You are becoming a Spiritual Warrior and must accumulate both power and presence to continue your transformation.
It is time to lift yourself out of the quagmire of your broken ego personality and recognize your Unborn Self. By breaking yourself down into your most basic traits and desires, you become aware of the essences within and isolate them from ego complexes and unwanted unconscious elements. Personal Separation is the discovery of your individual essence and the reclaiming of dream and visionary “gold” previously rejected by the masculine, aggressive, or rational part of your mind. Review formerly hidden material and decide what to discard and what to reintegrate into your refined personality. Much of this shadowy material is things you are ashamed of or were taught to hide away from your parents, churches, and schooling. Separation is getting beyond these restraints to your true nature so the “real you” can shine through. You should try to take an honest look at yourself and the traits you want to count on later in your life.
Chemically, Separation is the isolation of the desired components from the previous two purification operations (Calcination and Dissolution). In the laboratory, the components of the polluted solution from Dissolution are separated out by filtration, cutting, settling, or agitation with air. Any ingenuine or unworthy material is then discarded the most basic constituents of the matter at hand are revealed. In a like manner, a number of psychological Sifting Techniques are available for the alchemist to cut through worldly illusion and catch the ego in its deceptive habits and manipulations.
A method called “Sifting Identity” is a private meditation in which you simply relax, concentrate on your breath, and periodically ask yourself the question, “Who is aware?” In the silence of the response, you can feel your own consciousness at the very ground of your being. Alternatively, sit in a silent, dark room and repeat your name to yourself over and over, trying to determine what it really means. By observing yourself observing yourself, you enter an infinite progression or mental loop — until finally there is no difference between you, the observer, and you the observed, between you and your own consciousness. That primordial awareness is a big part of your true identity, your true Self. Out of the intense focusing of your consciousness on yourself, your individuality fades away into a boundless realm and is replaced by something so vast and eternal that death itself seems a laughable impossibility. During Separation, you realize that the loss of the ego-dominated personality is not extinction but the only true life.
“The Wind carries it in its belly,” says the Emerald Tablet of this phase. The alchemists saw this as an impregnation of the personality with something entirely new, as our true essences come alive and shine through the murky waters of Dissolution. Now it is the job of the life-bringing element of Air to isolate and invigorate the material worthy of further attention. Aside from psychological techniques, there are a number of physical methods for bodily Separation. Some of these methods date back over 3,500 years to Egyptian alchemists who taught spiritual breathing techniques in the city of Akhetaton. These methods centered on working with the subtle life force that the “Wind carries in its belly.” Known in Indian alchemy as “prana” and in Taoist alchemy as “chi,” this vital breath is responsible for a person’s state of health and can also be harnessed for his or her psychospiritual transformation.
People who have not yet begun the process of Separation can be overly assertive and controlling, refusing to compromise in even the most mundane matters. At their worst, they are driven by frustration and anger and can become cruel or violent. On the other hand, people undergoing Separation are courageous and daring, often initiating major changes in the world and in the lives of the people around them. During Separation, you have to cut away all but the purest essences of everything around you. It is what alchemists called dealing only with the “true signatures” of every person, thing, event, or situation.
The sword you use to cut through to reality is your own consciousness honed to penetrate even the deepest illusion. You sharpen this sword of knowing by living on the edge between this world and the next, between matter and mind, between life and death. You no longer immerse yourself totally in the everyday world but sacrifice yourself to a higher reality. The way in which we pay attention to the everyday world is called the First Attention, and most people only know this single way of relating to the world. However, if you defer judgment and use the Second Attention, you can sense things about their character, deepest secrets, and even state of health. To develop the Second Attention, try to detect true signatures, what the Emerald Tablet called the “correspondences” between the Above and the Below, between God and his handiwork.
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