Following yesterdays post on The 3 Levels Of Consciousness & The Grand Detour it seems time to discuss The Special Case Syndrome. This is something which occurs when there is a large amount of clinging to the lower two levels of consciousness but there has been a glimpse of the higher level(s). This sort of a glimpse can take place in the awareness of the individual or as part of an experience where someone else has this sort of awareness.

What Exactly Is The Special Case Syndrome?

It’s a clever name for something I’ve noticed and felt needed a label to better explain what it really is. Jokes aside, The Special Case Syndrome is a way of filtering reality in order to generate or reinforce certain attachments to particular ideas. This first occurs in the self and then in order to uphold that, it is transferred onto others. A classic example of this is, “I’m not as talented as you.” or “You’re much more talented than me.” This is to create a view of oneself as special – in this instance the quality of this lack of talent is a way to generate significance and thus specialness. In order to uphold this story, however, we have to make the other person into a special case too (at least in our minds) by saying that they are particularly talented. This can then lead to idolisation, obsession, depression and so on.

The Other Side Of Making Things About The Person

osho someoneIn the previous post, I wrote on how we often make things about the person. In that instance, I used the phrase to outline how when we are limiting ourselves to restrictive states of consciousness then we begin to cling to some state of exclusivity wherein great teachers and gurus are seen only as people speaking truth rather than what they truly are – conduits of truth. The other side of making things about the person is to make things about the persona. By which I mean that when we are faced with something which does not fit with something we are already attached to, we then draw some means for suffering from it in the form of a new belief. An example is that when we are faced with a great guru or saint, we turn into a babbling pile of emotion and say things like, “I love you, I love you. I am here to have what you are here to give. I am not worthy of your presence. Take this from me.” It sounds insane but honestly, I’ve seen it happen. People like Mooji who bring such one-pointed truth into the experience of people have those who are not ready for it (those who are clinging to the lower to levels of consciousness with a tight hold) come in front of them to find themselves becoming fanatical and delusional rather than free.

Messiah Complex

martyrdomOne example of the extreme way that this syndrome can occur is when someone gets a glimpse of inner-truth but is still largely clinging to their identity and the first two levels of consciousness. Instead of allowing the magnitude of the inner-truth they have experienced to take root in their awareness, they instead ignore some aspect of this truth in order to preserve a certain degree of comfort. Of course, it’s understandable that one would prefer comfort over the expanding of horizons but this attachment to preference in the shadow of suffering is characteristic of the lower two levels of consciousness (Argh and Ohh). So, when someone gets a stark glimpse of inner-truth but is still clings to their attachment to their identity they will often generate a whole new addition to their identity surrounding this new truth to compensate for it. In order to do this however, they will likely have to ignore some aspect of the truth to avoid feeling like a hypocrite. The Messiah Complex is a prime example of this. Within the realisation that one is Christ, we must also acknowledge that everybody and everything (and the formless too) is Christ. This is costly for the identity though, so this powerful realisation of the inherent divinity of all things (form and formlessness alike) is reduced to delusion. This delusion may lead people to proclaim that they are the saviour of humanity or that they are uniquely gifted. Notice that the figure of Jesus – the person – never claimed that he – the person – was the saviour of humanity. That was the work of fanatics afterwards.

When Does The Special Case Syndrome Occur?

As outlined in the previous section in a more extreme way, this Special Case Syndrome occurs when we are clinging to one particular thing – mental or otherwise – and then are presented with something which seems to challenge it. The image of a home-owner who hates untidiness who has the one room filled with everything she can’t find a place for. The story of the person who never attained enlightenment because they decided it wasn’t for them and so limited themselves to a life of suffering. These are two different examples of this syndrome occurring. One less detrimental than the other of course, however from this we can see that there are two sides to this also.

The Root Of Special Case Syndrome

For the home-owner with the cluttered room, this cluttered room will not become the source of suffering until she begins to develop and cling to some idea that this cluttered room somehow reflects her as a person. For the depressed individual who shies from enlightenment, this experience has become part of their personal identity and as such creates a heavy amount of suffering for them. As children, it is necessary for us to develop some sense of individualism in order to interact with the world. It’s also an integral part of becoming free from suffering. In the same way that we have to forget in order to remember, or that we have to know darkness to appreciate light, we have to develop a sense of self in order to not cling to it. And this Special Case Syndrome is no different, we grow to feel special and significant in our younger years and then we must loosen our hold on this idea later on.

The Special Case Syndrome is not without use or purpose in our daily lives though. When it comes to individuality there is some value in appreciating the uniqueness of all things. It is when that specialness is all we see or when we cling to these ideas of specialness that problems are created. We must realise that uniqueness, individuality and consequent notions of specialness are all results of the world of form – the impermanent changing world. While certain things may apply to one individual that do not apply to others, there are certain things which are not subject to the limitations of individuality. These things are outside of the confines of the mind. Examples of this on the physical level are the beating of the heart, the breathing of air. Without these things, we cannot survive as humans. Similarly, freedom from suffering is not limited to the confines of the thinking mind. As such, freedom from suffering is not only available to select individuals. Freedom from suffering is accessible to you as long as you do not cling to these two lower levels of consciousness. That does not mean that these two levels of consciousness go anywhere but it means that they simply are and you are instead of living within the reality that you are your pain, suffering, ideas, beliefs and so on.

It seems that although the Special Case Syndrome is commonly participating in some way in the creation or perpetuation of suffering, the way in which it is most detrimental is that if we cling to the idea of being a “special case” then we are a) limiting ourselves to the first two levels of consciousness and b) standing in the way of freedom from suffering. This syndrome, like love, compassion, lust, greed, envy, mercy, is a natural part of life and cannot be made into an enemy without making some part of life into an enemy.

How To Love The Special Case Syndrome To Death

5f38b3873f702f5101f8dcb8ffa78687The first step to loving the Special Case Syndrome to death is realising that there is no person on this planet that does not have – to some degree – at least one genuine article of this. Within every persona, there is some special case syndrome occurring, there is no special case. As long as there is ego, personality and identity there is the Special Case Syndrome. The way to love it to death is to not limit ourselves to living from the lower two levels of consciousness. As I said in the previous post, from the Ahh space, both the Argh and Ohh states are perfectly visible but they do not define the Ahh space. The Ahh space is inherently compassionate, loving, accepting and welcoming. The Ahh space is beyond even these things. In fact, this Ahh space is the space in which all things occur. Both the Argh and Ohh states are occurring within the Ahh space. (The Argh takes places inside the Ohh and the Ohh in turn within the Ahh – think of Russian Nesting Dolls). It is not difficult for us to love anything that takes place within the Argh and Ohh states when we recognise our true “self” to be that of the Ahh space. The Ahh space loves the Argh and Ohh like a mother loves her child. In fact, the Ahh loves the Argh as much as the Argh loves it’s suffering. That’s a lot of love, eh?

When we realise on a profound level that this Ahh space is our essential nature (which, in itself is beyond form and so is beyond nature and essentialness) then loving everything without conditions or attachments is effortless. The Ahh space loves without ideas of love. When we recognise that the Special Case Syndrome is usually a last resort way of gleaning some sense of a solid identity for the ego-mind, we see it for what it is… A cry for help – a plea for freedom from all that it knows. And that movement from all we know into the unknown uncharted waters of freedom is terrifying. If you’ve ever moved abroad, you’ll know this sort of a feeling first-hand. From personal experience, I can say that moving to a culture where pretty much everything is different (England to Mexico) is like having the ground whipped out from underneath you and having it replaced by a brittle fried corn tortilla. It’s scary at first and it’s not something that the aspect of you which is obsessed with familiarity is keen on embracing. Sooner or later though, that tiny part of you that is clinging to this suffering comes to realise that it has a very simple choice: Keep suffering or accept what is. Like hatching from an egg, the initial movement from darkness to the light of the world is exhaustingly terrifying… But when you realise that the only part of you which is actually capable of being terrified or exhausted is only really one rather limited aspect of you, then the game changes. No longer are you the dancer of the dance. The dance is simply danced and you are. This is the Ahh space. And in the Ahh space, the special case is just happening.

The Special Case Syndrome ceases to be problematic when we are able to do the following:

  1. Recognise that the Special Case Syndrome happens only within the limited framework of the persona.
  2. Recognise that this occurs for every single persona worldwide – in every single person.
  3. Pay attention to which state of consciousness you are in at any given moment – Is it Argh, Ohh or Ahh? And then shift up through them through this awareness.
  4. Realise when the Special Case Syndrome is playing out within your thoughts, words and actions.
  5. Rest in the Ahh space instead of believing and investing in the Special Case Syndrome and consequently believing that you are the one who is the Special Case (or that you are even – in your totality – the body, mind or personality).

It is a rather beautiful gesture from the Argh and Ohh states, the Special Case Syndrome. If it gets out of hand though – that is to say, if one invests in it – then it will lead to suffering in great measure.

I hope this serves you well.

Live, love and play.