How We Get Here Part 1

This is a rough and unrefined condensation of some of what I’m reading. I don’t claim to have answers but I will write without tenuousness. I’m not entirely sure of all the concepts and am not seeking debate. I’m just looking to sort it out for myself here.
I am going to die someday. Sooner or later, fast or slow, it will happen. I was raised in a religion that depicted heaven, purgatory, and hell, and I felt fear. I left that religion and in my early 30s was bound up in it again, until the absolutism of the dogma and some epiphanies in graduate school prompted me to part ways entirely. I’ve been inarticulate about dying and what happens since then.

I used to wonder what I was before I was born. An atheist will simply say that we just did not exist, and after we die, we just won’t exist. Aside from the terror my ego feels (how can I not exist? what happens to me?), I know there is something else beyond this life. But before I can get to that understanding for myself, I need to understand how I came to be where, what, and who I am now.

We start out within the Ground of Being. We are part of it. The Ground of Being is life, and it is non-life. It is consciousness and not-consciousness. It is energy, it is matter. As Douglas Adams titled his book, it is Life, the Universe, and Everything. Before we are born we are part of it. This is a pre-ego state, a state of preconsciousness, a state of undifferentiation and no individuation. We are raw material.

So how to we get to where we are, with identities and attachments and all that this life entails?

In Singh’s book, she writes:

As we emerge out of the Ground of Being and into the physical world as a separate life-in-form, “trailing clouds of glory,” we are in a preegoic, prepersonal state. At birth we are only minimally differentiated from the Ground of Being. Inner and outer realities remain somewhat fused initially, and all awareness lies inarticulate, still partially embedded in the Ground of Being.

We start out this way, and at first we are all body: hunger, fatigue, touch, instinct. If you’ve ever been with an infant you know this. Then the remarkable changes happen as the infant’s brain grows, as concept and words develop. We develop a sense of self: me, mine, and of other, not-me. Babies start out unaware of separation and then become a aware. The First Dualism emerges on the journey to the ego.

We develop a sense of space and what is and is not ours. We realize where we end and another begins, the gap between subject and object. Then the Second Dualism develops: the sense of time, an awareness of past, present, and future, life and death.

The First Dualism, the first boundary, separates us from the experience of wholeness. Anxiety appears, as does repression and defensiveness.

Primal repression is a psychological as well as physical posture that, inwardly, begins to seal off or repress pure, inpouring Energy, the animating power of the Ground of Being. The Ground of Being, with its enchantment and ability to engulf, begins to be perceived as threatening.

Thus in our early childhood we close off our connection to the Source from which we came. We continue to split ourselves in early to middle childhood by forging a distinction between mind and body, the Third Dualism. “We lose our deep integrity, the unity of body and mind, which is the unity of feeling and attention — the ability to be present.” Our mind is given more authority as a judge or filter of reality. And then the Fourth Dualism arises: The split between persona and shadow, that is, between the person we believe we are, that we accept, that we show the world, and all the other parts of us that we disown, dislike, judge, fear, and hide from ourselves and others.

And this, according to the Christian theology I grew up with, completes our ejection from the Garden of Eden. We are part of the garden (Ground of Being), we are born, then we taste knowledge (the Dualisms, development of ego), which separates us from unity with the Ground of Being. I just don’t buy the crap about Eve (woman) being the one who fell to the temptation first (does it really matter?), and I don’t think of the “fall” as really All That Bad. It is just what is, and it is part of our evolution, our journey, through the experience we are having in this form and function, in this physical world.

And now my child is calling from her nap, and I must dash.

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One Comment on “How We Get Here Part 1”

  1. Linda1 Says:

    Very interesting….please keep your thoughts coming!