Existential Phenomenological Psychotherapy – “Oneness and Lack,” Part 2
By Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D., Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, A.B.P.P.
Rudolph Bauer, Ph.D., Writer, Michelle Mae, Transcriber, Erin Johannesen, M.A., M.D., Editor
Sometimes it may seem, in holding this awareness state, rather unsentimental. It may surprise you; you feel so close, but unsentimental in holding this [this awareness]. Some of us prefer to have internalization of others, and that works for a while; it has a good hit to it, but actually, in becoming the author of one’s own life and experience, it really doesn’t work. So often there is a betrayal or a failure, then you collapse, then maybe one starts to hold it for one’s own self. I’m not saying it doesn’t help to use the other in resonance, but if you are the therapist, we’re both working on me [on the patient’s or client’s] holding it and bringing it forth, and that [that collaborative resonance] will be powerful. So, you understand the difference between ‘untransferential’ and transference [transferential] therapy? We’re not focusing on transference here. In fact, if it arises, we try and shift and have you talk to an empty chair or something like that. This [not focusing on transference] is very disappointing to some people. They love transferential therapy; whether it’s through love or through blame, they want to be in transference. It [an untransferential frame] doesn’t mean feelings don’t take place between the two people.
Actually, in many ways, transference is a totality of [the] experience taking place between people, but everything will have a historical frame at some point [when experience is held only in a transferential way]. At first, the internalization of the other may substitute for the bringing forth of awareness, or for the internalization of fragmentation itself, or of negation itself, and so, sometimes we internalize negation itself, or fragmentation [itself]. I’m feeling fragmented long enough that I begin to internalize it and that becomes my raison d’être, my identity. Not to be in a fragmented state, or not to choose objects that are fragmenting, is really unfamiliar, strange, and weird. Object choice of fragmenting experience, of fragmenting people, becomes necessary for me because of the internalization of my own psychosomatic fragmentation. When the base of awareness is weak, I can internalize the other as a substitute [for the lack of my own base]. I can internalize my own fragmented psychosomatic experience. Something is better than nothing – and that something will be a partial base for me. Out of that internalized fragmented experience, I would choose others; I would choose people or situations that help continue the fragmentation, [for I am choosing, in an ongoing way,] out of the [original, fragmented] object choice. These internalizations themselves may serve as a base, a delusionary base, but a base nonetheless. Hatred itself may become a base of existence for some of us. Because something is better than nothing, the affect of hatred becomes a base, a support system, a guide, a norm, a source. When we start to give up these internalizations that are substitutes for the natural awareness, what starts to arise? The vacuum [arises]; we start to experience the vacuum, or the fundamental agonies, the fundamental fragmentation, which has been internalized as a mental object to help save myself. When you start to view [experience] this way, which is an object relationship way of looking at phenomena in a field of space, this way will help you not to be seduced by the content and the stories. [Often] you [as a therapist] struggle with solving a story, because [you believe that] underlying the stories are some structural, functional phenomena, however, sometimes a story is just a story.
Now we’ll talk about unformulated experience. These difficulties in integration not only reflect difficulties of integrating unformulated experience, but also [reflect difficulties of] splitting [that] may go further into the splitting of psychological and cognitive functions and of modalities such as thinking, imagination, sensation, memory, and the affective functions. Being in the presence [of awareness] to oneself and to others requires some integration of the various functions, especially the thinking function. Not only is experience itself becoming unformulated, but also my functions are unformulated in my experiential awareness. So if I don’t know how to think in experience, then this is a real pain in your butt what I’m doing right now. This [continual unformulatedness] would drive you crazy. If you try to think, “What’s he talking about?” and there is no experiential resonance taking place, this [experience of what is happening in this moment] would not be fun. If you are feeling some experiential resonance as you are thinking and feeling, then it will be interesting, and it will work better.
Someone was talking about mantras before…they help in terms of these great spiritual traditions and are really useful in dissolving and absorbing experience, which they do. Then, however, we start talking about how, even though we are multi-dimensional, someone may take a mantra and for this person it [the mantra] becomes a cognitive anchor point. That is also very useful, you know [as for example], “Jesus help me.” People use those things, but it’s a cognitive anchor point and gives people a sense of efficacy and hope, but it may not be transformative. It becomes transformative when it starts going down the levels of speech and becomes embodied. When it starts going into awareness itself, and it starts vibrating and pulsating with that mantra, then that mantra becomes absorption itself. A lot of things work like this. There are different levels. We like it in bad times, something to hold on to. Efficacy is good for all of us, it’s the great placebo effect. You feel some sense of efficacy, a little magical thinking goes a long way for a lot of things, however, going beyond that, when we start integrating thinking, when people do mantra repetition, if they go beyond obsessive compulsive thinking, beyond a dissociated state – a lot of mantra is dissociative stuff – it goes beyond that and gets assimilated. It starts getting felt. Don’t say it; feel it; sense it. Then it becomes alive in the body, and it has true power to assimilate what has to be assimilated.
So, we’re trying to assimilate our functions. When people come to see you for a problem, they aren’t going to see you just for fun! They are coming because of a problem, however, you want to take people’s problems very seriously, but how you are going to work on the problem may not be the way they are going to work on the problem, because it hasn’t worked for them. There may be a functional problem that really makes that problem really not solvable the way the person is trying to solve it. So again we go back to thinking. If my thinking is not in my awareness, I’m going to have some obsessional tendencies. So, actually to work, I am to feel thinking coming down and to feel thinking take place in my body, and to feel myself not just articulating from my associative mind – because that is not going to have a transformative [outcome], it will give insight, but won’t be transformative. Simply to learn to speak from awareness itself is a liberating moment, especially in terms of the obsession [the obsessive quality] of the thinking function not being in the field of awareness. That is why to be able to integrate, to be able to know if you hold awareness, is so vital. That is why every day you practice, you sit and hold it [hold awareness], for you want to be able to think, to feel, to go to the bathroom, and feel [experience] hatred in awareness. Feeling hatred in awareness feels much better than not being in awareness. You want to have memory in awareness so it [memory] has the same connotations [as awareness has]. They [memories held in awareness] become little pictures, and you start feeling bad because they don’t have the same sentimentalness’ [sentimentality as before you brought them into awareness]. Then [from the place of awareness], your equipment [your thinking, feeling, sensing, and remembering] is much better able to assimilate what is taking place.
[So, when a person is in awareness, we can also talk about] ‘nowness’. When one is not located, or able to locate oneself, in the awareness function, in presence, in nowness, then one’s own subjectivity seems to float about and can become located in dissociative functioning, such as thinking. So rather than subjectivity being in my body and in my heart – it’s really nice, the real home of subjectivity is in the inner heart area – but since my subjectivity floats, I may locate it in [the various functions of my mind].
I may locate it in the affective function: I think when I’m in the affect, I’m real. I was never real before, but now I’m in affect, and I’m Homo gestaltus. So every time I feel affect, I feel I’m alive, and if I don’t feel it, I’m not alive. I really am pushing for affect all the time, I always [go to feeling] in the encounter. Then people start to feel dread! Dread starts to arise. Initially it was great, but now as I walk around, affects raging this way and that way, a sea of sentimental moments, Lord Byron or whatever, and suddenly a field of dread starts to come. My subjectivity is located in the affective function, and if I’m not in the affect, I feel I don’t exist at that moment, or if I’m not in a particular ego state, I feel I don’t exist at that moment.
Some people get located in memory, especially as we get older. If we are located in memory, we’re located only in the past. Then as soon as I turn to the future, nothing but anxiety hits me, so most of my conversations are in the past. If awareness is not aware of awareness, subjectivity will float. It will be located in one of the five functions. Who says this? Masud Khan is a very great author who writes about [this getting caught in one function of the mind]. Like [for instance], there are five children in the family, and it’s pretty chaotic. One child tries to figure it all out, grows up to be a psychologist, thinks, thinks, thinks, experimental… The other person just sort of feels it, becomes a poet… another person just sort of gets sick about it, and becomes comatose somehow. Another person forecloses it, but the five functions become anchor points. Think about it. One of them has great fantasy… and becomes a great playwright. What I’m saying is that these functions of the mind are not incidental. Subjectivity, your awareness, can get located in one of the functions, which is not the only place.
Reading questions people have written and submitted:
[First question:] “Suppose you amplify the affect, and you enter that affect of hatred?”
Yes, hatred can be amplified with some awareness. If it’s amplified, and if it’s dissociated from awareness itself, you will not get the effect of awareness. If there is enough awareness there, however, and you open up an affect, then you will discover awareness itself. Affects are some configuration of awareness. When one gets better with working with awareness, one’s affects become channels of awareness itself. When one has an affect – love, hate…whatever – you will actually feel the awareness state getting stronger and stronger. So there is a change with affects. One thing about affects is that when a person works with their affects, and there is enough awareness, in the classical gestalt way, you are always trying to see if there is enough awareness to assimilate this affect. That is the fundamental thing you are always watching. Is there is enough awareness to assimilate what is taking place? Is there an ‘experiencer’ [at] home? If there is an affect that one has been using as a basic anchor point, if there is enough awareness or presence that has been cultivated, that affected self can open up, and what the yogi’s call ‘wisdom knowledge’ comes forth. Hate, love, fear, all of those [affects] can ultimately open to awareness itself. When you cultivate awareness of awareness you will find your affects can start to help resonate awareness. The affects themselves, rather than being an intra-psychic, solipsistic experience, become sources of resonance. That’s fun! Love is fun, hate is fun, you know? All those different experiences actually enhance awareness itself. There is a change that takes place where affect become resonance.
For some, the mind itself is one’s primary object and, at times, the only object. For some, the affective state is the primary object; for some, sensation becomes the organizing object. Also, it was mentioned, sensation likes pain, these sensations like pain, then I have the memory, it [pain] gets into this [memory], or [into] fantasy, or [into] my cognition about it, [my]affect [about it] – fear – one [function of mind] can organize the whole string of the other functions, and if I’m out of awareness, they can really get hyped. If I’m in awareness, it feels like they are contained and held and familiarized through the medium of awareness itself. It’s like water. In some [people], memory is the focal object of experience, and in some [people], imaginative fiction is the primary object.
Now we shift into integration of functions. Within the sense of oneness is the innate sense of awareness and, without being able to integrate one’s major functions into the field of awareness, into embodied awareness or self, then the sense of psychic oneness weakens and one will, more often than not, feel solipsistic, cut off, and suffering from unbearable loneliness. I may have lots of friends and people around me, but if I’m only in one function, I can’t really experience the information and the experience. That is why we talk about integrating the functions as really important to feel present in this world and to feel what’s there and available. Thinking can only assimilate so much experience. Without the access to experiential awareness – that is the key – some people have a hard time accessing it, but if you have access to it, then you can be of use to other people. As you start to think this way your sense of compassion will grow for people because you are not in the super ego, it’s not a moral issue, but you will see that some people are located in a function, and they can only do so much. So without access to the experiential awareness field, the ability to integrate the various ego functions and ongoing experience can be limited and diminished. One can become ambivalent to experience and distance oneself from experience because you can‘t quite assimilate it and process [it]. This [ambivalence and distancing of oneself] is not a function of bad will, nor is that person [necessarily] a sissy. [Rather than reacting in a judgmental way], you look instead at the functions. Within the field of the self or within the field of awareness, love and hate cannot be held simultaneously. The stronger my field of awareness is, the more I can hold love and hate together. IS that a big thing? That is a big thing! To be able to hold love and hate together in your own self, and love and hate for the same person, without splitting, is a really big deal.
So now we’re going into the integration of affects especially. There is a developmental stage where we start to do this [integration]. I gave you all an article on this, on this integration, on childhood developmental strategies… The capacity to integrate and to feel love and hate… does this help in relationships? It surely does. Sometimes you will feel hate and love, and you will feel them together, and they don’t negate each other. More often than not, if awareness isn’t strong enough, you can feel love, and something happens, and you can feel hate, then we start splitting into all good or all bad. The splitting starts to take place and has direct implications on how we hold relational life, over and over again. To be able to hold love and hate, good and bad, right and wrong, good dog and bad dog, all in the same awareness, is liberation. That is liberation. When you see green lights, blue lights, it’s nice, but if those lights aren’t holding love and hate, you are in deep doo-doo, because you are bound to hate somebody sometime whom you are close to. To be able to hold both those affects at the same time, in the awareness, when those affects start really resonating, you will then feel love and hate themselves configurating [or configuring] you into compassion. You will start to feel the self. You might hate a person for a second, but out of the resonance of hating that person, the awareness comes through. We all have some experience of this [holding of dual affects] in a very good moment. This [experience as a possibility] is useful to have in your mind, because if it’s not in your mind, it might not necessarily take place. To think possibility, to know possibility, is to open the door to it. To think it doesn’t make it happen though, but it does open the possibility. We’ll spend more time on this, but it’s a big issue for many of us – the capacity to hold the affective functions, where I can feel love and hate – whether it’s for spouse, friend, dog, children, or world, to [hold] both love and hate. Then you start going beyond that polarity. You never really get beyond it, but it actually begins to be a source of experiencing the field itself. When people in certain traditions want you to get rid of affects, you will start feeling pretty bored; you’ll probably want to die, because affects are sources of ecstasy. Both love and hate can allow us to be in this world with complete embodiment. When they start to work, as they are designed to work, love and hate can bring us into oneness. All of these experiences of affects are signals. They are really useful [for us] to know what is going on in this world. They are very useful: What you like and dislike; what’s dangerous and not. You want them [you want to experience them] in the way that they are actually functions of resonance. It [resonance] helps to dissolve fundamental ambivalence and helps to dissolve the splitting of the other person into all good or all bad that takes place, and we start to experience people as whole objects. [We start to experience] what is fantastic and what’s not so good. It [this experience] doesn’t destroy devotion. Devotion holds it [holds our affective experience]. And these affects, when held in awareness itself, are life enhancing. Rather than getting a weak ‘psychothink’ field, you’ll get a strong field, if you can hold both those affects. If you split them, they are going to split the person; the person becomes all good or all bad. That [splitting of affects] we want to overcome, and it takes a long time to overcome. They say it takes place at 15 months in the second year? Ha, ha, ha! The problem arises at 15 months in the second year. We all have a little of that borderline quality at some level. When you start gaining mastery of awareness, you leave that dilemma. Then people aren’t either devils or angels.
All sorts of fusions can take place as well. Holding love and hate, to have that skill [of holding both] is really good because you have love and because you have hate and because you know it, and so there is a container with them. When we don’t have that, we can split: Love, love, love or hate, hate, hate. Or what happens is they become fused, loved-filled hate, hate-filled love. That is messy! That is because awareness doesn’t have clarity in it. Michael Eagan writes about this so well. Just think about this in your own self. Are they fused, or are they somewhat [fused]? You know them [you know love and hate], and you can hold them in both hands – love/hate. But without awareness they can get really fused and that can get you into trouble. Of course, all of these fusions can be sexualized. This will influence object choice a lot.
Now we’ll move onto the lack of linking. I don’t mean cognitive linking, I mean experiential linking. When one does not sense the field of oneness within one’s own self, but instead senses intense fragmentation, this is often described as the lack of linking, or [lack of] synthesizing. The lack of a capacity to link, with its corresponding dissociation fragmentation, brings about the necessary foreclosure of experience. Inside, one can be plagued with the sense of emptiness, or abyss-like states or holes that can often be filled temporarily with addictive-like behaviors. One can be plagued by wordless agonies like falling apart, breaking apart, disintegrating, splintering. These states are existential and highly amplified at times. In these states there is no base, no bottom, no foundation of self, no psychic space, no light, no energy. It is a life of lack. Linking itself seems to be broken. Access [to self, to self in oneness] and to all of its various forms that can be utilized to create a sense of being alive, of existing, is foreclosed. What [Wilfred] Bion is pointing out here is when you don’t have enough awareness and it’s diminished, you can’t link a lot of stuff; you can’t hold it together. Awareness is the container of experience. When I don’t have that, I’m going to find myself living in extremes. Extremes help me feel alive. I really like the edge because I can feel alive and vibrant; I need really high states of intensity to come into a sense of beingness. I can’t link things. My thinking is doing one thing, while my affects are going this way, and my sensations are going that way. I have five horses going different ways.
Oneness is rather mysterious. Everybody wants oneness, this oneness of the field of one’s own awareness pervading one’s body or [pervading] one’s mind – the oneness of the container – and you will notice wherever you feel awareness, you will feel oneness. Say awareness is just in my head, not in my body yet, so I feel oneness in my head. So then I start to learn to extend awareness – really important. If I’m coming to see you and I have some awareness in my head, but no other place, because I have some pain or something, I start to learn to extend awareness through my whole body over and over again. Then I start feeling the centers waking up. That happens when people come to work, and they extend, and all the centers wake up. For some, that can be a trauma to feel the centers waking up.
To feel the sexual energy waking up, that can be a terrifying thing, especially if it got you in deep trouble a long time ago! You are talking to this person, doing energy work, and it starts to arise, it comes up your body, you become alive, and suddenly your heart is coming alive and feels like it’s creaking and feels like you are having a heart attack. You start to feel all this space coming into your chest, [all this] energy. This [waking up] is for ordinary people, not special people. Your hands start to vibrate; you think you have Parkinson’s disease! Then you start feeling oneness in your body for the first time in a long time. That happens. You are in bliss; you feel the natural bliss arise. Suddenly it clicks, and you feel like a whole person. At that point ego states dissolve… You feel good! All the problems are still there, but you feel oneness. Then you see your dog, and you feel a simple connection of oneness with the dog. You’re not the dog, you’re not blurred. You just feel a connection. You are in heaven. You feel a connection to your room; you’re in heaven. You sit in your car and feel oneness with your car… Extended states of awareness create oneness. It doesn’t mean you like everybody, but you feel a degree of oneness. If you are feeling solipsistic and alienated, oneness is a fantastic support…. perceptual oneness, oneness of the container, oneness of the perceptual field that links and integrates. If you have a strong awareness, you can be a little crazy, but as your awareness gets stronger you will be able to link things that could not be linked before. Thinking and feeling will be simultaneous. Haven’t you felt this in working in awareness? If you only do this [practice of experiencing oneness] here [in this seminar], then it’s encapsulated experience – going to church, – then it’s not your own.
If you to start to feel the perceptual field through your body, if you practice feeling it, you will start feeling the linking of things that have not been linked before, like thinking and feeling. When thinking goes this way and affects go the other way, [then the sense of being scattered or of falling apart is called ‘unlinking’]. It is the oneness of the perceptual field that links and integrates, absorbs, and dissolves the experience. The oneness of the experiential field within the body provides the sense of embodiment. If I only feel somewhat embodied here [points to the head], then I slowly begin to extend to here [points to the chest], then I go here [points to the belly], and I make the big jump and go below my navel, go into the pelvic area, and I have a whole body, a whole perceptual body. Then I have the base to have linking take place with my affective states and with my functions. This makes sense, doesn’t it? If I’m not in my body in awareness, and I don’t feel all the way through my body, it will be very hard for me to have love and hate. I might foreclose hate, or love. Or they get fused. [But really,] it’s interconnectivity. The field is by itself [by its very nature], inter-connective. In the inter-connectivity of the field, transformations can take place. The capacity to extend one’s awareness, one’s field, provides a broad base of experience and enables the integrating of our body and its functions [– thinking, hearing, feeling, seeing remembering…].
The intensification [of one’s field] provides capacity to assimilate experience. If you are just in a field, and it’s just a little milky, [it’s like] non-fat milk. That’s not much of a field. You want to work with intensity in the field. You don’t want to just be moonlight; you want to hold intensity, because if you can, it [the field] can assimilate intensity. You want substance. You want vitality. You really want to feel the Chi, the Shakti. You want to be able to work with intensity in the field. If your field cannot hold intensity, you will not be able to transform experience like you want to, or metabolize it. You want to have intensity without being tense, for your clients. If you can’t do it yourself, you can’t do it with your clients. Other things we can do, but for this [method], we are the instrument. If you cannot hold intensity without being really tense, it’s not going to work. There is a way in holding the intensity; you have to learn to hold it as a normal person. We have to look normal, feel normal, and act normal, and then you can carry intensity in your normal way. And you’re better at experiencing intensity, without a particular posture. If you are holding awareness, like in the morning when you practice, you want to bring in intensity, listen to music or whatever it might be, or raise the energy level, but intensity is useful. As your capacity for intensity increases, you will then find that you begin to have a greater sense of resonance with the world itself. If you have a weak field and you don’t have much intensity, it will be hard for you to feel the energy, to feel the intensity of the environment, that will come to you naturally if you are holding awareness. That means at times you want to work with intensity with your clients without getting physically tense, without being locked in. Everybody may take this [may take what I’ve just talked about] and do with it what you want. I’m not the model, there is no model really. You are getting a map to do whatever you want. Then whatever you do, you become your own self as a therapist. I work with many really great people; I go study and can be with them and learn what they are doing. But [whatever I study or learn,] I take it and make it my own. So you get the map and think what this means for you and how you carry it out.
The intensification of the field provides a capacity to assimilate experience. A lot of people meditate, but it’s thin. It’s weak. They get disturbed at the rippling of the paper. That’s a weak fish. You want to be able to have intensity in the awareness state. Then you can assimilate the experience. If you have weak awareness, then people who do this [who do therapy] as a profession, you are not going to be able to assimilate experience. The field of awareness itself is space and energy, and luminous. These statements reflect Winnicott’s discovery of the necessity of transitional space. The space inside that goes beyond inside, that is deeply within the personality, that space must be entered into for something to happen. This [aspect of awareness] brings us to potential space.
The field itself is potential space. It’s both activated, but more than that, it is potential. One holds a sense of potential space. It’s like Aristotle’s in potentiā, not in complete actuality yet. I think this [this not yet actualized space] is what the Buddhists mean by the ‘middle way’. It means in potential, pure potential. It’s also what the Buddhists mean by ‘Dharmakaya awareness’. If you feel a bit of potential in yourself one morning, you feel potential space that is Dharmakaya awareness. You feel open space, unbound, and you can feel the horizon. Maybe it’s just this [particular] form [of feeling the horizon], but it’s just that much unbound potential. Potential space allows you to transform. This [potential for transforming] is also Winnicott: Pure possibility where there was only foreclosure. Without potential space, something that could happen will not happen. Without potential space there can be no configuration. It’s like analysis or statistics, without some potential space, without little open categories, without degrees of freedom, you’re not going to get to certain levels of significance that you would like to get. You need some space there. The field underlies experience and experiencer. So if you can feel the field – I’m blabbing a lot – you are taking it [taking in what I’m saying] in light of your own interest and experience, and it’s a creative process for you. Even this, [what is being said and heard right now] is a creative process, and your life is a creative process because you keep leaning into newness, even if it’s the same old thing. You feel youth, light.
Sometimes events happen, and people do not experience the event. Only after activating and feeling the field, or creating the field, does the container [the experiencer] appear to hold and actually to have the experience. This is a very strange experience which happens a lot; events have happened, but they’ve never really experienced them. They can tell you all about them, but they never experienced them. They go into awareness, potential space, and that which was an event suddenly becomes an experience. Then a person thinks, “This is weird; this is too much; I’m not used to holding experience. I’m a victim of a lot of events, but experience? That is something else.” So, potential space brings forth the experience, whether we like it or not. Go into awareness, and moreover, [go to] where the person lost awareness, and they [that person] thinks, “No more of this for me,” [because they feel outside of awareness]. Yet, as soon as they go into awareness again, what comes up but space and the energy, and right where they stopped! This does happen; this is true. Where they quit, or stopped, they go into awareness, and here comes the same thing again. What? This is back again? How can this be? Then we experience through it and move on. Whether we like it or not, awareness will bring forth the experience and ‘unfinished business,’to use Fritz Perls’s language. Awareness itself is potential space, and you want to know that, [you want] to feel the opening, for suddenly, just as the person feels that [opening], the liberation and potential space arrive and here comes unfinished business.
The field is a state. The field of awareness does not mean cognition, or informational awareness, or conceptual awareness. It’s not a concept. Though, if we integrate thinking, we can have conceptual life. Like ‘one and one is two’; you may be in awareness and not knowing ‘one and one is two’. Or you may have cognitive awareness, like ‘I am aware of the field’. That is not awareness. Awareness is a mode of beingness. You feel in beingness of beingness itself. Field, awareness, is a non-conceptual state, content-less. There is not content, and no story there. IT is a field state. IT opens and closes and expands and contracts. It can get really tiny, or can be over there and have infinite horizons, the perception of it. But it is content-less. It is both a liberating feeling and an uncomfortable experience because there is no story. In that way, it is rather unsentimental. That is a strange appearance for people.
The field is potential, not actual. The field is always there in potentiality, in every person, in every being. Whoever comes in – the field is in potential, but it may not be in actuality. The field is completely pervasive in potentiality, in potential through the whole body. You want to know that as a self-object function, no matter who you are working with, you want to know it, not as a thought, but you want to feel that potential in that person’s body. Then you are a really good self-object function. You want to feel the potential. Whomever you are working with, it doesn’t mean it’s in actuality; you want to feel it, not think it, feel it, perceive it, to sense the possibility. If you feel that, then it is more highly probable that the person himself will become more highly activated. This is really true. The more you have a sense of the potential in your own body, and you feel how you are able to activate it through skillful means, the more you feel it in whoever that other person is, whatever they are; you feel it with confidence. Then it is absolutely probable that field will come forth in them. That is the power of the field of awareness. IF you think it, it opens the possibility, but if you feel it, then it’s more probable the person’s field will come forth. That is what great healers do, no matter what tradition; they feel the field wherever it’s at. That helps bring it forth. Also, when people whom you know and love are suffering, you should feel the field in them. You can beg and pray if you want, you can worry, but I believe that out of experience you feel the field in that person; you focus your experience, and you hold them in the field, and you know it’s in them, you feel it in them; it will help bring it forth. That is givenness. When you become aware of awareness, you realize, in your own body, the givenness. As you enter the field, it’s like the final givenness; you will feel that it’s not only been given to you, it is giving to you even at this moment. It’s a gift. I’m not talking about believing it, but if you enter experience, you will feel the givenness and giving at the same time out of the connection of the people whom you are working with, which is compassion. It’s not just sensing the best; you want to feel that potential. You want to feel the givenness in them also. To see it is to bring it forth; to sense it is to bring it forth. Do you believe that, or is it just idealistic stupidity? You have to practice it and bring it forth. To sense it and have the power of feeling it in the person who is coming to you out of your destiny. You want to be able to feel that in that person, and if you want to work with the field, you have to develop that capacity. You want to develop this, not as a theory, but to feel it…there it is. That is the power of the self-object function coming forth. It doesn’t mean you are the cause of it, but you are a circumstance of the possibility of actuality taking place. Mother looks at her little baby, feels that [possibility] in a baby, and awareness gets stronger and stronger. Two lovers feel it, sense it in the other; they don’t know what it is; the field is activated, and they are contained in that. This is all very natural; this is not supernatural. If you think it is supernatural, then I’m not being clear enough.
Oneness with the other and through the other:
The oneness is with ourselves in the field as the field. So, I don’t have a field; I am the field. The field is the medium for the mutual oneness that arises out of extension or resonance. Extension really is the effortful side of resonance. Awareness to awareness, self to self, inter-subjective connectivity, the invisible oneness of awareness arises from inside to inside, from within to within, in the best moments, becoming one space. This is the most natural of phenomena. There is the oneness of love, wherever true love takes place, or arises, there is a oneness of the innermost awareness. Working with awareness is not the same as working with a word, a gesture, look, or movement. All of these [things] can be a part [of awareness], but the field [itself] is [fully] present, or it’s not present. We could be working on becoming present. We’re talking about potential to actual. You want to have the skill of finding potential space in your own self. Without efficacy in this area, you will not feel the creativity. We can all work on the past; we can all work on our super ego, on all of those structures on and on; easy, easy, easy. Freedom is going beyond those dialogues. Some people have to go through the dialogues a thousand times, but in actuality, the stronger the field, [the more one is able] to go beyond the dialogues and not have those as the anchor for your life, therapy for your life – your client’s life, because potential space is not just within me; potential space is in front of me too. Without potential space and feeling it in front of you, not just within you, you will not have authorship of what takes place tomorrow or today. It [intention] is a phenomenon of potential space, not just an idea, a sense, a reality that is not coming to fruition yet. The stronger the field is, [the more I may experience] the field as not just inside of my body. When I start feeling the field in front of me and around me, then I have potential space. Until I feel it in front of me, I will not be able to start making something happen. There is a book, I don’t even know if I like the guy, I met him, but the title is fantastic, ‘Buddha Is as Buddha Does.’ That is a fantastic title. It really speaks to what awareness is. I can’t wait to buy the book - what takes place in action. The yogis say, “Knowledge is Action,” – true gnosis is action. You want to be able to feel it in your body and [to feel it] right in the present, to have the eyes and nose to feel potential space.
A question or response, inaudible… then finally the speaker gets the microphone… “…The way I understand potential space is that we are more than the sum of our actions, so I’m having a little bit of a…”
Potential space is the potential for any action. It’s an undeterminable; its’ not a result; it’s source; it’s not being more than the sum of the actions. Potential space is the capacity to bring forth action, to have something happen and nothing happen at all. For many people it is the same thing happening over and over again, even if they are having lots of new things. For us here, we just want to think, “What is this guy talking about?” Do I feel it, or is it foreclosed for me? IF it is foreclosed, how can I feel it in me, how can I find it, and what does it look like?
Let’s sit for a minute. If your super ego does come in as good dog/bad dog, you have to [address that]; so the problem with potential space, the first thing that stops, is the super ego. You have unbearable judgments. Potential space has no judgment in it. It is a nonjudgmental place. It is indeterminate. Do you feel at this moment, potential space in front of you? Do you feel at this moment, actually in front of you is possibility, open space? It’s open in front of you. Extend your own awareness beyond your body boundaries. Are you holding the field or are you in the field? Do you feel that dimension in front of you right this moment? If so, what does it feel like? What does the room feel like? In its best moments, its true moments, the field is not an intra-psychic phenomenon. Therefore, you have to cut through the boundaries of your body. It’s like punching through a paper bag. Do you feel yourself beyond your body boundaries? Or it is an intra-psychic affair? Stay with it for a moment… Can you carry it with you? If you feel potential space in front of you, and if you are beyond the body, it is a movement. The field moves. Can you feel the movement, see the movement, and feel the possibilities?
[A comment from someone] “It seemed that there was a bit of a horizon quality to it.”
Yes, there is a horizon to it – infinite possibilities, but it may only go this far….
[The person continues with further comment] “Again, it felt like momentum, like a movement that I was carrying. It was comfortable. It was definitely motion because I could feel it in my body.“
Yes, it is stillness in motion, not just stillness. You think awareness is just stillness, like you can’t go to the bathroom with it, you’re not in awareness.
“I can feel something between us, I’m not quite sure what it is, but I feel connection.”
We were having an intra-psychic moment. It’s not just...
“It doesn’t feel like a transaction, it’s a flow.”
If nothing happens in your life, this may be really useful in your life. You might really wonder, and you’ve done all this stuff to cultivate awareness, but it’s an intra-psychic affair, not quite the true leap over…
“It does act as a vehicle? “
It’s a vehicle, a medium, the medium of creativity, potential space…
“Is it a felt possibility?”
Yes. It’s not just something inside.
To break into the world, like the Garuda bird did. The shell breaks open; he’s out of the shell of encapsulated awareness. It’s nice in the shell, but he breaks out and flies into the sky. So you want to cut through when you feel that it is compelling. I know we all feel it; we’re just not all recognizing that which we are feeling, the compellingness. The very perception of the field localizes the field in oneself as oneself, and the very perception of being beyond one’s body localizes the field everywhere!