolle’s pain/body discussion and mine regarding the Wound and the corresponding Fear-Selves.

The Liberation from the Lie reader writes:

HI Eric, I have almost finished the first section….Is your wound/fear-selves model equivalent to Tolle’s pain-body/ego?

My response –

Tolle’s discussion of the pain/body is related to my discussion of the fear-selves, but there are important differences. I provided a cultural and historical context for the inevitable development of fear as the primary governing principle for a civilization addicted to ambition and consumption. Thus, the discussion in Liberation is much more political than that of Tolle. But, with all due respect to Tolle, I find my own findings to be more sweeping and explanatory. Nearly every event in our personal lives and in the world can be described and understood using the terms of Liberation from the Lie. For example: They explain 9/11 and how America responded to this event. If you read the book carefully, you will see that it explains nearly every form of interpersonal conflict and conflict involving individuals, groups, and even nations.

The concept of the fear-self identified with inadequacy was developed from ideas that I first encountered as they were discussed by Stephen Wolinsky, which he derived from Indian Advaita. I linked those ideas to the concept of invalidation, which I, in part, derived from my many years of work in Navajo peacemaking. Liberation marks the unification of those two psychological traditions.

On account of our primal Wound, the very young self begins to development a contextually specific array of Fear-Selves whose purpose it is to insulate the psychological self from the pain and chaos of its underlying Wound. The identification with inadequacy was essential for the development of civilization since it became necessary to convince people of their own innate insufficiency. In this way, socialization organized itself around obedience (self invalidation) and pleasing important others. Religion, education, and labor became the vital institutions dependent on self-negation through obedience.

The process of self-negation explains nearly every personality type that exists in this world, but the very process that produces the incredible “achievements” of this world, from the fantastic improvements in health to the horrors of the Holocaust, have acted to “cover-up” the light of our Authentic Being. Thus many Eastern traditions, as well as that advocated in Liberation from the Lie, seek to lay out journey of return to this source that is our essential nature prior to its contamination by the civilizing influences of the well-intended family, schools, and the demands of the work-place. Unfortunately, many of these same traditions replicate the self-negating constructs from which they themselves emerged.

Liberation is the seeing, just like in zen, that we are NOT that struggle to be someone or something. Isn’t it interesting that nearly all of us are in a compulsive struggle to be the enlightened me we psychologically project and, at the same time, flee from the self we believe ourselves to be! This is the ultimate self-crushing dilemma.

The organization of life into discrete independent objects, including you and me, is just a convenient story told by the mind. Rather, life is dynamic and ever-changing and our reflection is in everything and everyone. The mind will want to pin everything down into a neat order – and that is, as the tao te ching says, the universe of desire. There is no doing away with that universe. But it is not the exclusive universe. That which is never-changing sees all of this and is not effected by any of it.

This is not to say that we need to become this unchanging background to existence. That is already in place. We see this unchanging field in the light that fills every aspect and element of our sensed world. It’s really more about discovering the legacy of the invalidation trauma in our immediate life. And I think this is where Tolle’s concept and mine come together. Pain and suffering is an inevitable consequence when we both strive to be someone we believe we are not AND we strive not to be someone we believe we are!

I think all of this will become a lot clearer as you continue reading. But here is where Tolle is really helpful. The mind is always a projecting a future me that will benefit from all of this. That is, exactly, the class of thinking that sustains the inadequacy belief. You would never need to invest your beliefs in a future me if you were not still placing your primary faith in an adequate self you already believe yourself to be! Life is now – end of story. It is likely to change as your understanding changes. But right now notice how your future projecting is effecting the qualitative experience of this very moment! When you really SEE that, you will be free.

That is the seeing that untangles the know.

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Healing Depression: Discovering the Subtle Healing Energy of the Wound


In yesterday’s post I dealt with some of the larger ‘theoretical’ issues posed by the experience of depression. I placed these issues within the rigorous context of my book, Liberation from the Lie and thus sought to draw the “big picture” of depression; that it is the effect of an intensely powerful, but directly unseen Wound – that this Wound originated with our abrupt separation from our life givers (parents) in the very first days of our life.

In today’s post I want to focus not on its origins, but on the effect of the Wound in our immediate experience. If we can spot it in our moment-to-moment life, we will be empowered to bring healing attention, as well as understanding, to this vast pool of pain and fear that lies at the core of our temporal being (personality – self construct).

I once wrote about how two scientists working for Bell Labs back in the 1960s first stumbled upon the background hiss/static of the Big Bang, the cataclysmic event that gave birth to the known universe. They were listening to radiant energy received by a large radio telescope and noticed a very subtle background ‘noise’ that seemed to emanate from everywhere in the universe. At first they could not explain what this noise was, but over time they were able to link this static to the very residue of the massive explosion from which everything in our universe owes its origin.

The Wound is the Big Bang of our personality. It too presents an extremely subtle background ‘noise’ to our immediate experience. I was not able to even detect this noise at first because I didn’t have a theoretical construct on which I could explain its existence. But the Theory of the Wound and its compensating Fear-Selves provided me with a vehicle for which I could not only “hear” this residue, but also to explain its existence. It was like hearing the voice of God – the Theory of Liberation powerfully explained even the most subtle aspects of our moment-to-moment existence.

One of the reasons so many of us experience these dark prolonged periods in our lives is because we are completely unaware of the initial signs that suggest the possible onset of a Fear-Self personality collapse. Now let me say something that will surprise you. Such collapses, as awful as they sometimes are, can offer us opportunities for very profound self-realization, and thus to label them as “bad” or as “problems that need to be solved” is really off the mark. That is an error. But like any other serious malady, when they become very intense, they call for medical intervention. The really good news is that the content of this post will present us with an approach to harnessing the power of inner-upsetness-chaos we can do at any time. We don’t have to wait for a full Fear-Self breakdown (please see the book for this vital issue which will, one day, confront each one of us).

Just like the scientists at Bell Labs, you will need to attune your ‘inner radar’ to the physical sense of your self. Do that now. Probe for the most subtle energies that exist beneath the levels of thought and emotional feeling. And very much like these scientists, you should ‘pick-up’ a kind of nearly silent inner static – a kind of very subtle nervous energy. You may have to listen for some time, but once you get the hang of this, you should be able to get a feel for it at any time.

As you sense this nervous-like energy that is like a nearly silent static deep within your body, understand that what you’re feeling is the very emanations of your own primal Wound. You are, literally, hearing the origins of your personality as they were forged in your own separation trauma. This is the subtle vibration of the Wound in your immediate life.

Just watch the energy. Here is a key feeling that I discovered about my own inner vibration. When I began to feel stress in my immediate life, I noticed that this deep Wound energy would link up with the stress/anxiety … that it would kind of nurture it. As I followed this pathway, I could see how it nurtured a psychological energy that would create anger and wanted to apply force to challenging life circumstances to achieve a level of control. As I explored this amazing link, I could see that what was happening was that stress stimulated the Wound energy. The existing Fear-Self (often a Fear-Self needing to know itself as highly competent in the world), would feel threatened by circumstances that it could not control. The tools it sought to deal with this fear was anger and force.

Seeing all of this as a single piece, a unitary process, showed me, in the most vivid way, how the Wound fosters the prevailing Fear-Self and that when the Fear-Self encountered circumstances that threatened its standing in the world, it would empower and enlarge its presence with anger and hostility. The Wound and Fear-Self were truly One.

You will discover the identical relationship in your own personality, but first you must be grounded in a perception of the subtle inner vibration – the living static of the Wound in your immediate experience. That is certainly Step One. Then observe how this inner feeling changes when you encounter even very small stressors in your life. See what happens. Explore the inter-play of the Wound and Fear-Selves in your own life.

So how might we address the subtle emanations of the Wound once we are armed with this remarkable knowledge? Here is the Way.

Violence, depression, frustration, and hopelessness are all experiences of a failed Fear-Self and our contraction into the scary world of the Wound. But they are not sound or healing contractions. They are merely convenient operations of a negative Fear-Self struggling with circumstances that he can no longer control and which he fears.

We move toward integration and love through integration and love. Thus, what I suggest is to simply feel this subtle energy and direct respect, honor, and love to it. What we have called the Wound is nothing less than the child of the cosmos separated from the ever-nurturing universe. When you love and respect it, you are reversing the process of invalidation that created it in the first place. This is so key. We bring healing to the Wound by first getting a feel for its very existence before it has totally disabled our life, and then to channel love, respect, and honor to it. In this way we reverse the invalidation process, embrace our essential selves and discover a new fount of energy in our own lives.

Know that habit will try to upset this process. The static energy of the Wound will want to travel paths that it knows well. It will want to foster panic, confusion, anger, and retreat. Just see how this whole process unfolds and over time you will get a detailed sense of the process. Learning this healing technique is a little like learning how to ride a bike for the first time. It might feel a little awkward, but in a short period of time, you will get the hang of it.

Please know that our purpose is never to do way with the Wound. Were we to try that or believe we could do that, we would be doing ourselves the greatest possible harm. If we were to try to kill the Wound, we would be sustaining the process of massive self-negation and invalidation that gave it birth in the first place. We would simply be operating from the position of another Fear-Self struggling to impose control in a psychological world based on separation and belief in the false (I’ve introduced some new concepts here, but please don’t too caught up with them). Just know that our purpose is to love, respect, and honor … and Notice. That is all. Anything more than this results in the birth of a new Fear-Self, often the “Spiritual” Fear-Self and we really need to avoid this misery enhancing pathway.

The Wound is a permanent aspect of our psychological selves. Thus our understanding guides us to love what is common to each of us and to learn the path of authentic compassion with this understanding. We start with ourselves and with that understanding, we allow that realization to inform our moment-to-moment lives.

Late Addition:

The more you do this exercise when you’re not feeling stressed the more powerful the life-enhancing qualities of the Wound will be in your life. The more you notice this inner static and fully embrace it as the one place that needs your attention and love, the more you will be released from its power to make your life a misery and a struggle.

This is authentic healing.

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