Individuation, Enmeshment, & Oneness

Many spiritual adherents and teachers believe in equality and sameness as unity, unfortunately, we feel that it is a misconception of our human psychology and the awakening process; we are not meant to be the same as each other, but individual and unique in relationship to one another. The more “unique” or “individual” a person is, the less they compete or attempt fairness with others, accepting life as it is in the present moment. Carl Jung, the founder of Jungian Psychology and “Shadow Work”, coined another term called “individuation”, the process of separating from the collective masses and your parents to become an individual (i.e., unique and special). When one “individuates” from their parents and society, they are free, healthy, and whole.

“Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.” ~Annemieke Cloosterman,

Sometimes though, people might believe that they are unique and special because they accomplish something new or different, but this is not individuation, but rather an attempt to gain self-worth through external actions or highlighting a peculiarity. Attempting individuation with such to differentiate oneself from the crowd is not individuation or uniqueness, but rather a comparison and band-aid attempt to fill a lack that is felt within a competition society. This lack can only be permanently filled once the various unique puzzle pieces come back together to complete the greater whole, not through winning a competition to differentiate oneself from the crowd.

“Anything that is “special” because of a comparison between two similar things is only possible from a belief in separation, far from intimate, it is quite the opposite — a disconnected lie. Special is only such when it is unique, as uniqueness is unity, oneness, and intimacy; thus a unique special is connected and incomparable, while a comparative special is a contradiction and nonsensical.” ~Nathan Martin & Aline Van Meer

“We do not sufficiently distinguish between Individualism and individuation. Individualism means deliberately stressing and giving prominence to some supposed peculiarity, rather than to collective considerations and obligations. But individuation means precisely the better and more complete fulfillment of the collective qualities of the human being, since adequate consideration of the peculiarity of the individual is more conducive to better social achievement than when the peculiarity is neglected or suppressed.” ~”The Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious” (1928). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P. 267

Just because a person is attempting to be special through the lens of their wounds does not mean that the baby (specialness, uniqueness, individuation) must be thrown out with the bathwater (highlighting a peculiarity or learned talent to win a perceived competition to gain self-worth), on the contrary, true individuality only comes from deep Self-discovery and awareness, of unlearning the painful wounds inflicted on a person in their childhood, to allow reconnection and intimacy.

Osho saw the need to unlearn societal baggage when he said:

“It’s not a question of learning much, on the contrary, it’s a question of unlearning much.” ~Osho

Humanity currently experiences Oneness from their wound, which is connecting to others without external boundaries from their pain, suffering, and unconscious patterns; known in psychology as enmeshment. The wound makes people the same, it makes them equal to others through their pain and suffering, it is connecting through sympathy and not empathy. Unfortunately, many spiritual circles believe that the more enlightened you become, the more you relax your boundaries and merge into oneness and unity, however external boundaries are what make people unique, defined, and material — thus the opposite happens.

Unity consciousness is NOT enmeshment, it is connecting to people as a whole individual without the urge to search for something that is lacking within, and it is healthy boundaries that keep us from being enmeshed with others. When we look up synonyms for ‘uniqueness’ in a thesaurus, we find that oneness, specialness, and unity are matches; therefore to state that in oneness we are the same is to give a free pass to the deep scarring and woundedness that still exists, bypassing the very critical Self-discovery of the openings in our boundaries that keep us fragmented. Unity from sameness is merely an attempt to protect an open wound from harm, from the pain that may be experienced if it were to be examined; it is an avoidance tactic meant to excuse egoic workarounds, and in this way, it is a workaround for a workaround.

Whereas most people look outside to enmeshment and sameness for their infinite qualities, to lose themselves in God and others, it is only by going inside that our limitless nature exists; for there is no end to the depths that we can discover when we dive into our Self. Therefore, it is the combination of our finite external boundaries and the eternal connection inside the Self that make us ‘One’ — boundaries are our external container, the boundless is found within.

Individuation breaks a person free from societal sameness and conditioning and into their own unique and special functions within the greater societal whole; this is much like the different unique parts and functions within a tree — the roots, trunk, branches, and leaves are all unique functions; one is not exalted, better, or dominant over another, but they are all one through the support that they synergistically give to one another within the overall tree system. If any of the various unique functions were to compete with each other for preeminence, to forsake their own unique role and then attempt to take on a role that is not their own, trying to do another unique function better than the one currently fulfilling the role, we would have extremely dysfunctional trees, forests, and ecosystem. How silly would it be then, if in an attempt to stop the squabbling of the inter-tree siblings to make things “fair”, that the roots, trunk, branches, and leaves were forced to be, and considered, the same?

Sameness is not harmonious or in unity, but is instead a lack of Self-awareness of a person’s own specific, honed, and unique role and tasking in life. However, harmony is the many unique roles coming together to support one another as a unit; which is Oneness. Awakening is the complete understanding of a person’s unique role within the mosaic of the greater whole, it is a total surrender to fulfill their special function in support of the One — for in unity, the One supports the One.

Thus I ask you this question, would you rather have a fair life and be one in your woundedness and sameness, or One in your wholeness in support of the One, and supported by the One? Both options are available to you; for the former, continue protecting your wounds, for the latter, you must inquire within.

~Nathan Martin & Aline Van Meer

For more on Unity Consciousness, see the following article, “We’re Uniquely One”, on our blog.

About Nathan & Aline

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