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wareness & Five Koshas
Awareness & the Five Koshas - The Process of Yoga Nidra

© Richard C. Miller PhD

Nondual Awareness & Separation

There is only Awareness.1 All experiences arise in and are not separate from Awareness for Awareness and its objects are always one, not two.

Separation is a feeling that arises in Awareness and is not separate from Awareness. Identification occurs when the feeling of separation is misperceived by the mind as a statement of fact.


When the belief of separation is projected outward the notion arises that all objects are also separate. Projection, identification and the belief of separation are based on misperception for there is only Awareness.

The function of the mind is to split that, which is one into two. The split mind gives rise to the notion of separation. The mind perceives two where there is only one.

Introjective Identification

When the uninformed mind experiences projection, it internalizes the projection as an introject. The mind then identifies with this introject in a process we call introjective identification. In projection we believe another is like our self. In introjective identification we believe we are like another.

Projective Identification

Projective identification is a process that occurs when, by the force of another’s projection, we introject their projection, believing it to be our own. For instance when someone is unable to be with their anger they project it into you. You mistake their feeling of anger as belonging to you and project it back towards them. Then they become upset because you are angry with them when all the time it is they who are angry with their own self!

Projection, introjective identification and projective identification are all founded on the misperception of separation created by the function of the split mind. But these are movements in Awareness and therefore are not separate from Awareness.


The feeling of separation arises in Awareness. The impulse to heal and the healing of this misperception similarly arises in Awareness. The feeling of separation, the need to heal separation and the healing separation are one movement. They co-arise. They are not separate movements. An apparently separate 'I' is healing an apparent wound of separation. When ultimate healing occurs the myth of separation is realized to be a myth. In this timeless moment the realization unfolds that there is only Awareness. Then, self and all objects are realized to be Awareness. All healing ultimately leads to this understanding that there is only Awareness.

Progressive Healing

Because the notion of separation is a misperception in the mind, ultimately all healing entails dispelling false mental beliefs. But mental beliefs are stored in the body as reactive sensation, emotion and imagery. Therefore healing often appears to progressively proceed from the physical to the mental.

The Six Koshas

The process of healing is conceptually formulated in the theory of the six Koshas, or levels separation.
  1. The physical body-Anamaya
  2. The energy body-Pranamaya
  3. The body of feeling and emotion-Manomaya
  4. The body of intellect-Vijñânamaya
  5. The body of joy-Anandamaya
  6. The body of ego-I-Asmitamaya
  7. Our Natural Condition-Sahaj

1. The physical body - Anamaya Kosha

The physical body is an intelligent community of interconnected and inseparable parts sustained by life force, or Prana. As such the physical body is a microcosm of the macrocosm, containing within it all the other koshas.

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About The Author
Richard Miller's teachings come out of his direct experience of living truth as echoed in the timeless teachings of nondualism found in Advaita, Zen and Chan. He is recognized as a leader in the field of nondualism, honored by Yoga Journal and featured in American Yoga and Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life? Richard is the founder and director of the......more
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