Excerpt About Black Space

Black Space Exposes the Activity through which the Familiar Identity Perpetuates Itself

The experience of black space is not immediately established as a permanent attainment because in addition to those we discussed in the last chapter, there are other barriers to this space. These usually present themselves after the full experience of inner spaciousness, but sometimes before it. The usual tendency is to fill the great chasm, the narcissistic emptiness, with whatever one can find. The ultimate filler is the formation of the shell, but the student will try anything to avoid awareness of this emptiness. We have discussed many of these fillers, the various reactions and object relations, the images and memories, the ambitions and ideals, the hopes and plans, and so on. However, the direct encounter with black spaciousness magnifies a more subtle barrier against full awareness of the chasm. It reveals something ordinarily too subtle to see and too implicit to apprehend. It exposes, in clear relief, the activity through which this filling occurs, especially the activity through which the familiar identity perpetuates itself. In other words, the stillness of the inner spaciousness reveals the agitation which characterizes the activity of the familiar identity, what we have termed ego activity (see Chapter 8). In fact, the experience of the imperturbable peacefulness of the endless night sky not only exposes this inner psychic activity, but tends to intensify it. The self reacts to the stillness as a death, and intensifies its activity by which it generates its sense of self-recognition. The ego activity becomes furious agitation and feverish inner obsessiveness.

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