Excerpt About Inner Mother

Loss of Mother's Image and the Arising of the Merging Essence

When the identification system that is equivalent to the inner image of mother is experienced as lost or absent, there is revealed underneath it a large, deficient emptiness. This deficient emptiness, when looked at objectively rather than trying to avoid it or fill it with a new structure, will reveal underneath it an aspect of Essence, a presence of consciousness in a specific platonic form. This essential aspect is experienced both as part of oneself, and as the good mother that one always wanted. This aspect, which we call the Merging Essence, is not a result of experiencing the mother’s image, but rather the result of losing it. Our observations, and the reports of thousands of experiences from hundreds of students, all indicate this fact, which cannot be accounted for by object relations theory, or any branch of developmental psychology at the present time. However, it is not incompatible with developmental psychology, and in fact we can use the findings of object relations theory to gain some understanding of it. The Merging Essence is not revealed exactly by the loss of the mother’s inner image, but more specifically by the loss of the deeper layers of the psychic structures. The unified mother image is a composite of images of mother remembered from all phases of ego development. The earliest, and hence the deepest, layers of it were formed in the symbiotic phase of ego development. This phase, which starts sometime in the second month of life and lasts until about the tenth month, is characterized by the infant behaving as though he and his mother were a unified functioning system, as though they formed a dual unity with a common boundary.

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