Mechanisms of Samsara and (Other) Edges *

I read Julie Diamond’s Encounters with the Spirit (in The Journal of Process Oriented Psychology, Vol. 7) on the train back from Portland tonight, and of the many parallels to other approaches I noticed, there is an interesting one with realizing selflessness.

Dynamics at the edges

In Process Work, they talk about primary processes (our familiar, conscious and limited identity), secondary processes (what is also there, although not yet brought into awareness and familiar), and the edge between the two.

And in working with a client or oneself, it is important to explore what is going on at the edge, what patterns and dynamics do we find there, what are the mechanisms of the edge, how do we relate to it, and so on. What we find is partly universal and shared, partly an individually flavored longer term pattern, and partly related to the specific edge and time.

The more we familiarize ourselves with the dynamics at the edge in general, and how it shows up for us in particular, the better we will be able to navigate that terrain. The more familiar, the easier the journey.

Mechanisms of samsara

And in realizing selflessness, there is a similar process. As we move between a sense of I and glimpses of selflessness, and explore the shoreline between the two, we gradually gain familiarity and intimacy with the dynamics there.

We get to see, over and over, the mechanisms of samsara. The dynamics which creates a sense of I and Other, and also what allows those to unravel and reveal selflessness.

And one of the many ways to explore these dynamics is through The Work. The four questions and the turnaround helps us see the terrain at this edge between holding onto beliefs and its effects, and of seeing through them, allowing the attachment to them to effortlessly release.


In both cases, we explore the dynamics at the edge, in one case between primary and secondary processes, and in the other case between samsara and awakening (which can be seen as a particular primary process – sense of I, and secondary process – awakening to selflessness).

And through becoming familiar with the dynamics at these edges, of how they appear in general and also in our particular case, we learn to navigate that terrain more skillfully. And if we want to, how to allow the edges to soften and unravel, and explore what is on the other side in a gentle way.

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