the entire foundation of spirituality, to it’s detriment, in general, presupposes the singularity of personality. if it did not it would overtly teach us how to identify disassociation and practice with it.
zen could and should have a practice to help someone who disassociates to progress in awakening, as much as is possible.
christians believe that one’s soul can be saved, but what about 52 souls in one?
zen postulates the emptiness of the self, but what about the emptiness of 36 selves that do not agree with or like each other, all in one.
disassociation is not a disorder, it is actually very well ordered and becomes meticulously organized in a way that protects the core self from overwhelming feelings. the only dis-order is the systems of abuse that causes this intense suffering and allow it to be perpetuated.
to my mind, disassociation is the most underestimated, undervalued, under-diagnosed and under-appreciated spiritual condition. it happens in all kinds of settings, private families, group settings, in organized systems, intentional communities…
it is a microcosm of our universe and our world views. we see ourselves as separate and everything in us fights the fact that we are actually connected, intimately, with other people we judge for doing the worst things we can imagine.
to accept the oneness of all things is to really be Thich Nhat Hanh’s pirate, to accept that i am the one who kills, rapes, tortures, and also the one who receives all this pain.
accepting the parts of ourselves that we are disconnected or disassociated from does not mean we like it. we can still hate the parts of ourselves we wish we weren’t. but it is better to be one with our hatred of these parts of ourselves than to dissociate from them and live as two.
the entire universe is struggling with it’s disassociation from itself since the big bang. we humans somehow bring to life the universal clash of energy frequencies that are knotted with discord and disharmony.
what pisses me off is when people in power intentionally manipulate circumstances to keep people disassociated and disconnected. keeping those who suffer with this from finding resolution and re-cognition of their true selves is unforgivable.
so what practice could help those who disassociate to wake up to the oneness and find peace in accepting this? well, how about encouraging those who do this to acknowledge they have a strong core personality that has the control of much of the personality patterns. this core self has the ability to awaken to the fact that no matter what the other selves do, they are all perfect as they are, even if they do not believe this themselves. we can appreciate them for taking on all the pain and suffering so that we did not have to feel it directly. what a gift they are.
when the buddha awakened he said that all beings simultaneously awaken. so even those who are still fighting and suffering are awake, even if they do not realize they are intimately connected to one who is. so the same is true for all the personalities and selves connected with the core self. and if the core self can awaken and take responsibility for all the actions of the others, this is the end to suffering on some level that touches all of the selves.
in order to break free from the wheel of life and death we must unify our minds, and not only realize our intimate oneness with those we hate, but take full responsibility for their actions as well. only this radical acceptance of those we hate can end the separation that keeps the wheel spinning.
if one of us can do it for the rest, we all have the answer to our suffering and we only need to be willing to ask the hard questions.
the buddha did this for all of us disassociated souls who follow his example. who will do it for your disassociated selves?
with all that in mind, i don’t recommend sitting zazen for extended time periods, if at all. sitting can open the bodies energy and release too much painful memories too fast. maybe sit a few minutes several times a day, perhaps introduce the practice to friends and family or roommates and others you think might like this kind of stuff. start to practice staying with painful feelings for a few moments longer than usual, so that when they take us by surprise we can be present with them and stay with them without separating from them or pushing them away.
perhaps a simple chanting of accepted sutras, like the heart sutra can help connect the bodies energy.
there is nothing wrong with not remembering what has happened lately.
there is nothing wrong with not knowing who we are with.
there is nothing wrong with not knowing where we are.
there is nothing wrong with asking for help or clarification.
there is nothing wrong with relaxing when any of these things happen.
there is nothing wrong with everything that is wrong.
be the buddha, at least once in this lifetime, knowing it is all the….same as it ever was