How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

In the spiritual community, we talk a lot about oneness and unity, and you may occasionally hear the term “separation consciousness.”

Separation consciousness is a lower level of awareness wherein a person cannot perceive the interconnectedness of all beings or their connection to their own divinity and God/Source.

You’ll see a lot of New Agers refer to this as the reason why we aren’t able to recognize our spiritual oneness and they will attribute it to the human ego, but separation consciousness goes much deeper than just the energetic and personal level, it’s also manifested into the world around us as tribalism. We have different groups and factions that see themselves as being independent of one another, and in many instances, diametrically opposed, for example, Republicans vs. Democrats, capitalism vs. socialism, fascism vs. communism, etc.

Within the spiritual community, the concept of a diametric opposition in and of itself is often labeled as separation consciousness, but what many of these people don’t realize is that much of their own doctrine is also infiltrated by separation consciousness.

Individualism in the West

Individualism is a social theory that places heavy emphasis on self worth, self-reliance, individuality, personal freedom, and personal responsibility. It is extremely evident in Western culture, particularly in the United States. The very concept of the American Dream–that if one works hard enough, they will achieve prosperity–is rooted in individualistic thinking.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s healthy for people to have a personal sense of independence rather than being codependent, being self-reliant is a valuable skill to cultivate, and we do all need to have a healthy sense of responsibility for ourselves.

That said, when the values of individualism are taken to an extreme, it becomes toxic just like anything else. Extreme individualism assumes that everyone in the collective is independently responsible for their own circumstances. One’s worth to the collective is often measured by their level of material success and that worth is largely expected to be earned and proven by hard work. In other words, this line of thinking correlates a person’s worth as a human being with their ability to produce goods and amass wealth.

Extreme individualism dehumanizes people by only valuing their economic output. It ignores or dismisses complex social factors and systemic oppression, and implies that anyone who has been systemically disadvantaged is simply lazy–i.e. unworthy. This is nowhere more apparent than in the prosperity gospel preached by many Christian Evangelicals that says god rewards good people with financial success, which automatically implies that poor people are unworthy of God’s love (even though Jesus himself said blessed are the poor…).

Extreme individualism also often leaves the individualist feeling as though they owe nothing to the collective other than to be a hard worker, which allows them to avoid social responsibility and accountability. This, of course, also allows the individualist to avoid having to feel responsible or be held accountable for the way their actions may affect the collective they live in.

Any time someone chooses “my rights” and “my freedoms” over and above what is good for the whole of society, they are acting from separation consciousness.

Westernized (Americanized) Spirituality

Extreme individualism is antithetical to unity consciousness, because it values one’s self above the collective. It doesn’t view the collective holistically as “one.”

This philosophy shows up in spirituality most often dressed as Law of Attraction, manifestation, and extreme personal empowerment rhetoric:

  • You are the absolute creator of your reality
  • Energy flows where attention goes / what you pay attention to becomes real
  • You are responsible for all of your negative experiences
  • Your scarcity mentality is responsible for your financial situation
  • No one will love you until you love yourself
  • Surround yourself with people who are living the lifestyle you want to have

These concepts reinforce unworthiness, ignore collective karma, disregard the effects of trauma and abuse, and dismiss the consequences of societal structures that oppress others by assuming that the oppressed have a victim mentality and are simply manifesting their own abuse. You are not responsible for your trauma, but you are responsible for healing your trauma, and in order for trauma to be healed and abusive karmic cycles to end, abusers must be held accountable along with the culture that enables them.

Learn why we don’t manifest abuse.

The idea that we are the absolute creators of our reality is an especially obvious example of separation consciousness because it completely ignores the existence of everyone else on the planet and is the polar opposite of the much touted concept in spirituality that “we are all connected.” You are the absolute creator of your thoughts and beliefs about reality only after you’ve deconditioned yourself from childhood and societal programming and healed your trauma. However, you are not the absolute creator of your physical reality and your actions have real repercussions and consequences that affect other people.

“Energy flows where attention goes” and “what you pay attention to becomes your reality” applies on an energetic level and within your belief systems, and only manifests in the real world through the actions (or inactions) that you take with regard to those belief systems. If one is not careful of how they apply this platitude, it can greatly contribute to spiritual and emotional bypassing. It is the core belief that results in spiritual people ignoring acts of violence, abuse, and systemic oppression.

In spirituality, we recognize that every human being is inherently worthy of being loved, even the ones we don’t necessarily like. That worthiness also extends to having their basic survival needs met. Love and survival isn’t something that human beings should have to earn.

The concept that we should have to earn love, as well as the perception of good and evil comes from separation consciousness:

When we incarnate here, we forget who we really are (that we are love and that everything is love) and in that forgetfulness, we have the perception that there is a lack of love–that love is scarce.

 

Fear-based belief systems are rooted in duality–the concept that there is a polarization of good and evil. They have not yet recognized that the foundation of the Universe is love, and the only thing that makes it appear as fear is their own limited understanding of it. – Why Fear-Based Beliefs Are Distorted

Individualism is also largely behind the explosion of The Secret and Law of Attraction and why business coaches have now integrated manifestation techniques into their marketing rhetoric as business gimmicks. These people have no true commitment to inner work because they are primarily motivated by desire, success, and money.

This attitude is also extremely evident in hustle culture, which reinforces individualistic philosophy, consistently shames people for not being productive, and neglects the importance of self-care and balance. When you say “surround yourself with people who are living the lifestyle you want to have” as applied to material wealth, it eliminates the perspectives the majority of the (poor) people in the collective and “others” them as unworthy of your time and attention. Instead, I suggest you surround yourself with people who demonstrate the values you wish to embody: integrity, depth, accountability, authenticity, humility.

Learn about materialistic spirituality.

Finally, from a spiritual perspective, our sense of individuality is our ego and it is the literal mechanism that allows us to experience separateness. When one only recognizes themselves as the absolute god of their individual physical reality, and does not recognize that everyone else on the planet is co-creating a physical existence along with them because we are all, collectively, God, well that’s the ultimate level of narcissism and the epitome of separation consciousness.

Spiritual Hierarchies

The hierarchical view of spirituality that labels some beings as more advanced or more enlightened than others is another way separation consciousness can show up in spirituality.

When narcissism invades spirituality, labels like lightworker and ascended master, psychic, intuitive, empath, incarnate angel, etc. become avenues for people to set themselves apart from everyone else–mainly by presenting the illusion that they are “better than.”

Pay attention who uses these labels and how much humility they express. Anyone using them as an avenue to accrue power, authority, or attention are operating from separation consciousness.

Healthy Interdependence

When you lean too far in one direction, individualism becomes materialistic selfishness and narcissism, and can also lead people to become too independent and avoid meaningful connection. Human beings are social creatures. We need each other, and we require connection in order to be mentally healthy. But when you go too far in the other direction it manifests as codependent relationships, neediness, energetic vampirism, and entitlement. For this reason, individualism espouses some important concepts that can be valuable when they are recognized in their proper context and not taken to an extreme.

In order for us to have a healthy sense of individuality, we must find balance and recognize the importance of healthy interdependence. While we are all individuals, we are also incredibly interconnected and our actions affect one another. This is what spirituality is attempting to teach us. This is unity consciousness.

Many of the concepts I mentioned earlier that spiritual people attempt to shun or avoid in the name of oneness because they view them to be dualistic and diametrically opposed are, in reality, unity consciousness opposing separation consciousness.

By condemning or avoiding these things, the spiritual community is actually engaging in spiritual bypassing and preventing the very ascension they claim to be here to facilitate!

Learn about spiritual bypassing and ascension.

We have to observe the lesson in the energies of Aquarius where the individual is valued just as much as the individual’s contribution to the collective. Aquarius recognizes that our unique gifts and experiences are our very contribution to that collective.

Start asking yourself some important questions:

  • Where have I been embodying separation consciousness in my spirituality?
  • Where have I been embodying separation consciousness in other areas of my beliefs and attitudes?
  • Who are the people promoting separation consciousness in the form of extreme individualism?
  • How can I bring myself back into balance and support the liberation of the collective, not just myself?
Xo,

Ash

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Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

I’ve been more comfortable being alone for most of my life.

With the exception of a five-year marriage and the two years we dated prior to that, my longest relationship was six months. I had three of those, all before the age of 20, and then I was steadfastly single until I met my ex-husband at age 26.

Looking back, I can see how I mostly only allowed myself to be attached to people that it wouldn’t hurt to lose. The longest I can remember being upset about a breakup was two days when I was 17.

I was always the one who ended the relationships, and typically it was only after I’d let my unhappiness fester for so long that I couldn’t even stand for the other person to touch me anymore. I felt like I had to have a reason—the fact that I just wasn’t into the relationship anymore wasn’t good enough.

When I was 19 and had been with my boyfriend at the time for about six months, he asked me, point blank: “Where do you see our relationship in two years?”

Me, being the complete commitment phobe that I was, replied, “I have no idea. I don’t plan that far ahead. Where do you see our relationship in two years?”

He told me he hoped we’d be engaged. I broke up with him a week later, and never dated anyone longer than three weeks for the next six years.

At 28, I came into my marriage (with a once-divorced man who was 12 years older than me) having no real relationship experience. In retrospect, the fact that either of us thought this was going to work is somewhat absurd, but I suppose we were both still living in the fairytale fantasy that you meet someone who is perfectly compatible with you and live happily ever after—and we were highly compatible people, but compatibility is not synonymous with intimacy.

Up to that point, my M.O. was to avoid conflict for as long as possible, withhold my feelings, and ignore my needs. The truth is, I didn’t even know what my needs were, much less what I wanted in a relationship. Much like anyone in their twenties, I didn’t even know who the fuck I was.

In addition to having no real depth of understanding of myself, I never learned conflict resolution skills. I assumed my unhappiness was due to some fatal personality conflict, and ending the relationship and starting over with someone else seemed easier.

This, of course, led to a cyclical repetition of the same relationship scenario over and over, always with the same person wearing a different face, because I never took the time to stop reflect on myself or why it kept happening.

I would enter into a safe relationship with someone who accommodated my fear of intimacy and attachment, then I’d become dissatisfied with the lack of intimacy and attachment, then wait for an excuse—any excuse—to end said relationship. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

 

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It wasn’t until I was 33 that I began to recognize my need for connection and intimacy, or how my own fear of it had led me to choose partners who couldn’t give it to me. This was also the same timeframe in which I began to see that I had no idea who I really was, culminating in the realization that the life I was living felt like it didn’t belong to me.

The last two years have been spent deconstructing anything about myself that didn’t feel authentic and patiently seeking that which was. You can’t possibly have a successful relationship with another person until you have achieved a successful relationship with yourself.

That’s what real personal development looks like: digging below the surface level interactions between you and your partner and uncovering the underlying subconscious motivations that drive your behavior—then working to heal it at the core, instead of continuing to apply bandaids.

Your twenties are for fucking up your life and your thirties are for seeing how fucked up your life is and committing to changing it—if, that is, you’re willing to do the hard work instead of continuing to repeat the cycle.


Note: This post originally appeared on my Instagram. I’ve been writing a lot over there and I’ll be sharing some of those posts here in the coming weeks. If you’re on Instagram, I’d love it if you’d pop over and hang out with me >>>click here<<< or on the embedded photo up there.

Xo,

Ash

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Shame and Codependency

Shame and Codependency

Shame and Codependency

Last week I answered a question from a reader about addiction and discussed how a lack of self love and acceptance presenting as toxic shame often lies at the core of addiction. Today I want to talk a little more about what lies underneath addiction and about the other dynamic involved with it–codependency, and how shame, usually resultant from abuse, lies at the core of both of these wounds.

What is shame, anyway?

Shame is guilt, internalized. You feel guilty for something you did, but still recognize that you, yourself, are an inherently good person worthy of love. You feel shame about who you are. When shame rises from a fundamental underlying belief that you are unworthy of love, rather than in reaction to external events, it has become internalized. When shame becomes internalized, it becomes toxic.

Toxic Shame: In most cases, shame becomes internalized or toxic from chronic or intense experiences of shame in childhood. Parents can unintentionally transfer their shame to their children through verbal messages or nonverbal behavior. For an example, a child might feel unloved in reaction to a parent’s depression, indifference, absence, or irritability or feel inadequate due to a parent’s competitiveness or over-correcting behavior. Children need to feel uniquely loved by both parents. When that connection is breached, such as when a child is scolded harshly, children feel alone and ashamed, unless the parent-child bond of love is soon repaired. However, even if shame has been internalized, it can be surmounted by later positive experiences.

 

If not healed, toxic shame can lead to aggression, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. It generates low self-esteem, anxiety, irrational guilt, perfectionism, and codependency, and it limits our ability to enjoy satisfying relationships and professional success.

Life With Internalized Shame

Living with intense amounts of internalized shame can make every day a constant struggle. In many instances, the shame creates anxiety around day-to-day activities and depression can occur frequently, resulting in a state of seeming paralysis or stagnation. Someone suffering from toxic shame may constantly feel like a failure and as a result, they experience anxiety about doing anything, because they are afraid of failing and proving themselves correct. But this inaction, or paralysis, is a self-destructive behavior that often hinders them from taking the steps they need to in order to succeed, and when they refuse to act, they still feel like a failure and create a self-fulfilling prophecy, which once again triggers their underlying shame, resulting in a shame cycle that spirals into depression. These cycles can often lead to addictive behavior.

Aggressive emotional outbursts may also occur when the underlying shame is triggered. The person feels emotional pain which leads to an eruption of anger, after which they often feel a sense of guilt for their outburst and another shame cycle begins.

Shame is pervasive and can affect multiple facets of a person’s life including their thoughts about themselves in relation to their career, their appearance, their relationships, their friendships–it seeps into every aspect of their lives.

Internalized Shame and Relationships

When someone feels inherently unworthy of everything life has to offer, the only way they can find worth is by seeking it through approval from another, often a romantic partner. This is where codependency becomes an issue. Partners are often placed on a pedestal because the person suffering from shame has such ingrained feelings of worthlessness that they can’t believe someone would love them. In many cases, this too results in self-sabotaging behavior and the relationship falls apart.

Codependency: a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.

“Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn’t have self-sufficiency or autonomy,” says Scott Wetzler, PhD, psychology division chief at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “One or both parties depend on their loved ones for fulfillment.” –Are you in a codependent relationship?

In codependent relationships, one partner will often sacrifice his or her own emotional needs for the sake of the other, because they rely on the other’s approval to feel good about themselves. It’s important to encourage your loved one’s emotional independence and identity. Support them in their efforts to heal themselves and give them a healthy amount of space, allowing them to cultivate their own identity.

The Other Half of Codependency

Previously it was thought that codependency was specifically a part of an addiction dynamic, and those who grew up in an environment where one parent was an addict would display codependent tendencies of needing to “rescue” others as a way of reenacting attempts to rescue the addicted parent. Now it’s widely recognized that codependent dynamics are generated by much broader circumstances as noted in the section above about shame, and that codependent dynamics aren’t so much about rescuing another as they are about earning love and proving worth.

People who exhibit codependent relationship often end up attracted to individuals with addictions, mental illness, avoidant attachment personalities, or a sufferer of some other issue that consistently prevents them from providing another individual with a healthy, whole relationship. This dynamic feels familiar to someone who was primed for codependency as a child because it mirrors the same family dynamics that they grew up with. This feeling of lack or need for self-sacrifice is what was modeled for them by their parents, and they learned that this is what love looks like, so they are attracted to that same vibrational frequency in future romantic partners until the underlying core wound is addressed.

Codependency in romantic relationships is one of the most common issues we have in our society and romanticized notions of it can be found throughout pop culture, mainly in storylines where a man rescues a damsel in distress or where a woman’s love somehow redeems an otherwise disaster of a partner.

While it’s true that love can heal and unconditional love is the environment in which every wounded person can begin that process, it can’t be forced on them. The person in need of constant rescue or redemption can’t achieve this from outside means. They have to rescue and redeem themselves.

The dynamic inherent in codependent relationships is that someone is giving and the other person is taking. In healthy relationships, both partners give and receive equally. No healthy partnership will require you to rescue, redeem, or otherwise sacrifice yourself in order to be happy.

And this can go both ways! The most common codependent relationship dynamic I’ve seen is a man in need of redemption trying to earn love by financially rescuing a damsel in distress, who believes she can redeem him with her love and finally earn the kind of deep connection she’s been craving. She gives love and gives love and becomes resentful because she’s not receiving the connection she desires. He provides and provides, and feels financially drained and under appreciated for his efforts to financially rescue her and becomes resentful.

He doesn’t know how to connect the way she wants because he’s not connected to himself–hence why he’s in need of redemption, and she can’t appreciate what he provides for her because she’s never provided it for herself. They can’t save each other, no matter how hard they try, because they can’t even save themselves. They are both codependent, self-sacrificing givers as well as takers, in inconsistent and unbalanced ways.

If you find yourself in the kind of dynamic where you are constantly giving and unable to receive what you need in return, you have to start asking yourself what you are looking for and why you’re attracted to people who are incapable of giving it to you. Why do you need to fix or rescue people? What childhood relationship does this dynamic mirror? Which family member were you always expected to fix or rescue?

You’ll want to start recognizing the unhealthy, codependent dynamics involved in that relationship and your subsequent ones, and learn how to look for red flags. You were taught to normalize red flags as a child, because you had to in order to survive, but that coping mechanism is no longer serving you in your adult life.

Mark Groves, @createthelove on Instagram, is a great source for information about overcoming codependent dynamics in relationships.

Part 1 | Part 2

Xo,

Ash

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