Soul and Identification LO1169

Doug Seeley (
12 May 95 06:58:06 EDT

Replying to Tim Sullivan, LO1158....

Tim, you raise some metaphysical issues for me which are at the heart of
the matter... It has to do with identification, the deep subtlety of the
ego, and what I experience of your viewpoint (i.e. the small working
group) and often of some Buddhist positions, as a contradiction (and I
don't really mean paradox).

You speak of the Soul as the medium which is impressed by experience, by
events happening. There is a similar notion in ancient Yoga, related to
the vritti, the impressions made in the ocean of consciousness. When the
notion gets expressed, it has the effect for me of an identification with
separation, of this ocean depends upon the existence of events on the
outside. The way in which some speak of "mindfulness" from the Buddhist
tradition, and Unity in some Sufi traditions, indicate a similar position
to me.

For me, there is a basic difficulty here which is resolved by the notion
of "non-duality" (& not simple Oneness which begs its antithesis). In
these traditions there is always a source speaking to a recipient within
some relationship (triadic). There is a tendency to de-value the drop in
favour of the ocean, and to de-value the apertures of mindfulness in
favour of the Void. I wish to appeal to another metaphor from ancient
Yoga, that of Indra's Net. This refers to Being as an unimaginably vast
Net of jewels or pearls. The Net does not exist in any context of space
or time, but rather its existence derives from the fact that each pearl is
a reflection of each and every other pearl,....

To me this speaks of an essential complementarity which is missing when
notions of merging into Oneness are elevated above the Ones who are
supposed to be merging. I believe that this complementarity to be crucial
to our systems and learning work with organizations.

This complementarity is between the One and the Many, the Part and the
Whole, the Individual and the State, the Observer and the System, the
Consultant and the Organization, the Particle and the Wave, the Drop and
the Ocean. It results in an interPlay, a joyful dance between these
complementarities, the result of a fundamental distinction.

Are Boundaries real?? This complementarity would imply both yes and no.
No in the Oceanic oneness, and Yes in the individual (not ego) drops of
the Many. It seems in my practice to be the fundamental distinction in
the mind.

Just because the ego is so clever at reappearing in so many guises to
waylay anyone going deep on the path, does not mean that We should throw
out the baby (of the Individual soul) with the bathwater of the One soul.

The danger I sense, is that the flip side of ego entrapment, is the
Authority with which expressions of the One truth acquire, when direct
experiences of it and brought back into words which minds speak to one
another, and around which cultures spring up.

This danger appears again in the learning organization when some top-down
truth is either pushed onto individuals from the Board, or some conceptual
framework or buzz concept is pushed onto the organization by a consultant.
For me, it speaks of a rigorous need to keep the dignity of the individual
in balance with the well-being of the whole, which can at least be
attempted by calling for as much participation as possible.

Tim, I am not saying that You intended some of these consequences which I
speak about, but simply that they are the things which concern me.

Doug Seeley <>