Listed below are various qualities of your true nature. These qualities become seemingly polarised through the perception of duality. This polarisation forms contractions of distorted versions of these qualities characterised by desire and fear.
This model is based on the pioneering work by Georgi Y Johnson in the field of spiritual psychology detailed in her book ‘Nondual Therapy: The Psychology of Awakening’.
I will add more qualities and contractions as and when we identify them.
In general, where we suffer, there is a sense of contraction or freeze. This freeze creates stress. When the stress is ignored, the contracted energy becomes depressed. Yet it’s still there, creating bottlenecks and restraints in the flow of vitality through the body, psyche and mind. But what has frozen? Where there was freedom, now there is contraction. What has contracted? Thus, Nonduality introduces the principle of our True Nature – the qualities of consciousness that we share and recognize, such as love, peace, joy and freedom.The premise is that contractions are frozen forms of those qualities. For example, care contracts as possession and abandonment; or purity contracts as shame and disgust. When we surround a contraction of hatred with unconditional love, a melting occurs which de-contracts the energy.
The book aims to give an overview of the human psyche – in naturalness and in the common areas of contraction. You will learn to recognize how contractions are formed in dualistic pairs, often according to our struggle to contain suffering. Each contraction into psychological duality is formed out of a Nondual Quality that has frozen in manifestation. For example, in the energetic contraction of shame and disgust, there is a call towards that which was frozen: unconditional purity.
In this, Nondual Therapy offers a navigational map for the liberation of vitality from the treadmill of suffering. With the critical movement inside, suffering can be transformed to a journey of curiosity, wonder, insight and celebration.
“To reach the deeper layers of suffering you must go to its roots and uncover their vast underground network, where fear and desire are closely interwoven and the currents of life’s energy oppose, obstruct and destroy each other… This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind.”- Nisargadatta Maharaj (More quotes on desire and fear by Nisargadatta here)
In my book ‘Living the Life That You Are‘, I describe how desire has a very close working relationship with fear, although they don’t always get along. In a desiring state we yearn for certain experiences, while in a fearful state, we resist certain experiences. In this way, desire and fear are polar opposites of the same force: desire pulls, fear pushes. When you have a desire, you find a fear, and vice versa. Fear leads to desire and desire to fear.
I think of desire as a magnetic pull which makes the body and mind feel restless, penetrating much of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. This infiltration fashions a profound sense of deficiency and expectancy in our identity as a separate self. It was desire that gave birth to the body with which you identify. It was desire that gave you a name and a unique character. It was desire that led you to this website. It is desire that is calling you toward authenticity and Self-realisation. Conversely, feasting on desire, the individual is nourished and ceaselessly left pining for more. Desire is invariably both productive and destructive. What psychologically motivates us in an addictive state are narratives of desire (“I need a fix to feel complete”) and fear (“I can’t face not having a fix”).
Desire leads to fear and fear leads to desire. We could say that the primary compulsion is for self-concepts—to be someone or something distinct. Some people would rather die than lose all sense of who they are, or live with an unwanted self-concept. We fear the loss of our desired identities and desire the freedom from the constraints of our fearful identities. Our greatest desire is to Be: every micro desire aims at the macro desire of authentic existence.
In overlooking our nondual Self, we rely on things and people to make us happy and secure, and we go to war with, resist, and avoid the things and people that make us unhappy and insecure. As with desire, the target of fear is always in memory and anticipation, past and future. Fear emerges because we’re so powerfully led to believe we’re self-contained and different from others. Fear is associated with a state of alertness, for “fight, freeze, or flight” and neurochemicals released in a potentially dangerous situation. Even babies, before they can talk or conceptualize, are fearful of loud noises and falling. Our psychosocial conditioning sometimes transfers this feeling of threat to other situations where we may not be physically endangered. However, our fears are often not in proportion to real danger, but a response to imagination gone wild, to ego insecurity. We pull people and possessions toward us to feel safe, but attachment and clinging only ever bring more instability.
“Ego is the movement of the mind toward objects of perception in the form of grasping, and away from objects in the form of aversion,” says Adyashanti. “This fundamentally is all the ego is. This movement of grasping and aversion gives rise to a sense of a separate ‘me,’ and in turn the sense of ‘me’ strengthens itself this way.”
In the words of The third Patriarch of Zen, Seng T’san:
“Make the slightest distinction
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you wish to see the truth,
Don’t think for or against.
Likes and dislikes
Are the mind’s disease.
Without understanding the deep meaning
You cannot still your thoughts.
[The way] is clear like space,
Nothing missing, nothing extra.
If you want something
You cannot see things as they are…
Return to the root and understand.
Chase appearances and lose the source.”
“The discovery that peace, happiness and love [along with all the other qualities] are ever-present within our own being and completely available at every moment of experience, under all conditions, is the single most important discovery that one can make… What we truly long for in life is available at every moment, under all conditions, in the simple knowing of our being as it truly is.”
“Psychologist Carl Jung said all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they seem. Frustration and ignorance may cause them to twist into distorted caricatures, but it’s possible to locate the beautiful source from which they arose.
“In describing an addictive patient, Jung said: ‘His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God.’
“With this in mind, ruminate about this question: What are the glorious prototypes behind the longings that confuse you or drain you?”
– Rob Brezsny
The openness, freedom, power and possibility of life; an openly streaming question to which life itself is the answer. Being choice, uninterrupted, releasing even that expectant surge of choosing. Here, we can feel the brightest pulsation of permission to be here and now, for real, without litigation: irreplaceable by any agenda.
Processes of change, growth and cycles of form involve suffering. This evolution is an inevitability of manifestation. When these processes of separation of the one into the manifold accelerate, the creative force of love shows up as suffering.
Resistance brings its own suffering. The agenda to interfere with the greater need of evolution is ultimately powerless. An attitude of resistance creates conflict with life, with form, with the outer world and with the psyche. Resistance demands an enormous amount of vitality and rather than bringing relief, generates the Felt Sense of resistance, moment by moment. The more we resist suffering, attempting to exclude it from the realm of living experience, the more the belief is affirmed that suffering separates us from the whole.