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Chapter 1

NEW232Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Enmeshment

New College
Course Code
Tony Toneatto

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o Described several unexamined motivations that lead to pursuit of psychological
transformations that is based on underlying psychological issues
o Students, teacher and their relationships
o Describes the pervasiveness of ‘self’ disturbances in western culture in which the
self is poorly integrates, easily depleted, hollow, fragmented, insecure, etc.
o Unconscious motivations to pursue meditative practices. Pursuit of...
(1) Narcissistic perfection/ invulnerability: “I want to be perfect”
(2) Calm fears of individuation or autonomy: “I don’t want to grow up”
(3) Avoid responsibility and accountability: “I want to do what Buddha
(4) Withdrawal from relationships/intimacy: “I don’t trust anyone”
(5) Avoidance/ suppression of emotions: “I don’t want to feel”
(6) Passivity and dependence: “I am afraid of my aggression and anger
and expressing need”
(7) Self-punishment for feeling unworthy, shame: “I am a bad person”
(8) Escape from internal/intrapsychic experience: “I don’t want to exist”
(9) Devalue reason, intellect and reflection: “ I want to regress”
(10) Avoid mourning loss/ depression: “I cannot accept/ won’t process or
grieve my loss
o Suggests integrating psychological and spiritual progress, especially for
westerners for whom spiritual understanding often has no impact on their lives.
Westerners focus on the individual in a way that leads to social
o Unstructured being: encourages the child to get to know themselves without
pressure to respond to others,without intrusion, forced accommodation,
interruption or creative process
May be associated with comfort with emptiness, spontaneity, being alone
Viewed as a waste of time, unless, and not being productive in our culture
o Western cultures have difficulty having people develop inter-connectedness with
others and developing shared cultural values
o Traditional cultures have difficulty helping people individuate and avoid
interpersonal and social enmeshment and intrusion.
o Spiritual bypassing: the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep
personal, emotional unfinished business’ support a saky self, enlightenment.
o Conscious and unconscious identity
Conscious identity is also a compensatory to cope with underlying sense
of threat of deficiency, which we originally felt in childhood in response to
lack of love, connection, trauma, neglect, or acceptance. Even though it is
designed to compensate for this sense of deficiency, inadequacy, or
unworthiness, we nonetheless tend unconsciously with the very lack we
are trying to overcome.
It is a deeply-embedded sense of deficiency - originating in childhood
helplessness in the fact of primal fear, anxiety, or pain.
o Realisation and embodiment: Westerners have difficulties integrating insights
about the nature of the mind and reality
Realization: movement from personality to being (liberation from
conditioned self)
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