Psychology of Awakening
Essence Work according to A.H. Almaas is a unique symbiosis between Western humanistic psychology, developmental and depth psychology as well as Sufism and methods derived from it, which have their origins in the Middle East. The work is based on the understanding that we need to "bring together psychological and spiritual work. Only then true transformation is possible. This synthesis is necessary for deep and lasting growth" (Turiya Hanover & Rafia Morgan)
This work, as I offer it, builds on the school of A.H. Almaas. This provides us with a map of the human psyche that shows us the way to self-realization. A path that allows us to reconnect with our essential qualities such as essential will, trust, confidence, courage, strength, vitality, power, stillness, peace, love, compassion and joy. The Sufis call these basic essential qualities the Lataif.
The term Psychology of Awakening was coined by my teachers Rafia Morgan and Turiya Hanover, because this work is about going beyond the ego mind and getting back in touch with our essence, i.e. getting in touch with who we really are. Our ego structure is not what we really are. As a child, this ego or personality structure served us to align our lives according to the guidelines of our parents, so that we felt loved and therefore safe. We had to find a way to feel loved and avoid disapproval and rejection. This was of utmost importance for our survival. But in most cases, the personality structure we developed as children has not only become superfluous, but often even a hindrance to our lives, now that we are adults. And yet most of us live this way all our lives without even being aware of it.
Osho, an Indian contemporary mystic, explains why this approach is so important in this day and age:
“In these twenty-five centuries man has become so burdened with rubbish, so many wild weeds have grown in his being that I am using therapy just to clean the ground, take away the wild weeds, the roots, so the difference between the ancient man and the modern man is destroyed. The modern man has to be made as innocent as the ancient man, as simple, as natural. He has lost all these great qualities. The therapist has to help him but his work is only a preparation. It is not the end. The end part is going to be meditation.”
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
The Superego, also called the ‘Inner Judge’ or ‘Inner Critic’, is the part of our psyche, which reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly taught by parents during our early childhood. It is that part of our mind, which has learned the ‘rules’ from authorities and people we were dependent on in our early life.
Our personality fixated in a particular way as an intelligent strategy to survive in the environment we grew up in. Intrinsic to this strategy is a knowing of the rules that work in that environment. Therefore, whenever we feel the impulse to expand or grow into a way of being, which is outside that structure, our Superego will object, judge, threaten, intimidate, and criticize in such a way as to cause us to hesitate, shrink, and reconsider our impulse for change.
Relationships with others will often harbor similar dynamics as those we experienced as children with our parents. In this way, the other will often reflect our own superego. This is unpleasant but with awareness can help us recognize, understand, and deal with the Superego. This is primarily because we frequently project our Superego onto certain individuals, usually those ones we are close to. This projection is a defense mechanism and helps to keep the Superego unconscious, just as any defense mechanism does. In paying attention to our relationships and trying to assimilate our experiences with others in this context we will become aware of how the other often reflects our own Superego’s voice.
Superego stands against the expansion of awareness and inner development. It maintains the status quo of the personality structure and fights any changes to it that we might want to achieve through therapy or other forms of inner growth work. So it is essential that we include Superego into our inner work, no matter what technique we use. It’s paramount that the counselor or therapist is aware of his or her own Superego and has the ability to spot and work with the client’s Superego. Only by bringing this mechanism into awareness can we transcend and truly break free.
My role as a counselor here is to help you to become aware of and recognize the Superego within yourself. Only if you can discern the Superego from your truth you will feel truly empowered to steer your life in the right direction.
Learning how to deal with the Superego is paramount if you want any therapy to work long term. For lasting results of any kind of inner work, it is essential to be able to recognize and deal with the Superego effectively. Get in touch today and let me help you master this critical step.
The Theory of Holes
One of the basic ideas of essence work is the theory of holes: Almaas explains it like this: People, as they live their normal lives, are "covered" with "holes". This sounds a bit strange at first. But let me explain what is meant here. A hole refers to something that has been lost. In this context Almaas refers to an essential quality, e.g. love, strength, courage, trust, value etc. Lost in this context means that we are no longer aware of their existence. What then remains is a hole, a deficit, so to speak, a feeling of lack. It is a certain aspect of our very own essence that we are no longer aware of, i.e. we stop embodying it. The feeling arises that something is missing. This can be the loss of love and compassion, the loss of value, the loss of the ability to make contact, the loss of joy, courage, power, strength, peace, confidence, trust, personal value or clarity. But when this is lost, it is not lost forever. You are simply cut off from it. An indication that we are facing a hole can be the presence of desires and needs, especially when they are compulsive.
Our personality (also called ego-mind above) is considered an incomplete replacement of our essence. One could say that our personality has tried to fill these "holes" and in return has tried to imitate that aspect of our essence. Each of these holes is "filled" with a particular psychological theme. In addition, beliefs and memories of situations that led to the loss of essence, as well as feelings and mechanisms that prevent us from consciously perceiving this deficiency, can be related to it. In order to reconnect to a particular aspect of our essence, we must allow ourselves to feel and explore the deficiency, with all that is attached to it. If we allow ourselves to feel the lack, i.e. the hole, and to be present with it, we come back into contact with the essence. It requires expert guidance to help you recognize any dimension of essence as it emerges. An essential quality develops very quickly the moment it is seen and recognized. If we do not recognize it, it remains asleep. The moment it is recognized, it begins to grow.
For those who want to learn more, here is a wonderful interview with A.H. Almaas about the theory of holes. (Just click on the icon and the PDF will open)
Push towards God, gamble everything for love, if not leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God. But then you keep stopping for long periods At mean-spirited guesthouses.
What's the point of this work?
Every issue, problem, defense, projection, blockage, an experience of emptiness, anxiety, tension, an emotional upset can be a doorway to our Being. This work is based on the understanding that these feelings come up generally relate to a loss of the connection to Being, and that on one level the ego is trying to recover this connection and resolve the loss by doing, efforting, feeling justified, defending, projecting, withdrawing, transference, having strong emotions, analyzing and over-thinking things. While working on the 'ego-level' may relieve some suffering and help the client to some extent, the deeper resolution happens through reconnecting to our Being that we have lost contact with through adverse childhood experiences.
The understanding of the Psychology of Awakening is that there is no true resolution on an ego level. People can change their outer circumstances and raise the level of comfort, safety, enjoyment, and/or love in their lives, but the inner shift and reconnection with Being involves a different mode of resolution. This resolution happens in being present with what is and the capacity to stay with anxiety, uncomfortable feelings, and inner emptiness.
I see my role as a counselor in supporting and guiding you through this process of being and staying present with uncomfortable, sometimes painful, feelings so that you can re-connect with your Being.
For me, this work is a form of inner awakening, and it is needed for humanity to move forward. A collective awakening starts with the individual.
Get in touch to book a session and feel the difference in your own Being.
„Essenz ist unsere wahre Natur, wenn wir entspannt und authentisch sind... Sie ist das, was wir in unserem ursprünglichen und unverfälschten Wesen sind.“
A. H. Almaas
Essence Work Sessions provide exactly what I wrote about in the above articles. It's designed to help you reconnect to the core of your Being. This form of counseling is based on client-centered therapy (Carl Rogers), a form of empathic therapy, and is extremely effective while at the same time very simple. My way of working in group therapy, as well as individual sessions, facilitates recovery from dysfunctional behavior commonly manifesting through relationship-, work-, money- and/or health issues as well as various forms of addiction. My work goes beyond mind, it allows you to reconnect with your Inner Being, beyond all conditioning.
I combine several techniques acquired through formal study and personal experience, and I have tested them over many years of working with people. Various aspects of trauma healing, as well as the Psychology of Awakening, are major parts of the counseling process. The focus of my work is to help my clients to reconnect to Beingness, which we have lost contact with through painful experiences during childhood. A natural outcome of this work is the ability to be with what is in the here and now, with relaxation and ease, and the ability to rest in true Stillness and Peace.