Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
June 11 1991
We started off the series with the idea of developing more consciousness regarding the objective or goal we might be moving towards in our life, something we consciously wish to undertake. We had four areas blocked out to describe how you think about yourself and how you focus yourself as an emotional person towards some sense of fulfillment. From there we moved into the shadow and how it has an aspect in our being, and last week I talked a bit about shadow and archetypes.
Tonight I want to go into it again from a different perspective as I am still setting up the ground work. In doing that, it does come more practical as it moves into it.
The process one wants to undertake is healing, the ideal of psychology. From the Jungian side, the idea is to gain healing, to stop particular tendencies which cause disruption in our life. The actual process is initiated with what is termed individuation which can be defined as taking responsibility of the situation and it requires being more conscious. A raising of conscious awareness so you are more conscious of yourself, how you think and create yourself in regards to the relationships you have. Individuation is given that name because it means you draw back and become individual. That can clarify or clearly identify responsibility as in what you are responsible for regarding the reality that you are experiencing. The individuation process requires first recognizing projection because in the process of healing yourself and not living out unconsciously neurotic tendencies which cause problems, you have to identify what is happening, identify the projections on others.
This is what is termed the shadow. The shadow is generally negative, black, and the projections of the shadow are typically negative. They evoke negative emotion as in aversion, anger, arrogance, and so on which do not bring positive response in the person. To recognize your shadow is to gain ownership of it, and in that, if you look at someone and think of them as a bigot or something, although the person may embody some of the quality which allows a place for the projection to be put, that does not mean that all which comes out of you in regards to that person is valid for that person. Therefore it is projection and your own inability to deal with the strong negativity or emotional response, indicate that you have that. And that you are very incapable of dealing with that within yourself. Therefore by projecting it outwardly, you have an easier channel to bad rap and feel that you are alright!
The process of recognizing shadow is to recognize your own negative traits. In recognizing them, it is easiest to recognize them in projection on other people. This is one way to see shadow. Another area shadow exists in is complete unconsciousness. Just, you have a hang up, and you are completely unconscious about it. In that way you go through life and never really catch yourself being that sort of person, but you are! Sarcastic! Maybe you are sarcastic. Maybe not grossly sarcastic, but a subtle sarcasm which is always predominant in your interactions. Maybe there is a certain sense of loftiness or being haughty, a sense of insensitivity or lack of care, lack of tenderness, so therefore there is a sarcasm. Nobody is sincere, really therefore I can be sarcastic all of the time! And it is quite alright! Now you might be completely unconscious of it. Might never look at anyone else being sarcastic! Never even project on it! And therefore it is your own shadow, and worse, it is completely unrecognized about yourself.
These are important things to develop awareness or heightened consciousness in about yourself. Regarding what you are doing. And they will manifest, if we come to dreams. There are characters you may find very distasteful in your dreams. Or, you can identify them as being animals, not even necessarily humans. And they can personify certain drives and instincts also.
Let's take sexuality. If you have a very unrecognized sexuality, maybe you feel you should be very faithful to your partner and yet you have licentious thoughts kicking around, you are not dealing with who you are, you are unconscious of it. So in your dreams, having snakes on the ground! If you are not good at it you might find yourself being bitten by the things, or attacked by them. It you become more conscious of it, you will find yourself trying to step around them. Snakes are a basic sexual symbol and often indicative in not being able to deal with sexuality. Also, it is on a very instinctual level because snakes are instinctual. They are down on a low level.
Now if you start to become more conscious of your shadow projections or negative aspects of yourself, you might find you no longer dream of snakes, maybe you dream of cave men or amazon women. Tarzan! He is a terrifically virile aspect of sexuality. But it is like a jungle person. Or maybe you dream of an animal. Anyhow, this indicates you do not have much conscious awareness of it, and it is a really primordial level because the imagery is coming in a very animalistic or primitive level. As you develop conscious awareness and become more conscious that you do have sexual urges and becoming more conscious that it is there in you and such, you might find the characters change and become more human.
And if you set up a healthy dialogue with your sexuality, let's identify that one, you might find you have a clearly identified person who is quite sexual. And maybe even sexual to the point you do not like them! It depends about how you feel about your sexuality. But if you have a good relationship and you are fully conscious about yourself, if might be someone you meet in your dreams and carry on a conversation, maybe you do not completely agree with how they view the world, but you can dialogue with them. This means, you, internally, your sexuality is quite a mature level. It has attained human level of consciousness. Maybe it is ordinary, or maybe it is too licentious, the character is still a little too seedy!
From that you can get an idea of the evolution in conscious awareness identified by dream imagery. Jungian psychology talks about the evolution of characters for different people in an analytical process. They will start off with animals, animals or things come from under the earth or out of the ocean. As the person works on them self and starts to realize particular aspects of their own negativity, the image starts to articulate itself and transform from monster, or animal to human characteristics. A monster is obviously something very fearful, an unknown quality, and very indefinite. Like, what sort of monster is it? When you can start to articulate the monster, maybe it turns into a large bear that attacks you at night. Or maybe it turns into a dog or a tiger or something. So it is now more identifiable fear. Then if you work on it and have a positive attitude about yourself and feel you are going to gain control of the situation, you might then suddenly find that you have a chair and a whip. And then you can whip this tiger into a corner and control it. That would indicate that you as a personality have more ability to deal with this aspect of yourself which in the past has been very instinctual, very inarticulate, very gut level response. And so you are starting to tame it.
You might find one day, the tiger starts to talk and then takes off it's suit and there is someone inside of it! Things like this in dreams are very common, you can discover if you read up on it. Like you can find that people have gone into a cave, and in the cave it is very dark, and finally they light it up and there are all these creatures in the cave. With persistence, maybe another time they go into the cave and find there is an electric switch, they throw it and find there is a bunch of people in the cave playing cards! Mind is very creative that way.
There is this evolution from unconsciousness and insensitivity regarding certain aspects about yourself towards a more conscious realization of yourself. And that is identified from the individuation process or gaining responsibility for you who you are and recognizing aspects of yourself.
So you can see it applies to meditation. If you are a meditator and sit to meditate, you develop open state of mind. For example, the state of vipassana where there is just awareness and such, with that, you start to realize these certain waves or particular thought patterns that go through you more frequently than other ones. With that conscious awareness, you might find it mirrored in dream imagery and such. So you have something which helps you work with it a little better, gives it a material form versus the intellectual appreciation, where you say I have this delusion. The way you actually work with this delusion might be like wrestling alligators if it is a rampant delusion. But as you become more confident, maybe it is not that. Maybe it takes on a different aspect. The alligator changes into a water buffalo! The point is, there is evolution for the self.
In doing this, you start to gain what is termed the recognition of self. By that, I prefer to use the word holistic integrated self. The meaning is, in Jungian psychology, the self is not the personality. The personality establishes attitude and is the vantage point for the conscious awareness to view the various things which happen. Let's take again sexuality. You might intellectually have this view point that says it is alright. But suddenly someone comes in the room and sits beside you and your body responds! It is like, non intellectual physical response and you are wondering what is going here! And it depends on what sort of attitude you have. Maybe you say, oh, the person is very attractive, my body is responding to such attractive qualities. It is alright. I am not going to do anything, but it is alright! That is a comfortable sexual attitude. Instead of that, maybe suddenly you start to sweat because there is the potential that I could maybe do something. Like grab the person's body!
What has happened? Someone has come in that invokes a response. Their mind cannot handle the energy so their mind does things! It either gets very uptight, maybe it starts to squirm, maybe it leaves the room, or maybe it makes advances. The point is there is a physical gut level thing versus an intellectual head space which might not be anything related to what is happening physically.
So maybe we have an intellectual set of ideas about the self. But, we do have things which sort of happen to us. So how well do we deal with those? How do we work with them? How conscious are we of them? In that way, if you have nightmares, it indicates there is strong energy happening. If it is animals and beasts that attack you, it is on a deep level. Are you able to deal with these or not? You might have an experience through the day. It has nothing to do with the woman because you are into the individuation process. But you can realize that you have inability to deal with that, and I normally avoid it. So I have to think of avoidance. So if there is someone attractive, I do not look at them, or I avoid them, or maybe I come up with bad projections on them, bad breath, or they are totally insensitive people that have an outward appearance of beauty. You do something with your mind so you discount it!
All of that intellectualizing is the inability to accept something which is happening. Physical attraction or repulsion, whatever it may be. And that can appear in your psychic life, internal life, via dreams as nightmares, hostility, and things like that. It is indicating what is going on inside of you regarding your conscious position versus a deeper instinctual response. Your conscious position might say, I would never do that, but the physical response is I want to do that! So how well do those two interact? If this one is really strong, it might destroy the personality position, and the personality makes a bad choice, maybe makes a pass when it is inappropriate. Or, if the personality position is very strong, maybe it is like this tiger starts to attack, and you can slam a very powerful iron gate and contain it! That is containing a desire and it does not mean it is a very effective way to utilize or deal with it, but it does contain it so there is a strong principle there. I won't do that because I am married!
For a person who is involved with the development of more encompassing full awareness which does not say, this is part of my personality,I cannot handle it, but this part I am quite cozy with, for example spirituality. Wonderful place for that! especially when you get "righteous spirituality", you have, I have to be a wonderfully pious person, God is love and I should love my neighbors and everything, And yet I would like to go over and screw my next door neighbor! I am being gross, but you have got those feelings. And yet I have to be so pious! Or feelings like I shouldn't have attachment and such, but my next door neighbor has a cadillac and I would like one! There is a lot of I shouldn't be this way, but I like material growth! Material prosperity! I have these desires and stuff and it irks me when I see people better off than me!
But, what you have to do if you want real spirituality, it has to be an open state of awareness and consciousness where you are focused, fully open. And so when something arises within you, you are able to say, I accept that as part as me. And in accepting it then, you dialogue with it to be able to resolve it or positioned so that you know you can deal with it. You do not think, I am not that way! And get very narrow vision, and in that way, you get night mares. You have cause for why you have night mares. Because your conscious attitude is narrow, very unable to deal with different things which are going to come your way.
That is what I think this sort of approach is so appropriate to meditation and spirituality because it is holistic. We can sit here and say, yes, I should have bodhicitta, you should all love everyone, be wonderful and bodhisattvas of this era! And such things. That is the ideal. But the reality is, yes, you should be fully conscious, you should understand that you do have hatred, you should understand that you do have ill will, you should understand that you have licentious desires, all those things along with altruism, love and compassion, serenity. All of those things are part of you.
And so proper meditation has to be a position of consciousness which is fully open to all the different variances and can process with them. And works with the positive as best as it can, and when negative feelings and such come up, it says, this is a negative feeling. Well. Is it appropriate? How does it feel? How do I respond when it arises? There is something really important. And in arising, do I handle it fairly well? Do I say, take a deep breath now, I am feeling really hostile right now, I am not very happy, but let's look at it. What is this person's perspective. I have given you lot's of techniques.
When you have a strong response. When there is response, it means you mind is in projection. Your mind is projecting out that this person should not act that way. And because they are not acting the way I feel they should act, I am getting angry. That is what anger is. It is projection. There is an inappropriate activity taken on by this person, therefore I am very angry at them. It can even be something which seems justifiable. Some pervert! Those things are very ugly.
But, how well do you handle that information. So you take a deep breath, try to center, become more contemplative or meditative, and say, maybe they have had a lot of negative input into their life and that is why they are manifesting this type of energy. So what should I do? Should I get angry and add more negativity to negativity, make them even more reinforced in their negativity, or should I be kind though I do not agree with them. So you are accepting and they don't have a back slash of negativity. And then maybe they relax and you can give them some positive input. Or maybe you just have to be completely neutral and say, I cannot deal with it, and so you put your mind in neutral because it is too powerful. And then, the situation changes, and you have some freedom at a later date to go into and deal with the heavy feelings you just went through, the emotions you went through.
The point is, we are dealing with the individuation process which is gaining responsibility for who you are. We are starting off first with the negative things which are negative projection of the shadow, and that it can start off, for someone which has little self awareness as being manifestations of animals and such. As one becomes more aware, there will be an evolution, they might stop being reptiles and become animals, from there, to human. And at that point, you can say, you have a fairly good grip on who you are and how well you deal with for example negative projections. Because they are humans they are able to talk and communicate. An animal cannot do that! You just have to beat it or cage it, or kill it!
This is individuation and the important issue is conscious awareness. The dreams are not the real issue. The issue is where you stand within conscious awareness. Where do you stand regarding your attitude, in regard to how you are leading your life? How things are happening for you. And when you have a bad dream, you have the most wonderful time to examine what you are doing wrong. Why did I have this dream? What am I messing up? Where is my attitude too rigid? Too uptight? Too sloppy? There are all sorts of varieties of options why you are having a bad dream. What are you doing with your conscious attitude that creates the strange things in dreams?
That all comes about when you start to learn how to withdraw projection and learn how to recognize that projection is your mind coming out and dumping on people. Or sort of like saying, well, that this person is like this. And then you have no responsibility to feeding out feelings and such, mostly negative, about some object. Never really dealing with the fact that maybe you have an inability to handle those sorts of things, alright.
For this evening I would like to leave it at this point. Next we will delve into more positive aspects, termed the archetypes. The meditation is for the recognition of our own mind. Whether we have dreams or not is not important. It is our attitude. As a meditator, the objective is not to be some saint, but, the realization of the holistic integrated self. That you as a person are fully acceptable of all that is conscious within yourself, and you have an attitude which says let's work with it and evolve the things that I have.
If you have areas of your mind which are ugly, how can you think you will become enlightened and these will just disappear and become forgotten. They won't. At some point, you have to pull them out, wash them, clean, be able to look at them and be able to say and accept it. You heal that part of your mind. Then when you settle into your state of enlightened conscious, you are fully healthy all over! You don't have shady areas. Enlightenment is not pulling this thread of you out of yourself and saying sexuality is a non issue now, I've gone to heaven! I doesn't happen! It is not that way!
For the meditation, I am sure you have all had nightmares, bad experiences, and areas within your own life where you feel uncomfortable. I am not saying you should drum up those and make yourself totally distraught. But, say, I can change those areas by a change of attitude. If you have a particular complex, you should never attack the complex, it will kill you. The complex is more powerful than your ego position, conscious personality position. Because complexes have been formulated for many years and finally get their grip. They are powerful things. That is why they can take your mind in dreams and give you a nightmare. They have enough juice, they can do that. For all of your intellectualizing and your personality, unless you have an ability to go deep with conscious meditation, you cannot overpower that. But, if you develop depth with stability, serenity, within that, you can take your attitude and recognize your hang up. I am going to change my attitude towards that hang-up and put myself in the positive position where I can dialogue, I do not think the negative position that you are taking is very viable or close to reality, and these are the reasons why. And I am accepting to listen to you. It is not that you put it down. You say hey, come into dialogue and discourse, and these are my ideas. And I am open to listen to it!
It has to be from your personality position to be a positive feeling toward that. Or an ability to say I am willing to listen. In that, you might find for many years a particular dream image turns into a human and you can talk to the person because you are not afraid of it any more. It is fear that makes the mind produce nightmares. It is the inability to deal with an issue that makes fearfulness and paranoia.
So don't attack the points of your negativity. More so, try to change your attitude which says my ego position will be receptive to communicate. And if you have a strong one, you can immediately recognize it. And if you do not have much conscious awareness, then you can be there and try to develop greater full awareness. The attitude, the position of conscious awareness, is the important point of this whole process.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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