Depth Dualism – Intimacy & the Path of Separation

The below article is something I wrote back in 1999. There are a few aspects of it that I would expand upon with my current understanding, but on the whole I still feel that it can be a very valuable transmission.

I now understand that the universe is seeing and reflecting us with exquisite accuracy. It is only that we do not understand the reflection. Our lens of perception does not accurately see the mirror. And, that is part of the Separation Path, bless our courageous hearts.

I also now see that this engagement in the Path of Separation is congruent with the alchemical process. It puts the field of projection in the container of the self for clarification and coagulation of desire aligned with the greater whole.

May you be fearless in your engagement with this world!

Intimacy and the Path of Separation

by Marién Grace

The path of unity consciousness has been pursued for generations. In our search for enlightenment, this is a viable and profound path. It is my observation however, that often in this pursuit of unity, the nagging feelings of apartness, of separation, are disregarded, even disdained. In this article I am proposing a very different path. I call this the Path of Separation.

The premise of the path of separation consciousness is that there are awakenings to be gained by plunging toward that nagging feeling, into the profound differentiation of existence. My intent in this writing is to first illuminate how ignoring this creates deep misunderstandings in our relationship to the world, and then to examine how honoring this premise can bring us closer to intimacy.


The underlying theory in the Path of Separation

Here’s the basic theory. For those who are knowledgeable or interested in self-referentiality, this is a great way to understand and work with it.

We are all in different universes.

Let this sink in a minute. It is quite profound. I use the word universe rather than “world” to emphasize just how far this goes.

We make the mistake of assuming that everyone else is in our universe. To be clearer, I’ll use “I”, and hear this writing as if you are speaking to yourself.

I make the mistake of assuming that everyone else is in my universe. Big mistake. In reality, I am having a very different and unique experience of the world. Yes, there are certain parallels, a certain overlap of experience. We both have bodies that function similarly. We may speak the same language and even be able to converse on the same subject matter. Because of these surface similarities of expression, I assume you are having the same experience that I am having. But if I am honest, if I look even a little more closely, it would be clear that I am experiencing life quite uniquely to me, in a world that you are largely not privy to. I occupy a unique point in space and time. I have a unique body, a unique history, a unique outlook, personality, expression, etc. I am a completely unique universe. So are you.

The problem is that I’m not really seeing you. And vice versa, you are not really seeing me. On a deep, emotionally sensitive level, I know the latter statement to be true. I know on some level that I am not really being truly seen or met most of the time. I feel it. The experience of really being met is so rare and precious that those moments glisten in my memory, make my body tingle, bring tears to my eyes. And there are so many ways I want to be met that I know, consciously or subconsciously, are possible and have yet to create.

One reason I feel unmet is that each of our universes is infinitely complex and multi-dimensional. We have so many dimensions of experience (a whole universe full!), for example: mental, emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual, historical, cultural, ancestral, mythological, etc.; so many others that can or can’t even be named. I may feel a few aspects of one or two dimensions being met, maybe even more, which can be exhilarating depending on the rarity and freshness of it, but I may still be left feeling dissatisfied. The yearning to be met in places still untouched is strong.

Ok then, so who or what are you in my universe? Already that question is a breakthrough in my consciousness. If I ask that question, then I am already more open to the mysterious being that you truly are, and more willing to own that who I think you are is just that – my thoughts, my projection. This is a very different way for me to be with you than the old way, in the trance of separation, or in the trance of relationship.

The trance of separation is that nosedive into the resignation that says, “It’s hopeless. No one will ever meet me. No one will ever understand. Even I don’t necessarily understand me!” Let me reassure you at this point: intimacy IS possible between autonomous, enigmatic universes. In fact, it’s better, more fun, and more intimate than ever! The trance is very different from the path. The trance is the tragic belief that intimacy is impossible, forever unattainable. Or that intimacy is only real when all of me is met – a very high demand indeed.

Adam and Eve, painted in 1613 by Hendrick Goltzius of the Netherlands

Adam and Eve, painted in 1613 by Hendrick Goltzius of the Netherlands

In the trance of relationship our longing to be met overrides our sensitivity to knowing that we are not being met. In this desperation I allow myself to believe that we are seeing, feeling, hearing the same thing. I gloss over subtle impressions that sense intricacy is being lost, or that communications are being missed. I so want to believe that you are with me. The trance of relationship is hypnotic, complacent, a collusion with the misunderstanding that believes you are in my universe and that we know each other. Fact is, we don’t. Or rather, it may be that we know each other imprecisely at best and grossly superficially otherwise. And because at some level we ignore that this arrangement is partial and inaccurate, it leads back to the trance of separation in the end.

Please do not in any way use this information to doubt or condemn any part of your own experiencing of your universe. This is not to belittle or criticize even the slightest part of anyone’s consciousness, but rather to expand and give a new context to places where we may feel misunderstood or are misunderstanding our relationship to the world. I have exaggerated the explanations in order to be able to put them into higher relief, to see them clearly. They function at more subtle levels as well.


Examples of the Trance of Relationship and the Trance of Separation

One way we imagine that the universe sees us is when we see ourselves reflected out there. This is our attachment to image, to sameness, to group mind, to collective consciousness. “Ah yes,” I subconsciously think, “I belong! Someone dresses like me, thinks like me, likes the same music, etc. They are just like me!” Yes, there is overlap of universes, parallels. But this is a very limited engagement with another’s universe. To be satisfied with this I must convince myself that this is enough. (Shush, you disquieting voice that still feels unmet! Can’t you see there are others like me?) The fear of difference, of being on the outside and therefore unreflected, leads in the extreme to exclusivity, bigotry and racism. We project on difference the tragic story of being un-meet-able.

Some people feel that they are really only met when engaging sexually. There can be a revelation of vulnerability in the act of sex that meets and engages a usually concealed aspect of ourselves. In the intensity of the experience I may assume that you must be experiencing this too. And again, not to judge or belittle anyone’s experience, but look to see if both partners are feeling this. Is my experience similar or different to yours? Or, (sometimes a big wake up call) it may only be my experience, and in my desperate need to be met when in such a vulnerable moment, I project that you are having the same experience.

For some of us, we only feel met in nature or by animals. Nature and animals are in touch with a quality that resonates with a deep experience in our own universe. This subtle experience is not ordinarily met in the day to day workings of our lives, especially in our social lives. I want to urge anyone that feels this way to be on the alert that yes, we may be being met in some usually unmet part of our own universe, but we may not be truly meeting nature’s universe very fully at all. The experience of nature within it’s own consciousness is radically different from ours. Actually, one of the realizations that comes from investigating life in this way is that the true universe is MUCH bigger, M-U-C-H bigger, (can’t emphasize the word “much” enough!) than we ever even had an inkling of!

Another way we sometimes feel met is when someone reflects us emotionally. This is actually a little closer to the bone, especially in this culture that fears feelings and expression of feelings and promotes suppression in so many ways. When we are reflected emotionally, that is, receive a little compassion, it can go quite far for this hidden part of ourselves. But still, to know that I am really being understood is quite the exception and very rare – my experience takes place in a unique universe that you are not in, and I know this. I can still feel quite alone even after emotional reflection.

A bottom line awakening here: I assume that you are in my universe! Whenever I believe that assumption it inevitably is in a projected story, a trance, that you feel what I feel, are seeing what I see, are what I assume you are. If only I knew better.


Practical application of the Path of Separation

So what is the Path of Separation? It is a way toward intimacy that recognizes this cosmic experiment that we have been thrust into: a deep separation of experience and consciousness, and a respect for divine fragmentation. I do not mean to imply that unity consciousness is in any way not also a grand path. I merely wish to open the other end of this divine spectrum to a contemplation of its purpose. Rather than cultivating non-dualism to lead us to unity, we could say depth-dualism also takes us there. One could say in non-dualism there is only me and all is one. In depth-dualism one says there are infinite singularities of identity dancing in mysterious, infinite relationship, and my experience is a divine path through that.

To pursue this path, I need to define some characteristics of what I have been calling being met, also known as intimacy. Foremost on the path of separation, intimacy recognizes that we are in separate universes, and acts accordingly.

  • I must acknowledge that I do not know, thus, I do not know you. My knowledge is fragmentary and limited at best, and only through recognizing this am I available to begin to relate.
  • Intimacy with another demands intimacy with oneself. Being willing to meet oneself in flinching and unflinching, unbearable and ecstatic detail, is the only way to recognize one’s projections, and therefore crack the barriers to intimacy.
  • Intimacy must be open to infinite mystery. The mystery is revealed in the dance between our separate universes, that edge of meeting and missing, meeting and missing.
  • Intimacy is a fluctuating field. It is not static, not consistent. Sometimes we are met very limitedly, sometimes more expansively. The more expansively, the greater the intimacy, the more ecstatic the experience is. Expansion equals more dimensions, more depth, and more detail. Being met is something that happens by degree, a careful knitting together of revelation.
  • This field of intimacy is encouraged to expand though bringing everything I can to consciousness. By consciousness I mean simple awareness. This requires real interest, honesty, openness and self-ownership, i.e. owning my projections, of my universe.
  • Intimacy among separate universes requires a lot of checking in and checking it out. Lots of questions and showing up. No assumptions – or rather, owning up to and being willing to let go of assumptions. Assumptions are projection habits and should all be questioned. If I realize the separation, and I truly want to meet you, then I will persistently elicit your revelation and continually double-check my perception. Likewise if I want to be met, I will consistently reveal myself and double-check if you are receiving me.
  • One of intimacy’s foundations is a commitment to the truth. That truth starts in acknowledging my current experience and revealing it. That truth can even be “I don’t want to relate right now.” If the truth is received with respect and interest, it promotes intimacy. The successive “peeling of the onion” to greater intimacy, i.e. the allowing of more and more layers to be revealed, comes from the trust that is built through this respect.
  • Intimacy is in the moment. It requires a commitment to staying current. I must be clear about when I am projecting an old conditional belief on how I think the present should look. Now is where the past can be updated and recreated by the mysterious, intelligent present, i.e. healed!
  • Intimacy along the path of separation has immense respect for diversity. Differences are not suppressed or avoided and definitely not shamed. Rather, they are allowed, studied with interest, embraced.
  • Intimacy ranges from self-intimacy to Big-Universal-Intimacy, with one-on-one-intimacy floating somewhere between those two. And there are many other varieties of relationship along that spectrum.
  • The experience of transcendent intimacy occurs when revelation upon unfolding revelation compounds into that rare moment of having multiple dimensions met simultaneously. When this is truly recognized by the participants, with all of the honesty and facility implied in the foregoing points, then all the greater is the transcendent experience. The more we can bring an inclusive, multi-dimensional, awareness to the moment, the more this is possible.
  • Another reassurance: It’s not all We actually are sensing aspects of others’ universes in varying degree. We are creatures with more-or-less refined organs of sensory perception. Our projections are based on complex, undulating perceptions that are being created by complex, undulating realities. The more I understand how interpret those perceptions, the more possibility I have of perceiving more clearly and meeting another’s universe.
  • Intimacy is a skill, and we all deserve compassion and mercy in our novice ranking. The more we realize we are in projection, the more we healthfully acknowledge the depth of separation, the more we will recommit to honing our skill.

The fact is, this separate-universe-in-a-universe-of-universes is something we all share. At a much larger scale, we ARE in the same universe. It’s just not the one we thought we were in. It’s MUCH (again, cannot emphasize too much) BIGGER! This sharing of separation brings us a lot closer to being able to understand each other. A kicker paradox, no?




I see that I’ve gone on and on, entertaining the notion that you were actually following me through this exploration through an understanding I’ve come to rely on in my universe hoping it would be instructive and destructive and constructive for you. In writing this and reviewing it with a few friends I see that this article is subject to all the pitfalls and possibilities I’ve been writing about. Of course this discussion is incomplete. Every reading of this will reveal levels and levels and levels of functioning unmentioned. This is inevitable. It’s the nature of the game.

My own wish to be met is functioning here. I have the projection that this is how it works in my universe and I assume it would work this way in yours. And in the interest of revelation, I also see my wish not to be met, i.e. to be left alone. This is both wanting space for my own self-intimacy and also wanting space for not pursuing intimacy, with others or myself. One must have the desire for intimacy for the engine to run. In sharing this article, I have been exposed to how very complex and how much work it is to cultivate intimacy beyond the most superficial levels. I have a universe, you have a universe, we have a universe, and different parts of us have fractal universes as well. Quite a complex dance. Intimacy takes abundant time, patience, mercy, and willingness. And I have to admit that I am not always up for it.

And then, there is the heart. I have had the thought in the writing of this article that the heart is on a level of knowing and immediacy that may completely surpass all this. Perhaps that heart presence is the field that catalyzes this urge to commune intimately. And perhaps, I have the feeling, that our hearts are all in the same universe, if we allow ourselves to inhabit there. But perhaps that is still limiting what is possible to one, albeit larger, dimension.

But maybe that’s just my projection!

Marién Grace ©1999, 2008

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