Separation: The First Step on the Spiritual Journey
STEP ON THE JOURNEY – 1. Separation
LEVEL – Ego
KEYWORD – Survival
ACTIONS – Surviving and thriving
BELIEFS – I am alone/separate
CHAKRA – Root
JUNGIAN ARCHETYPE – The Warrior
SIGN – Aries
Separation and the ego
As we incarnate and make our way into the world, we quickly forget our innate non-physical nature and our connection to the very Source of our being. This state of forgetfulness leads to the first step of the journey back to that Source, which is Separation.
Separation occurs with the development of our ego, and thus relates very directly to that aspect of our being. It is a natural process, as the ego is a necessary guide for us while in physical form. Without it we wouldn’t be able to function in the 3D realm. The ego is not “bad” nor does it need to be eliminated. To do so would make us inoperable! What follows is a focus on the so-called negative aspects of the ego, so please note that a healthy ego is a good thing.
While the ego is a crucial part of our nature, our full identification with the ego is not so natural and has caused much suffering, both individually and collectively. We need only turn the pages of any history book to see the results of this identification. In viewing itself as separate, the ego performs all sorts of detrimental behaviors.
Do any of these feelings and behaviors sound very familiar to you? If so, you may be overly identified with the unhealthier aspects of the ego, which could have you spinning your wheels at step one of the spiritual journey!
The unhealthy ego:
- constantly seeks comparison and asks if it is “better than” or “worse than” another
- is always hungry, wanting more and more, never satisfied with who it is or what it has
- reacts harshly and turns people, situations, and ideas into threats
- can be highly competitive or overly passive
- loves to blame and judge others (also loves to blame and judge itself)
- is easily upset, frustrated, stressed out, angered, or saddened by events it feels are beyond its control
- seeks pleasure, achievement, power, status, money and possessions and feels very lost and inadequate if it cannot master such things
- is constantly in the future or in the past instead of in the present
Since the ego doesn’t recognize that it is part of everything and perceives itself as separate, this constant search for fulfillment from without is never enough and so the ego is never at rest or at peace. As you can see in going about your typical day, separation is the “normal” state of things for most of humanity. In step one there is not yet a conscious attempt to embark on the spiritual journey in order to seek out reconnection and wholeness.
If you are reading this article, you are most likely beyond the first step of Separation. Yet it is a good reminder, as we all slip down frequently into this step on occasion and get hooked into our egos! Our entire civilization has been based on these patterns, and they are not easy to break free from.
Separation and spirituality
Step One of Separation is associated with the first chakra, the Root chakra. This chakra is responsible for our survival, among other functions. Again, survival is a good thing! So this first step of the journey is vital. We must be able to cope with life, to meet our basic needs, and be able to survive before we can concern ourselves with fulfilling our soul contract and spiritual evolution. Those with a strong first chakra are gifted in this regard, and tend to easily manage the basics as well as manifest abundance. For others, mastering survival may be a critical part of their spiritual lessons and so step one of Separation could take up a substantial portion of their earthly lifetime.
Archetypically, the step of Separation relates to the energy of Jung’s Warrior. The Warrior can manifest positively and negatively. On the positive side, we master assertiveness, self-care, making a difference, courage, discipline, survival and manifestation during step one of Separation. The traps for us in this step are winning at any cost, being addicted to achievement/ success/material goods/status, fighting or competing unnecessarily, and burning ourselves out. Conversely, we may never learn to engage our Warrior at all and so we end up struggling materially, falling victim to others’ power over us, and/or feeling weak, impotent, undisciplined, and needlessly fearful. If you find yourself leaning strongly on either side of this polarity, you may need to continue mastering step one until you bring yourself into a healthy balance.
Astrologically, step one correlates to the sign of Aries, a fire sign and the first on the wheel. It symbolizes the will to exist, determination, survival, initiation, beginnings, the ability to fend for oneself, and courage. The Aries within each of us also (like our Root chakra) is the keeper of our vitality and life force. So step one is associated not only with our ability to survive, but also with our ability to thrive in life and to relish our own vitality and energy. The joy of manifesting in the 3D world is ultimately what we experience when we master step one of the spiritual journey.
Beautifully and right on schedule, humanity is awakening from the historical dilemma of identification with the ego, “survive and thrive,” and the Warrior mentality. I expect many to begin to master and move beyond step one of the journey quite rapidly, and many have already done so. You may be among them!