Chapter Two—First Key: Do Not Believe in Loss or Gain

Returning to Oneness

The Seven Keys of Ascension


Download a pdf of Chapter Two

The First Key—Do Not Believe in Loss or Gain

“Do not believe in loss or gain” is our first key, and it opens the lock between the throat chakra (fifth) and the third-eye chakra (sixth). Crucial to our understanding here is not to believe the egoic programming about loss, and of course it also involves not believing in its opposite, gain, either. Loss and gain are a polarized duality and are inseparable.

Now you may truly believe that there is such a thing as loss and gain, and in the old reality it certainly appears to be true—that is, “seeing is believing”. Yet the truth of our eternal beingness is that nothing can be added to us that is not already there, and conversely nothing can be taken away from who we already are. We are perfect, complete and absolutely whole. When we know this truth, we are in our most natural state.

The idea of loss and gain is a program held in the matrix of third-dimensional egoic programming, and in a sense is nothing more than an idea held in the limited mind. Therefore it is essential on the path of Self- discovery to clear the shadow of loss and gain to find liberation from the third dimension.

Let’s look at this key in terms of our schematic of the subtle body. Our consciousness naturally perceives inter-connectedness and ultimately unity consciousness at the third eye and above, at the crown chakra. This is in addition to finding it in the core—should we be able to enter there. Below the third eye and on down through the chakras, the ego perceives duality. This is where the third eye, the one single eye, located roughly between the eyebrows, becomes the two-the dual physical eyes. This spot between the third eye and the two physical eyes is the origin of our either-or mind, the mind that flip-flops from one side of a polarity to the other. It is in this spot, below the third eye, that subtle meridians of energy begin—upward and downward flows of awareness from which we perceive duality. They rotate around, in a double-helix, surrounding and veiling the core. It is here that awareness is deceived into the program of extreme polarization of the third dimension and where our true, eternal perceiver becomes veiled and clouded.

In Matthew 6:22, Jesus said, “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” He was referring to the fact that when our flow of awareness ascends permanently to the third eye, becoming established there, then not only does the body become filled with energy manifesting as light, but when it is vibrating fast enough, we become illumined and permanently conscious of our true nature as unity.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree

Loss is only a perception of the limited mind. One year in the early 1980s I had worked quite late on Christmas Eve and had to drive a couple of hours down the Inter­state to my apartment. Although I had never spent Christ­mas alone, due to my circumstances that year, I was destined to be spending Christmas on my own and had done nothing about it—made no preparations or anything. I had no furniture either, since I had just moved into the apartment. Somehow it felt like I was being set up to have quite possibly a most depressing holiday. Even though it was late, I thought, “Well, I’ll just go down to the local Christ­mas tree lot and see if I can get a tree.” It was already 8:30 p.m. The attendant was closing the gate as I got there, and the lot was empty of people and trees. I realized that all the tree shoppers must be at home eating Christmas Eve dinner with their families and friends. The salesman didn’t really have anything left, but we found a nice branch. Under the circumstances I was thrilled to get the branch! I took it home and sort of propped it up in the corner. It crossed my mind that this was going to be a dreary Christ­mas since I had no decorations, just a very short string of rainbow-colored lights, which I wound around the tree. On the journey home, the branch had transformed in my mind into a tree. It was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I made the conscious choice not to feel like a “loser,” and not to feel depressed about being alone in an empty apartment during Christmas. Instead of buying into the idea of loss, I chose to perceive my circumstances differently.

To my surprise I soon became totally entranced by the small tree/branch with its colored lights. It lit up the whole place since there was no furniture to compete with it. So I sat for hours in meditation—open-eyed meditation, just gazing at this tree. And I ended up sitting the whole night. Given that it was Christmas Eve, I thought, “Well, this is probably a good time to meditate all night.” During the long hours all I did was sing the praises of the Divine and express my gratitude, giving thanks for the year that had gone by and for the blessings of my life. I focused on all the wonderful things that had happened, and I loved this tree. I just worshipped the Divine through the beauty of this Charlie Brown tree!

I think it was about 1:00 a.m., when an energy came in that was so transcendental that I couldn’t focus properly on the lights anymore. My eyes went out of focus so that the lights were refracting in every direction, and the tree became sort of kaleidoscopic, rainbow-cloaked, and aura-enclosed—just exquisite. All I could see was the aura around the lights and these rainbow beams going everywhere. It got more and more beautiful as the night flowed on. My state of consciousness became increasingly vast, eternal, and transcendental. The experience lasted through the whole of the next day.

That day I walked on the deserted beach near my home and was in ecstasy. It didn’t matter that my tree was this little Charlie Brown branch and that I had five colored lights on it. It had turned into a magical doorway into eternity. I was tapping into the generosity of spirit. With this experience came the realization that, “When you are in equanimity with the Truth, what will manifest for you is beyond your wildest dreams.”

Loss Means Loss of Energy

When the ego feels it has suffered a loss, the mental, emotional and physical bodies contract and lose their light. They become deprived of energy, or life force. This loss of life force brings up deep-seated fears in the ego that make it react with certain behaviors, such as the need to defend and protect itself from further loss.

At the very root of the loss of life force lies the fear of death. When the egoic mind extrapolates extreme loss of life force, it feels death approaching. For within the limited knowledge of the ego, the total loss of life force equals the total loss of everything. The ego fears loss because only it can die. Who “you” truly are, can never die.

Overall, the consciousness of the third dimension is based on loss and gain. Experiencing loss drops awareness out of the natural unified state, which, unbeknownst to us, we are in more than we realize, mostly when we feel contentment or peace. It does not matter if it is a big loss or a small loss. Big and small are relative perceptions of the limited, egoic mind.

Watch how your mind will immediately pick up on a thought that has the kernel of loss woven into it. The mind is hyper-vigilant about loss; it is watching constantly for signs of potential losses. Observe how thoughts that even hint at the possibility of loss drop your awareness into exhaustion—loss of energy. Loss is not only associated with material possessions or the loss of loved ones in relationships; there are many other kinds of loss. Some examples of loss would be, disapproval, criticism, blame, rejection, betrayal, abandonment, self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, withholdings and grievances. Loss can be so many things on so many levels: loss of face, of dignity, of energy, of happiness, of connectedness, of resources, of inspiration, of your divine state and so forth. There are many more. In fact, any experience of the negative side of any duality would contain a tonality of loss.

Perhaps you can’t find your toothbrush, and it is making you crazy. It is a small loss, but it is enough to spin you. Sometimes the polarized mind can even make the loss of your toothbrush into a betrayal by God and drop you right down into feeling a state of deep separation! And then of course there are the other, big losses that seem more life shattering, and are very obviously energy draining. So it is important to observe how the egoic mind plays tricks on your awareness and sets you up to lose energy.

The Witness

It is important to develop a strong, neutral witness in this clearing work. The witness is that part of you that is outside the ego—outside the spin of negative and positive polarities. The stronger your ability to be in the witness, observing life from the neutral place outside of the ego, the better your ability to clear egoic shadow issues.

As you learn to identify more deeply with the witness, you will have an ever-increasing ability to recognize all the facets of your egoic programming. The witness is fully centered at all times and occupies the middle ground between the extremes of negative and positive. Since this is so, it recognizes that ego is involved when the intense fears associated with loss come up. Likewise, it also recognizes that ego is involved when the intense desires associated with gain come up. It has a moderating, stabilizing and balancing influence on the ego’s dance between the fear of loss and the desire for gain.

A strong witness is most important when we work on patterns that involve the issue of loss. When a situation arises that sparks excessive reactivity, the witness can recognize it. The witness knows that excessive reactivity to something means that childhood or infant issues are involved. You might find yourself thinking, “Gosh, I’m a grownup person. Why am I feeling like this?” The witness knows that doing the shadow-clearing work involves slipping in and out of our infant issues constantly.

The Deprived Child

The ego’s first programming with loss begins to be instituted in infancy. Therefore in working with healing our patterns around loss, we must be willing to go back in time and look at our childhoods and even our infancies. Looking at the early programming around loss usually reveals the presence of a deprived child who lives inside us even when we are adults.

It is always important when working with a pattern to look at its opposite. The deprived child can have a number of opposites. One of them is a persona that takes the form of a greedy and power-hungry go-getter. The third-dimensional world is largely run by this polarity. The “black-hole” neediness of the deprived child and the resulting “hungry-ghost” greediness that develops in the adult are juxtaposed to form a very dominant personality structure.

The deprived child can grow up with other compensatory patterns too, such as someone who sublimates his/her own neediness into finding fulfillment in serving others in a codependent way—the rescuer or the savior. In my observation there are four specific compensating overlays to the deprived child: the needy victim, the greedy tyrant, the withholding rebel, and the martyred savior. And each of these overlays will differ slightly through being held in either a feminine or masculine ego.

The neediness of the deprived child lends fire to the adult’s compensatory behaviors. The adult feels the need to fill up the inner emptiness of loss and emotional deprivation through his/her own efforts. I call the one who efforts “the doer”—someone with an aggressive, driven quality which out-pictures as an often insatiable thirst to be somebody in order to heal the nobody that the deprived child feels itself to be.

This hungry quality can appear as extreme rapacious greed, dominating and exploiting in its efforts to feel less like a loser, or it can also be a desire to succeed in somewhat more modest ways without the extreme abuse of power of the tyrant. The degree of compensating by the adult persona is proportional to the degree of wounding experienced by the deprived child.

One thing is robustly clear, the ambitious desire to fill oneself with material success will always fail—material success may come but it will not satisfy the inner neediness. The program of the deprived child is a bottomless pit which can never be filled by the adult doer’s compensating efforts. Yet we just have to look at the seductive material world around us to see that billions of people are deluded into believing that it might. However, it is a program, like a computer program, coded to give a result of emptiness. No matter how much material success is poured into the black hole of neediness, it cannot and never will feel fulfilled. Nothing short of the full healing of the inner deprived child will allow the adult to find fulfillment.

The egoic programming of the human ego can be very easily likened to a computer program. It can only do what it is programmed to do, unlike our true Self, which has awareness directly plugged into the unfathomable intelligence of universal mind. And because the deprived-child program is designed to produce a result of emptiness and loss, then that is what it produces. Indeed that is all it can produce. It can never give a reading of fulfillment—leaving the hungry, greedy go-getter forever attempting to override the “empty” program by creating a “full” program, which is an act of futility. The only solution is to see the empty and full programs as forming a polarity in ego and to do the processing work to dissolve them.

Beyond Loss and Gain Is Love

Love has the capacity to multiply itself. It has a mysterious component in that it always multiplies itself, and it never divides. This is an important thing to remember about love. Material things, when separated from the component of love, have a way of dividing themselves. If you cut an apple in half and give half away, your material eyes will see that you have only half an apple left. Your material eyes are the dual, physical eyes that choose to run things through the filters of loss and gain.

But when you give love, whether the love takes the form of a generous gift of material things, or of energy, such as prayer or plain old goodwill, then that love multiplies, and the energy exchange does not involve loss and gain. If you give away material things on a flow of love, the material things will multiply, too. It is the love that multiplies them.

If you are feeling love, even if it is just for five minutes in the middle of some working day, stop and watch how all-encompassing it is. It connects and contains. Send it out in the form of gratitude, appreciation and wishes for others to receive the gift of the grace that you are enjoying in that moment. Just let your heart create the intention, and the love will do its work of multiplication.

When you suffer a loss, it is the relative mind that says, “This wasn’t supposed to happen. I don’t deserve this.” If instead, you can find the heart and say, “God’s grace gave me this experience, and I accept it with an even mind,” then the soul will take a quantum leap forward.

When you choose to buy into loss, disappointment can take over and ruin your day. Choosing not to buy into the loss allows you to see life’s grace gently guiding you through the necessary changes toward truth, to seeing a bigger picture. As it happens, allow yourself to understand that there is a lesson being given to you that will free you. In that freedom you will find the grace to express gratitude for the growth taking place in you.

This is how compassion is born in us. You can have compassion for yourself, as you would for others, for the wounding and the losses that you appear to have taken.

Decoding the Loss Matrix

The training the first key offers us is this: to give up the notion that we are locked into this little loss-gain reality and its ongoing tragedy and suffering. There are brilliant, vast forces at work at a soul level which are eternal and infinite. These forces are bringing us through wondrous experiences that evolve us. They are not out to harm us. They are only here to help us grow. And the experiences do help us grow when we do not run them through the old programming of loss and gain. The quality of our lives is defined by what we focus on in each moment. Using this key will help us to focus moment to moment on the big picture rather than on the small, limiting idea of loss or gain.

By being alert and conscious of the mental ideas and beliefs that arise in the mind, we can witness the mind creating the events of our lives. We can use these moments of clarity to choose whether or not to be in relativity—for example, relating to loss and gain.

If our witness catches the mind fearing loss on a mental or emotional level, we will not necessarily have to learn the lesson of loss as a physical experience by living it out in the world. By inquiring into what the mind is doing, by immediately detaching from the fear and by facing the unknown that the situation presents, we can discern the lesson on the mental or emotional level, which is a quicker, less painful way than having the issue manifest on a physical level.

Here is an example of how this works. I once worked with a woman who asked me to help her process her fear of losing her friends. Her childhood wounding was deep, and she complained that nobody liked her. She was lonely and depressed because she would make friends and always lose them. She knew she was somehow pushing them away, but could not fix the problem. We looked at her fear of losing her friends and processed the childhood wounding. Among other issues, we processed her neediness, which grew out of a dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Her deep desire for friends was so extreme that her new found friends were repulsed by the neediness and would leave shortly after meeting her. With processing, it was not long before she cleared deep layers of victim patterning and much of the compensatory behaviors associated with it. Her neediness dissipated. As a result, she became less afraid of losing friends. Her ability to witness her fear pattern strengthened. She developed the ability to catch the fear in her mind in the moment and not to buy into it. Now she has plenty of friends because she deconstructed much of the childhood programming that caused her to be so desperate and grasping. She learned the lesson at a mental-emotional level through the processing, and so she does not have to live it out anymore on a physical level by actually gaining and losing friends. She is a much happier person now, her life is smoother, and she has more equanimity and detachment.

Everybody, whether they are witnessing or not, whether they are on an advanced spiritual path or not, is making choices in the mind, in each moment. Even though our egos run the programming of loss, there is always an opportunity in every moment to choose not to buy into it. And that is the process of ascension—not buying into the programming.

Letting Go of Loss

Often we come up against some barriers in consciousness where parts of the ego just cannot let go. The ego simply will not release the losses that we believe we have taken in our life. The ego has made the losses a big deal or has found a pay off in some way. There is something we get from holding onto them, some way in which life reciprocates our sense of loss and deprivation. Everything is in the eye of the perceiver, however. We can choose to perceive differently.

If the losses have programmed the ego to feel inadequate, worthless, useless, or deprived, or have somehow robbed you of your dignity, it is very hard to let go of the negative image of yourself. There is also the positive side, though. This is where you feel self-importance and work really hard at trying to build self-esteem and confidence to help you feel good about yourself. It is important to remember that this positive side is all just ego, too. Old stories you have woven around losses and gains are all just aspects of the false personality, the false you. Dissolution is possible if you are willing to take a look at both the negative and the positive images that you hold about yourself and to realize that it is all egoic programming, not who you really are as eternal beingness.

Start by doing some in-depth exploring. Ask yourself, “What is this negative image I have of myself? What is the positive one?” Look at both of them and write about them in your journal. If you cannot see the negative one, delineate the positive one, because it will be the logical opposite.

Situations in life will trigger feelings of inadequacy, insecurity or inferiority, which are basically feelings of loss. Even though something outside you may trigger the program holding those feelings, it is not the outside doing it to you. Never ever! It is coming from your inner programming of the deprived child.

Almost everyone feels useless, inferior and inadequate at least some of the time. It is because that old vibratory field of the deprived child is around your body all the time, as a miasma, a veil, even when you are not focused on it. It may be mostly unconscious, while its opposite, the positive side—superiority, for example—is mostly in the conscious awareness. Then the inadequacy and the superiority flip sides when something seemingly outside triggers a reaction.

It is important to try to define the vibratory fields associated with egoic states that you hold around your body. If you can feel them and give words to them in your journal, you are taking the first step toward a major clearing.

For example, as you explore your feelings, you may find words like incompetent, useless, insecure, shy, fearful and damaged. Then you look for the antonyms of those words. For example: competent, useful, secure, outgoing, courageous and healthy. As you make the lists of opposites, it is important to remember that none of it is you. It is not who you truly are as the Self. It is simply the programmed personality. Even if you have held onto it for fifty years, you do not have to for another fifty years.

Once you have felt the vibrations and witnessed them, you can say, “I choose not to carry this field around with me.” Because you have found both the positive and negative sides of the ego, both the conscious and the unconscious, you can offer up both sides to Spirit in a prayer, releasing any attachment to both sides. As you do this, you can consciously choose not to buy into or believe the situation of loss that gave rise to the feelings. You may still have the memory in your mind, but this process will help diffuse the memory and take away the sting. In this way you can let the memory and the miasma go. They are not you.

The Ego Expands and Contracts with Loss and Gain

Usually there is an enormous fear in the ego of what is perceived as emptiness, so much so that we would rather hold onto our negative baggage than actually venture forth into our true, pristine state of beingness. The reason is that we project the fear of emptiness and of the void onto the true void of eternity because that is all the ego knows. In our conditioned state, we do not know what the shining void of eternity is, unless we have had an experience of it in meditation or in some other context. The ego will fear it because it fears the unknown.

It is the ego’s program to fear the unknown, because it sees its death. The ego fears its death. It would rather live in extreme states of limitation and even negativity than give up its power and let go—which means ego death. There is logic to that. When you are in a negative state, the egoic consciousness contracts, and in that contracting you find a feeling of security. In the comfort of contraction, you know you exist. There is no danger of your flying off like a helium balloon into outer space, which it sometimes feels could happen when the anchoring of the ego begins to dissipate. As a result the ego imagines and fears the helium balloon scenario.

The ego has the extremes of its negative side and its positive side, based on expansion and contraction. When it is negative, it contracts. It contracts to make itself dense and heavy, and that grounds it. If it contracts too much, then you start feeling so dense that it becomes unbearable. So there is a lower limit to how much contraction the egoic programming will allow before it turns into its opposite. The energy moves in a figure eight. You go down into the negative, and when you hit the bottom extreme, you create a ray of hope, which moves it in the direction of expansion. Then up it goes and begins to expand again. Then the fear of floating off into the void comes in, and you will create a doubt, which institutes a contraction. This is the way the ego works, continuously cycling around, expanding and contracting.

Beyond the ego is simply beingness—changeless, eternal, complete, full and luminous. To experience this beingness, we must release some of the ego’s ballast. Ballast is a shipping term which means to weight down and stabilize. When a boat goes out to sea with no cargo, it will take on water just to keep it weighted down. Normally the cargo keeps the ship steady and weighted down in the water, but if the ship is too light, it bobs too much and can capsize. Like ships, we use our negative states to weight ourselves down and to stabilize. The ego believes it can become unstable, and of course, beliefs fulfill themselves.

So the egoic expansion and contraction can become unstable. But the real you, the perceiver, the eternal I, can never be unstable. Nothing can destabilize that. It is perfectly formed in what it is. It cannot change. It cannot lose anything, and it cannot gain anything. It has and is everything. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken away.

It is not possible to let go of all the ballast at once. It takes time. When you make a choice to let go of some of your ballast, there has to be a period of rewiring. The subtle meridians and all the circuits of the body get reconfigured in such a way that allows you to be able to hold the clear light of reality and you will find yourself evolving into a new state. The clear light of reality, the sense of stability and the permanent, changeless state of beingness, must be wired into the subtle bodies gradually, so that this cycling around the figure eight is minimal.

In the beginning it is the daily experience of the cycling ego that dominates our awareness, and as we make the choices to wake up to that and to see the truth, the amount of our attention that is caught in that figure eight diminishes. More of our attention will be held in the clear perceiver, and this is the process that happens within time.

So letting go of the idea of loss is first. We get it on a mental level first because mental energy is quick; it grasps things. Second is the emotional letting go, which is more challenging. Those vibratory fields that are our emotional states, which we hold in and around the body—feelings of confusion, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and despair, to name a few—are states that give us ballast. Remember to witness them. Remember, too, that you will not float into space if you let go of your negative emotional baggage. And remember your wholeness.

As you let go of the negativity, the cargo you take on is love. I suggest that you dedicate 365 days a year to remembering love. Never let a single day go by that you do not think of and honor your own ability to love and give love. Try each day to consciously make a point of expressing that love, feeling it inside yourself and expressing it in some way to somebody. If you can do that daily, then you will find you can do it the rest of your life. And you will be very happy. That is the key to happiness.

A Process

The following egoic clearing technique is called “polarity processing” and is explained in more detail in the book, The Marriage of Spirit—Enlightened Living in Today’s World.

Write a story in your journal about an experience of loss. Be sure to include all your feelings about it. Don’t economize with the paper. Be as thorough as you possibly can. Include things like: How do you fear loss? Is there any payoff in experiencing loss? How and why might you attract loss? How do you try to avoid loss? Go back through the story and circle all the descriptive words and phrases—adjectives, adverbs, anything with a charge to it. Make a list of all those circled words and phrases down the left-hand column of a page. Then in the right-hand column, write the opposites. These two lists are the polarities that comprise the ego, that lock you into attractions and repulsions and that keep you stuck in the limitation and duality of the separate system. Make an offering of the list and give it all back to Spirit. Let it all go, knowing none of it is who you truly are. You are eternity. In a meditation, release it, do not believe in the loss or the gain, try instead to feel love and compassion and try to feel the movement of energy into the third eye.

A Prayer

Oh Eternity, please take all of these states of mind which are unbalanced in this pattern and balance and clear them. Do this so that I may see more clearly and find my way home more easily. I offer up the egoic belief in loss and gain, and I ask to live more in love, compassion and unity consciousness. I give thanks knowing this work will be done.

A Meditation

Sit comfortably. Take five or seven deep breaths until your breathing becomes calm and deep. Now visualize the core as it is situated along the central axis of the body. It looks rather like a luminous fluorescent tube running down the center of your subtle body. In the physical body it corresponds more or less to the spine but sits slightly in front of it. By visualizing it, you begin to feel its presence.

Imagine that you, as your essential Self, are the core. Think of how we write the letter “I”, a straight vertical column. It means us—who we are. The letter “I”, describing who we are, comes from the shape of the core. It is the most powerful energy meridian in all the bodies, and it is actually the “I”. It is where the presence of the “I am-ness” is situated in us. At the same time it is also situated at the very center of the cosmos. It is not to be confused with the “I am something in particular,” such as “I am a loser,” “I am an artist,” or “I am tall with brown eyes.”

Sit with your attention on the core, holding center and feel your “I am-ness” for awhile.

This is an excerpt from Returning to Oneness—The Seven Keys of Ascension which is available for purchase at the CoreLight webstore.
by Leslie Temple-Thurston with Brad Laughlin • ISBN: 0-9660182-9-X • Softcover • 160 pages • $13.00

Copyright ©2002 by CoreLight.
All rights reserved. You may use or reproduce as long as the text is unaltered and appropriately credited.


As you enter the eye of the needle even momentarily, you become pure beingness, nothing but light in fact. In our egoic self we are accustomed to feeling as though we are “somebody” or even its polarity, “nobody.” The doorway into the heart is about passing between these two sides of the ego and momentarily becoming who you truly are, pure beingness, energy without any human attributes.