The connected self

Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in Blog | 2 comments

The connected self

Last week, I met up with a very dear and long-term friend.  Since we had last met, she had become increasingly affected by rheumatoid arthritis, a very painful condition. 

I mentioned that I thought that this was an autoimmune condition, and as the words came out of my mouth, I knew that this was significant. 

Not just in relation to her, but that there was a gift in this that would reveal itself in time.

We spent some time discussing an ongoing situation which we had both shared, one which had shocked and dismayed us. 

Where we were compelled to look at profound issues around self-love, self-worth and empowerment, of our life purpose and spiritual orientation.  Of giving our power away as well as of being swayed by other people’s opinions or assessments of us, of others and of “truth.”  

Although some of this is/was still processing, we both had made real progress.   This was obvious from the difference in this conversation and one we had had over a year ago when we both felt very raw and shaken.

I was also aware that, while I was blessed not to have a painful physical condition, my body had reacted to this process in a different way.  

I had put on weight to a degree that was beginning to feel uncomfortable.   Yet any attempt to deal with this directly was met with a “not yet” from somewhere inside me, as if to say “this isn’t the real issue and when you get to that, the weight will begin to sort itself out.”





Integrity & Wholeness

Integrity & Wholeness

I left our conversation knowing there was a connection between her arthritis and my weight, as well as my commitment to integrity.

However, I hadn’t quite tapped into the crucial missing link.

Then I found a reference to an article by Charles Eisenstein entitled “Reuniting the Self: Autoimmunity, Obesity and the Ecology of Health.”   

There is a link to this clear, insightful and beautifully written article at the end of this page.

Here were some answers and insights to what I was feeling out.  

Since I’ve started looking and feeling deeply into integrity, I’ve felt more and more that, in essence, integrity has its roots in our relationship with ourselves, with our source (whatever language one chooses to use for this), with our world, nature and our life purpose. 

It is about the whole of who we are.   And the whole of who we are includes connection, both with our own being and with the world around us.





Our defining sense of self

I Am 2To quote from Eisenstein’s essay:

“Health means a state of wholeness; disease shows us ways in which we are not whole. 

I call obesity and autoimmunity the “defining” epidemics of our age because they arise directly from our defining sense of self, our basic perception of what it is to be

I call it the discrete and separate self, and it reverberates throughout our culture…. The true self is a connected self.”

According to Eisenstein, and his view corresponds to my own perception and experience, this separate-self dis-ease can manifest in two different yet related ways.





War Against the Self

One is the War against the Self, which manifests as self-rejection, self-judgment, self-hatred: in biblical terms, a kingdom divided against itself.  

Autoimmunity is this war’s most direct, obviously symbolic physical expression. 

This doesn’t mean that only people with obvious autoimmune symptoms are at odds with themselves.

Indeed, they may be the ones who are healing enough of this inner conflict to deal with it in a more direct way.  

denial-edit21As he says “ born into this age, we are born into a broken wholeness.   

Any rejection of self breaches our wholeness, that is, our health.”  

He lists some less obvious signs of self-rejection such as trying to be “good”,  thinking of self as a nice person, martyrdom, spiritual pride including thinking you are more spiritual than other people, health fanaticism, perfectionism and several others.  

I like some points he makes about self-rejection:

  • If reading this makes you realize you have been rejecting yourself, don’t use this as another stick to beat yourself with (and reject yourself more); acknowledge yourself for being willing to see this and heal.
  • We make a contribution to the world around us by healing our own war with self.    Even if we do not manifest any of the more intense symptoms, any amount of self-rejection in us contributes to a climate in which such diseases thrive.  




Feeling small

Another effect of the separate self is to make us feel small, as we lose our connection to our innermost selves and also to people and the environment.  

“Rendered small, we are rendered sick.”

“It is not surprising that the lonely diminished self of modern civilization should crave to restore something of its lost being.”   

peacockFeeling keenly the loneliness of such a diminished isolated self, we will do all we can to add to that self, in whatever way is most natural for us individually. 

A literal, obvious way of doing this is to add bulk to the body in an effort to fill an internal feeling of emptiness and to give ourselves a sense of substance.  

Another way is to bulk ourselves up in terms of a bigger house, car, job, trappings of “importance” or similar.   This is extending the symbolism of obesity into a kind of material or “stuff” overconsumption and overweight.   

I have also seen similar phenomena in “spiritual” circles. 

The realization that we are spiritual beings, that we are indeed divine, after aeons of feeling unworthy, can at the beginning have us going to the other extreme of thinking our spirituality makes us special or more important.  

When the pendulum stops swinging between the extremes of worthlessness and the dizzy heights of a new-found worthiness, we know in our bones that yes, we are sacred and divine, but so is everything else.    

On one level, it’s amazing.   On another, it’s no big deal!




Connected self

This makes so much sense to me and I felt really gifted to have come across this work.  

Eisenstein’s view, as is mine, is that the manifestation of these conditions is signalling a deep level of healing, and that the healing starts with loving ourselves in a way that we may not have done before.  

“The true self must expand for the separate self to shrink.”   What a brilliant way of putting it.

This connects so profoundly with how my understanding of integrity has been unfurling. 

How we see ourselves

How we see ourselves

Coming into our own integrity, our wholeness, our self-love which leads to love of all, is a gift we can give freely and without interference with the free will of others.  

As Eisenstein says, we can’t say that we love others and that we are only hard on or judgmental of ourselves.   

“Any self-rejection, any violence towards the inner aspects of self, always projects outward as violence to others too.”

Anyone dealing with autoimmunity or weight issues may actually be in the forefront of transmuting this war on self to genuine love and connection.  

To finish with some lines from the last paragraph:

“A prodigious energy will be freed when we end the War against the Self encoded in autoimmunity.

A magnificent abundance will become available when we stop consuming things we don’t need in compensation for the things we do…

The illness is the medicine.  The true nature of the connected self, love, is beckoning in every realm.  It is your nature and it is mine.   Let us relax into it.”






I would like to express my deep appreciation to Charles Eisenstein for his insights and eloquence.





  1. I love this website. Thank you! I met you and Noel several years ago at a KS gathering in Phoenix and love you both. I really appreciate your writings and musings. I too am endeavouring to become a coach, and this gave me inspiration and encouragement.

    With appreciation,

    • Thank you for connecting, Robyne. Good to know that you are enjoying the website. Feel free to comment or give your own reflections.

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