Living Relationship

*Pic Shlomi Nissim



The Core Deficiency and Relationship


The core deficiency is the core story related to the self center. Most people carry a deficiency story that strikes at the very heart of who they think they are. The sense of separation carries with it an emotional wound that arises along with a mental story of being deficient in some way. The story may or may not be conscious, and is often illuminated through relationship. The Unfindable Inquiry can be used to see through the story, and the emotional wound that comes with it.

Relationship has a built-in mirroring effect. We grow up thinking that we are deficient in some way.  As we move through life, others appear to reflect back to us this core, deficient self. This deficiency story comes in many forms, including “I’m not good enough,” “I’m broken,” “I’m unlovable,” “I don’t count,” “I’m imperfect,” and “I’m not valued.”  This story makes us seek outside ourselves, in objects and people, for what we think we lack within. It makes us try to control the actions of others in an attempt to feel more at ease with ourselves. This strengthens the belief in separation, keeping the core deficiency story in place.

If we look, we can see that the mirroring is happening in every direction. Relationship is a mirror through which we can see the reflection of our core identity. We seek love from others because we feel unlovable. We seek enlightenment, recovery, or self-improvement because we feel as if we are missing something at the core. We seek praise, attention, and acknowledge through employment and other endeavors because we feel invalid or worthless.

To get a sense of how much the deficiency story affects how you move and act in the world (and in relationship), try this out: imagine yourself—the deficient self—sitting in the middle of a room, with all the people and other objects in your life placed around you in a circle. Go around the whole circle, looking at each object and person. As you look at each person or object, notice what you are seeking from them or what you are trying to control with regard to their actions and behavior. Notice how each object or person mirrors back to you how you are deficient in some way. Notice how you seek love, validation, pleasure, praise, attention, value, and worth from these people and things. This panoramic view of your relationship to all the objects and people in your life illuminates your deficiency story clearly.  By naming it, you can begin to see through it. Only a story of deficiency, which assumes that something fundamental is missing from your core, would look to other objects and people to provide what seems to be missing.

We can spend years trying to analyze ourselves or work through issues, one by one, as they pop up in relationship. This can be tedious, even if it is helpful on some level. In this method, we invite you to go deeper, using relationship to illuminate the core deficiency story. You can then use the Unfindable Inquiry to see that there is no separate, deficient self.

You don’t have to bog yourself down with analysis about how you are deficient and how you can become a better person. Instead, pay attention to your body. When you are already resting in thought-free awareness, throughout the day, you are in the perfect position to notice what emotional energies arise related to certain stories you tell yourself or certain relationships in which you are involved. The deficiency story shows up largely in the body, like a deep wound of pain, anger, sadness, or fear. You don’t even have to use the Unfindable Inquiry, if you are open to simply relaxing the story of deficiency for a few seconds, and letting the emotional energy arise and fall freely. Sit with the most painful emotions related to the deficiency story, but without trying to analyze, neutralize, change, or get rid of them.

If you find it too difficult to simply allow the emotion without a story, then use relationship as a way to wake up from the story.

When the wound arises in relationship, inquiry in the following way:


1.  What is this person mirroring back to me about my deficient self?

2.  Find that deficient self (do this by looking at each thought, emotion, and sensation that seems to make it up; see that you cannot find the actual deficient self, only these individual arisings coming and going to awareness).


With regard to the first question, just name the deficiency: I am unloved; I am not worthy; I am imperfect; I don’t count; I’m not valid; I’m weak; I’m nothing; I’m a loser; I’m unsafe; or I’m insecure.  In number two, try to find that deficient self using the Unfindable Inquiry. In doing the inquiry, whenever the wound appears, the deficient self is seen as unfindable and empty. This naturally allows you to move more peacefully, lovingly, compassionately, fearlessly, and openly in relationship and in all endeavors in life.



  • If you are looking at a thought and the thought seems to be the “deficient self,” it always means that there is some sensation or emotion arising with the thought.


If the body reacts in any way to the question, “Is this thought it?” just say, “Yes, this is it.” Then bring your bare naked attention immediately into the body and experience the emotion or sensation directly, letting it be exactly as it is, without trying to change or get rid of it. If you find your mind labeling the emotion or sensation with  words such as “fear,” “anger,” or “contraction,” ask yourself, “Is the word ‘fear’ the deficient self? If it is not, then relax all thoughts for a few seconds, and experience the energy of the emotion or sensation, without any labels or analysis.  Simply sit with the raw sensory experience itself, resting in thought-free awareness. And then ask, “Is this energy the self?” If you see that it is not, let it be as it is, without trying to change or get rid of it. Simply allowing an emotion to be as it is, once you see that it is not the deficient self, its very healing! It frees up the energy to move and change naturally, often dissolving on its own.



  • If an emotion or sensation in the body seems to be the deficient self, it always means that there is a thought arising along with the sensation or emotion.


Find out what thought that is.  Remember, it will always be words or pictures, or some combination of the two. Then look directly at the words or the picture and ask, “Is this it, the deficient self?” Whenever you find anything that is not it, relax in thought-free awareness for a few seconds, really feeling into the experience of just being aware, plainly and simply. Relax in the unfindability of the deficient self. While relaxing, allow all appearances to come and go, but without trying to manage or give any meaning to them. There is no need to try and get rid of any of these appearances, once you see that they are not the deficient self. They tend to quiet or dissolve on their own.  The deficient self is an imaginary story we developed in early childhood. It’s like a movie that has been running in the deepest recesses of our imagination. In pulling up the main thoughts, emotions, and sensations of this movie, we make the story of deficiency conscious. We see that it is just a story and that it is empty—meaning unfindable in our direct, present experience when we look more closely.


LIVING RELATIONSHIP e-book is now available as a direct download.