The idea of the Tao (Way) and of Qi energy suggests an interconnectedness between all phenomena, a oneness. This idea is represented by the foundational principle of Unity. The principle of Unity suggests that we all come from the same source, all life is interconnected, and the seed of the Source is within everyone. As such, there is a connection between all phenomena, a oneness. Separation is illusion, and it creates suffering, separation from self, life and others. Ignorance of the Unity is seen as the source of all our suffering. This separation is a form of self-forgetfulness, a lack of awareness of our true identity, our true nature or core consciousness that feels connected to others and to life (Tao). Our True Nature, core consciousness or essence, is our source of love, self-worth, strength, support, inspiration and power; this is the part of us that knows our true needs and wants. The functions and qualities described by the Five Phase Model, when in balance, reflect our deeper self. Our limited personality patterns can be seen as a deviation from that deeper self.
As we move away from our True Nature, the source of our suffering and the solutions we seek to remedy our suffering are external to us. For example, we see our partners or others as the source of our unhappiness and we are determined to change them. In doing so, we become disempowered and increase our suffering since we see the source of happiness as an external source, forgetting that there is no separation, that the source is inside of us as well. From this limiting point of view, grows disappointment, jealousy, powerlessness and so on as we fail to change our partner or others.
Our limited perceptions of reality and others is a construction—we are co-creators of it. We select, discard and categorize information based on selectivity and bias while at the same time ignoring much information. The same holds true for our view of ourselves; it is a personal construction based on past experiences and expectations that rejects much information about who we really are.
Our limited perception of others and life is based on core limiting beliefs, emotions and behaviors originating in our early years of development. These core notions become part of our limited identity that covers our true identity. With respect to our limited perceptions, early core beliefs generate in our daily awareness repetitive thoughts that act to confirm our core beliefs (“I am not lovable,” “not worthy,” “powerless,” “etc.); these thoughts then shape our perceptions of life and of our partner. Our perceptions become interpretations of impressions to which we give meaning. These perceptions in turn give confirmation to our core limiting beliefs in a vicious cycle and will influence our emotions and behavior. If I believe, for example, that I am not deserving of care and support, my daily awareness will be permeated with concerns about care, support, giving and receiving, abandonment and so on; my perceptions will then be influenced by these types of interpretations where I will pay more attention to those concerns in my interactions with my partner while missing other interpretations. Thus a bias in my perception develops. Relating to others and life under such a bias keeps me from being objective in understanding what my partner is saying or intending.
Another way to look at this phenomenon is to think about these limiting core beliefs as representing disowned aspect of ourselves (forgotten core consciousness); for example, if my core belief is “I am not worthy,” then I have disowned the part of myself having to do with my own value, power and self-love. To achieve completeness, self-actualization, an evolutionary drive of life, we all need to seek this missing part of our self-definition. When, out of self-forgetfulness and ignorance we seek it outside, we project the disowned part onto our partner or others, who are then seen as the external and special source, the power to fulfill us. When this fulfillment doesn’t occur, we begin to develop negative views and attributions about our partner’s character. Projection is one of the biggest destroyers of all types of relationships.
Recognizing the Unity with our core consciousness, Unity with Source, allows us to become co-creators. Our limited perceptions attract to our life what we are (limited self); in our previous example of unworthiness, I would then attract situations and people that may reinforce that perception of myself. Therein lies the power of our perceptions, our projections. By changing our core limiting beliefs, our repetitive thought and limiting interpretations, we can change our experience, can change what we attract in life, and can most effectively influence others. By changing ourselves we are in the best position to influence others, not out of a sense of manipulation but out of inspiration by being who we really are. Likewise we can gain emotional experiences and develop behaviors that are in synchrony with who we really are.