"Really, the worst that might happen if you make a mess of things is that you'll stall your own growth for a while and possibly contribute to stalling other peoples growth. You might add some negativity to the world and reaffirm the already overwhelming thought we all unconsciously buy into - that the world is a place of suffering, and we'll never get out of it, and we have to sacrifice our true selves to incarnate. But the more conscious and intentional you become, the less you'll be able to tolerate causing any level of pain, confusion, or even inconvenience to others."
Date: 6/20/2005 8:41:21 PM ( 18 y ) ... viewed 1989 times
More Spiritual/Consciousness Articles
Pitfalls & Blind Spots
on the Spiritual Path
'When you start loving God, he starts putting money into your life or a lovely woman or a temptation like power or authority. He puts it before you to see if you will let it go, to see who you love most.' Yogi Bhajan
'The more spiritual you become the harder times you experience; the more spiritual you become, the more slandered you are.' Yogi Bhajan
'Not having flexibility to change is a tragedy in itself, and having too much flexibility not to stand for anything is a tragedy in itself.' Yogi Bhajan
As we follow the teachings and as we practice, we will inevitably discover certain truths about ourselves that stand out prominently: There are places where we always get stuck; there are habitual patterns and strategies that are the legacy of negative karma, which we continuously repeat and reinforce; there are particular ways of seeing things—those tired old explanations of ourselves and the world around us—that are quite mistaken yet which we hold onto as authentic, and so distort our whole view of reality.
When we persevere on the spiritual path, and examine ourselves honestly, it begins to dawn on us more and more that our perceptions are nothing more than a web of illusions. Simply to acknowledge our confusion, even though we cannot accept it completely, can bring some light of understanding and spark off in us a new process, a process of healing. Sogyal Rinpoche
The teachings tell us what it is we need to realize, but we also have to go on our own journey, in order to come to a personal realization. That journey may take us through suffering, difficulties, and doubts of all kinds, but they will become our greatest teachers. Through them we will learn the humility to recognize our limitations, and through them we will discover the inner strength and fearlessness we need to emerge from our old habits and set patterns, and surrender into the vaster vision of real freedom offered by the spiritual teachings. Sogyal Rinpoche
When little obstacles crop up on the spiritual path, a good practitioner does not lose faith and begin to doubt, but has the discernment to recognize difficulties, whatever they may be, for what they are—just obstacles, and nothing more. It is the nature of things that when you recognize an obstacle as such, it ceases to be an obstacle. Equally, it is by failing to recognize an obstacle for what it is, and therefore taking it seriously, that it is empowered and solidified and becomes a real blockage.
* Excerpts from -The Intuitive Way, A guide to living from Inner Wisdom by Penney Peirce
* Traps of the ego by David Joshua Stone
* Chapter 5: Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego -defense.
* How Delusions Arise by Lama Thubten Yeshe
Some things to Watch out for
As on any path to higher awareness, we are bound to make some errors of judgment while developing intuition - after all, to know ourselves as spiritual beings requires a fairly dramatic shift from our everyday consciousness. That's probably why every spiritual path has had its blind spots; it's hard to see the whole picture all at once. Channeling ascended masters may seem as far off the mark to future generations as vowing not to eat or speak, trying to appease the gods through blood letting and human sacrifice., and burning women who practiced natural healing and midwifery now seems to us. To err is human, but we can learn to identify our perceptual "mistakes," correct them, let them go, and move on more rapidly.
Really, the worst that might happen if you make a mess of things is that you'll stall your own growth for a while and possibly contribute to stalling other peoples growth. You might add some negativity to the world and reaffirm the already overwhelming thought we all unconsciously buy into - that the world is a place of suffering, and we'll never get out of it, and we have to sacrifice our true selves to incarnate. But the more conscious and intentional you become, the less you'll be able to tolerate causing any level of pain, confusion, or even inconvenience to others. To speed your process of growth and not get bogged down in mistakes, you need to pay close attention to your anxiety signals and commit to living from a state of deep comfort. Let's look at some of the common stumbling blocks to maintaining clear intuition.
The Quick Fix and the Easy Answer
Today, our generation has been programmed to be consumers and to have short attention spans during which we must respond to intense stimulation. We therefore want enlightenment to happen instantly, and if one technique isn't interesting enough or doesn't give immediate results, why, we just flip the channel.
If you tried one of the intuitive techniques, for example, but couldn't visualize an answer, you may have gotten frustrated and passed over that particular use of intuition. And yet it's fairly common to have ambiguous results at first, or to have some time for you to acquaint yourself with these new perceptual circuits.
I see people, particularly in the New Age movement, jumping impatiently from technique to technique - purifying themselves with special diets, chanting, dousing out their decisions with pendulums, smelling aromatic oils, shining coloured lights on themselves, journeying to ancient power places and so on. These tools and techniques worked in ancient times to raise awareness, and they can still help us. But let's remember that tools are simply a means to an end and shouldn't be confused with the real inner work.
Many people are also seduced by paths to higher knowing where a neat and tidy doctrine is laid out for them by a powerful parental figure like a church, a guru, a shaman, a spaceship commander from Arcturus, or a teacher claiming to be a high priest of the Order of Melchizedek. Knowing just what rule to follow in every circumstance is a relief if you don't trust your own intuition. But going too fast, skipping from method to method, and settling for answers you had no part in originating can leave you open for a bad spill.
The first phase of the spiritual path, including the intuitive way, is to subject yourself to a scrupulous and ongoing character assessment. Here's where so many of our perceptual mistakes are made. We are tripped up by what were unconscious about. Removing fear from our thoughts and behaviors is not a particularly pleasant or speedy job. In fact, most people do everything possible to avoid facing their dark side, and when they do, they'd like to think that one quick pass through the underworld will clinch it. If you've been working with clearing your subconscious mind, you know that we cycle around many times to dissolve hundreds of large and small interrelated confusions and blockages. It takes great ongoing compassion for yourself - and patience - to become clear, No amount of magical thinking, talking the good talk, or blindly following someone else's rules will do the trick.
Control, Hypocrisy and Ambition
As we open to intuition, if there is still some fear lurking below the surface, there will also be some form of ego, some sneaky little way our mind tries to control the world to make us feel secure and right. Hidden ego games. After you learned that you could get information about other people intuitively, were you tempted at all to show off or to use this new skill to fortify your position at work or with friends?
As Marge started opening her intuition, she discovered that she had a real sensitivity to the subtle energies in the human body. She could feel hot and cold spots, too much electrical force, and could direct and balance the flow of energy with her hands. So successful was she at healing people that she eventually made it her livelihood. Her confidence grew and she exuded a take-charge attitude. She always seemed certain about what was causing her client's pain and presented her assessments with great authority.
"You are a mess, but I can help you," she would cheerfully say. Though this reassured many people, her presentation was subtly geared to bring her attention, and it actually complicated the client's healing process. To heal, they were now saddled with overcoming a judgment about their basic "flawed" nature as well as needing to realize that, in spite of Marge's talent and engaging performance, all healing still had to occur by means of their own soul and the divine. Do you have an expounder or a savior in your "My many Faces" list.
You get a clue about your blind spots by first noticing hypocrisy, ambivalence, or double-talk in others. If you are triggered by issues you see in others, the same thing may exist in you but in a different form. Watch for people who claim to be spiritual or moral yet act in a way that goes against common-sense principles. Notice the man who meditates and reads voraciously about Buddhism yet still demeans women. Or the spiritual counselor who advises people to clean up their lives but gossips about her clients. Or the strict vegetarian who feels threatened by a roommate who eats eggs or chicken. Or the teacher who claims to be the exclusive voice of Mother Mary or who doesn't make a decision unless advised by beings from an advanced star system. Or the Christian who discriminates against gays, Jews, Democrats, and people of colour. Do you ever choose role models who display this kind of split in their basic character? Are these people really showing you how to live more skillfully?
List five things that offend you and raise your hackles. As you imagine each thing, notice what you want to yell at the offender. Write down your scathing comments.
How do you do each of the things that offend you? Is there another area of your life where the behaviour occurs? If you are offended by someome who stole your wallet for example, might you be stealing attention from your husband when you're out with friends?
Keep your eye peeled as well for inconsistencies pertaining to greed and ambition in relation to your intuitive growth. It's possible to be greedy for information as well as material things. Do you buy piles of books that sit by your nightstand unread? Do you know people who binge on psychological and spiritual leading edge ideas? If you're overly ambitious in your intuitive growth, you may get too far ahead of yourself and not fully integrate your insights and lessons.
When opening intuition you may seek security by becoming attached to a particular spiritual tradition or methodology, as others become attached to their car or mate. For example, you might be convinced about the rightness of going to confession and be totally unwilling to experience the benefits of creative visualization. Or you may have a bias against working with entities.
A buddhist priest I once knew discounted most of what I said because I referred to clearing emotions that originated in past lives, which he considered to be a New Age concept and thus inferior to his traditional spiritual lineage. Placing too much value on any one way of being or doing things can blind you and lead to debilitating self-importance. Attachment slows the evolution of the soul and makes it difficult for other options to educate, nurture and round you out. If you place to much emphasis on form whether it be one form or many forms, whether it be a technique or a belief system, you will miss the direct, mystical communion that surpasses all the explanation of the mind. What we're aiming for in the intuitive way is a lively balance between the ability to concentrate and the ability to adapt.
If you pay too much attention to others and the outside world, and if you constantly compare yourself to others, you won't be in the habit of feeling your body or recognizing the tone of your own particular energy. Then you'll be plagued with self-doubt and will have problems defining who you are and recognizing what is inappropriate, or even dangerous, for you.
If the boundaries of your personal self are not firm and you don't occupy your space fully, psychic, emotional, and physical invasion can occur. This is not as scary as it sounds, but it can be troublesome because you can confuse other people's needs and agenda's with your own.
You may also develop boundary problems as you become receptive to subtler forms of information, because as you look for these intuitive insights your conscious mind feels like it is stretching outward in search of finer and finer levels of data. It's easy to think that you're flowing into various situation or people to get an intuitive sense of them. If you flow into them, you will also unconsciously assume that you're flowing out of yourself.
This can cause you to feel empty and inadvertently misidentify yourself with whatever you flow into. Then you become the human chameleon. You'll articulate around highly verbal people, defensive around defended people, and self expressive around animated people. If you spend too much time with complainers, victims, and depressed people, you'll feel like a stone. This shape shifting tendency eventually stops the flow of your creativity and can lead to severe energy drain as well as mental problems. As one of my friends told me the other day, "You know what killed the chameleon, don't you? Sitting on plaid!"
False Humility, Sacrificial Service and Messiah Complexes
No matter where you are born, as you stretch out to open your intuition and spiritual life, you unconsciously carry your culture's religious beliefs with you. Developing induction will eventually require you to reexamine your religious faith and re own parts that align with your deepest ethics and common sense . You may still prefer to practice Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Hinduism, or Christianity, but the precepts you live by will have been clarified and internalized through your own super conscious choice .
If you have not give your religious beliefs much thought, some of the unconscious assumptions may interfere with your obtaining the fullest experience of yourself as a soul.
For example, from our prevailing Western religion we inherit the idea that we are born flawed and incomplete. We are supposed to be objectively humble with little sense of personal self, and we are taught not to try to find enlightenment through our own efforts but to surrender and let a more divine person do it for us. We are taught that it is noble to sacrifice ourselves and suffer for others. Many Eastern religions, for example, place a high value on collectivity and emptiness, so emphasis on the personal self, even on the soul, is discouraged for a different reason.
As you venture beyond the confines of religion into a study of metaphysics and intuition, you'll discover for yourself that there are universal principles that are inherent in human nature, no matter what our culture or religion. The study of these principles is neutral, almost scientific - and it is what every religion originally concerned itself with. And yet, as you begin practicing alignment with these natural laws, as you apply intuition to daily life you're bound to come up against this thought:
"I'm being too egotistical-who am I to think I could know this information directly? Who am I to think I could heal someone?" Or there's the more passionate stance: "I am nothing; I give myself in service to everyone and need nothing personally! I am just a vehicle for God's will."
This humility often leads to the messiah complex, a deceptive form of ego that comes from trying to be a saint or savior. Your clarity can easily become distorted when you have to help, when you can't allow others to have their own experiences but instead try to rescue them from their suffering. Some people take on great camouflaged self -importance and a strange sense of worth through self-sacrifice. Yet this kind of covert superiority robs everyone of their unique connection to the divine and drowns clear intuitive knowing in a pool of personal will power.
Sacrificial service doesn't help either the helper (whose capacity to receive eventually dries up) or the unconsciously guilt laden "helpee." Be aware, then, of the imbalances in yourself and others when there is the appearance of too much or too little: too much personal power, too little credit, too much humility, too little responsibility.
Avoidance, addiction, Denial, and Drama
TO avoid feeling fear and to cope with subliminal emotional pain, we create thousands of ingenious distractions. I'm sure you know someome who lives for romance or to be different or dramatic. On the path of the intuition, people can avoid the real world by becoming preoccupied with the details of psychology and metaphysics: who abused you in your childhood, your sacrifices and betrayals, past lives, dream realities, parallel worlds, messages from angels, gemstones and gadgets that affect subtle energy bodies, or even the idea of being abducted by aliens.
We need to watch for hidden agendas marked by ;longing for glamour and romance where we avoid the mundane - and thus miss the guidance coming from our bodies, which are firmly planted in daily reality. I have seen people change their personalities radically when they begin spiritual studies. A rambunctious, funny, outgoing young man suddenly becomes blissful, mellow, mild and humble, hardly talks, gives away all his money, and reverently raises his hands in prayer to everyone - after joining an ashram.
A practical businesswoman changes her name to Mary Lightning Bolt, Says "Ho"" after people speak, and starts wearing ethnic jewelry and fringed skirts, burning sage in her office, and drumming with her women's group - after she attends a Native American sweat lodge ceremony. These total immersions in specific forms of spiritual practice can be educational, yet at the same time they can stop the flow of our authentic expression.
Ironically, even the pursuit of healing and knowledge can be a distraction. "Maybe, if I keep taking workshops, reading the newest books, doing therapy, seeing the latest healers and psychics in town, I'll find the magic elixir!" Some people are addicted to seminars, and their social lives revolve entirely around the human potential movement. Other people are on a mission for perfect health of their bodies. They have had everything from candida to parasites to chronic fatigue syndrome and are experts on homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, colonics, aromatherapy, chi kung, Bach flower remedies, and fasting on watermelon. One week it's no red meat, the next, only protein. Then it's no wheat or sugar, followed by no dairy products or spices.
If your attention is riveted on controlling the minutiae of your diet, there's not much time to feel deep emotions. Since it's not OK to be addicted to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes anymore, we've tricked ourselves into justifying our addiction to "good" things that are supposedly growth inducing.
We should also examine our need for drama, magic, and miracles. A woman I recently met at a luncheon told me of a particularly dysfunctional relationship she had entered into primarily because she'd been attracted to a house she saw as she walked along a beach. A few days later she met and befriended a girl on the same beach who turned out to be living the house, and soon after that, she met a man at a conference who turned out to live in the house, and soon after that, she met a man at a conference who turned out to be the girl's father. "It's synchronicity!" she thought. "This must mean something; it must be significant. Why else was I drawn to that particular house? This must be a powerful relationship.
I've also known people who got involved in disastrous relationships and adventures because they had a precognitive, though somewhat vague, dream that seemed to highlight some aspect of the subsequent real-world experience." But he was wearing a red shirt and his name was Dan - just like in my dream." Perhaps our subconscious mind is drawing attention to the man with the daughter with the house on the beach or to the man named Dan in the red shirt, not because they're our soul mates, but because they represent unfinished business in our subconscious or an example of what not to do.
Don't give more or less than is required by the situation at hand
The Essenes believed that it is just as much a sin to have too little as it is to have too much. At either polarity, the optimal flow of creativity gets jammed up. But if you have just what you need, life flows perfectly. The same thing applies when healing and teaching others or in communicating your new found knowledge to strangers, friends, relatives. In healing or counseling, if you give more energy and information than the client's body and mind can absorb, you may actually make things worse. In teaching we are told not to throw pearls before swine2 - in other words, not to waste precious resources in inappropriate situations.
Balance is the key word here. The universe doesn't waste energy. If you give less than a person needs, the resulting dissatisfaction can produce repercussions like pain, negative thought patterns, and wasteful acting out of dramas. If you take two steps towards a relationship with someone when they take only a step's worth so the energy can flow evenly. Give too much and you may feel insulted. Give too little and you'll never know your true self or anyone else. Use your truth and anxiety signals to know when to stop.
"Since everything is but an apparition, Perfect in being what it is. Having nothing to do with good or bad. Acceptance or rejection, One may as well burst out in laughter. "
Traps of the Ego
The requirement for ascension is the balancing of 51% of your karma. This will indeed free you from the wheel of rebirth upon the physical realms and open you up to deeper advancements upon the inner realms. This is not the total picture, however, which is why this book is being written. There is, in truth, much to be considered before "Integrated Ascension," involving all the bodies, is complete. "Integrated Ascension" is what we are ultimately after, for in order to fully ascend, all of the bodies and many other quotients must be lifted up to GOD. In a similar vein, the GOD force must also be brought down by what is called the process of 'decension', or anchoring spirit into the body (matter). Initiation, leading to ascension, must therefore be seen and embraced through a full spectrum lens.
Another example of the negative ego contamination and interference in this quotient in the New Age movement is when a person acts from a place of self-righteousness and/or being a know-it-all. They think because they have achieved their ascension that they are a Master which gives them a right to order people around and tell them what to do. They perceive themselves as speaking as the voice of the Master which in truth is the voice of the negative ego and a massive power trip that is most often unconscious, which actually is the exact opposite of what true spiritual leadership is.
Another example is a woman who is more feminine and soft in nature who is not an informational channel trying to be an informational channel, when their true destiny might be to lead through the example of love and more lady Master energetic meditations. A woman may be trying to bring through her spirituality and service work in a more masculine paradigm, when her true spiritual mission is to bring it through the Goddess paradigm.
Another similar but different example might be a man or a woman who brings through wonderful channeling's, however, when they try to teach from their conscious mind, or maybe write from their conscious mind rather than the channeled state it just doesn't work. It is important for every light worker to know their puzzle piece and not try to move into a puzzle piece that is not their destiny or forte.
In reverse, a person could be an excellent spiritual teacher and try to force clairaudient voice channeling when their true purpose is to be more of an integrated channel or a telepathic channel, or just speak from their own inner wisdom and not think about channeling at all.
Other examples in the New Age movement are mystics who are forcing themselves to be occultists and occultists who are trying to force themselves to be mystics when this is not their true destiny. This may manifest in a person wanting to serve in the capacity of being a voice channel when their true channeling ability might be in the form of being a writer or channeling poetry and/or music.
To many light workers being a channel, psychic, spiritual teacher, author, and healer may seem glamorous, when in truth it is not. It is not glamour that should be sought but rather divine right spiritual mission. The most effective way to accelerate your ascension is to find your right puzzle piece and to serve and lead in that capacity. A person who is supposed to be a housewife or househusband will move through their initiation process as quickly as a person who is meant to be world famous as a channel, spiritual teacher or governmental leader. In GOD's eyes there is no difference as long as each person is doing their appropriate part in the Divine Plan.
Above excerpt by Dr Joshua David Stone
* The golden chain - the ego uses the teachings to control - ego Lies hidden in with truth
* wanting everything 'better, faster, stronger, quicker'
* Thinking too much, too much research, doubt
* over anal-ysis - lower mind analysis
* Attachment to Power, Fame, Glamours, Money, Sex, Psychic Powers / Siddhis
* think about higher truths, contemplation, mind experiments
* Driven by negative ego - accumulating knowledge - to feel powerful, superior
* Inadequate teachings - need purification, before kundalini activation
* needing answers and guidance for every situation
* Hypocrisy, Control, Ambition
* ever working over time
* chopping and changing spirtual paths & teachings - the ego's sabotage of the spiritual path - stick with one tradition, but have respect for others
* make it, do it - YESTERDAY!
* Needing to believe - seeing what want to see - backing up theory - blind faith
Build good habits, Good Virtues, Positive emotions - then can be unconscious and spontaneous- through Prajna - Wisdom
The fifteen major tests for every Lightworker are
7. Transcending fear
9. False Pride
14. Transcending Duality
Read about them in books by Dr Joshua David Stone - such as "How to clear the negative ego"
Chapter 5: Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego -defense.
In brief, these ego-defenses are compensations cultivated to counterbalance and camouflage something else in us we consider a defect or a handicap.
The great Alfred Adler first became interested in compensation as a psychological phenomenon when he noticed how human nature tends to make up for bodily deficiencies. One kidney takes over the function of two if one fails to function. The same thing is true of lungs. A bone fracture that heals properly makes the place of the fracture become stronger than normal.
It is also true that many famous people have developed some skill to an extraordinary degree precisely because they were trying to overcome some handicap. Glen Cunningham, the first of the famous American mile runners, probably became such a great runner trying to strengthen his legs which were seriously crippled at age seven in a fire that almost took his life. ....There is also what is known as "vicarious compensation," by which a person handicapped in one way learns to excel in another. Whistler, the famous painter, flunked out of West Point and forfeited his desires for a career in the military, but learned to excel as an artist by developing his talents in that field.
The "reaction formation," which we are considering here, is an overcompensation by exaggerating or overdeveloping certain conscious trends. It is developed as a defense against unconscious tendencies of an opposite nature and unapprovable character, which threaten to break into conscious recognition.
Extremely dogmatic people, who are absolutely sure of everything, consciously cultivate the posture of certainty because of demoralizing doubts in their subconscious mind. Their self-image isn't strong enough to live with these doubts.
People who are overly tender, to the point of exaggerated sentimentality, are usually suspected of assuming this attitude in compensation for harsh and cruel tendencies that have been repressed in the subconscious mind.
Prudishness, in an exaggerated form, is usually an overcompensation for repressed normal sexua| desires with which the prude cannot live in comfort.
The person who seems to exert an exaggerated concern for health of an aged parent probably does so to compensate for the subconscious desire to be freed of responsibility for that parent by the death of the same.
....compensatory attitudes are a leaning over backwards to avoid tipping over.
"The dogmatist is never wrong. The prude is hyperchaste. The reformer type, preachy and self-righteous, viciously hates sin and sinner alike without any recognition of normal human weakness. "
The conclusion is this: Exaggerated behaviour in a person usually means just the opposite of what it implies. Very often we accuse dogmatists of pride we feel "called" to help them learn sweet humility. In fact, they are not at all sure of themselves, and the more we try to defeat them, to cultivate doubts in them and expose their errors, the more they have to compensate. Their dogmatism will probably become even more extreme and obnoxious.
A second ego-defense mechanism is called "displacement." It usually refers to the indirect expression of an impulse that the censoring conscience (Freud's superego) prohibits us from expressing directly. For example a child may develop seething hostility toward his or her parents. Our social programming usually will not allow direct expression of this hostility. I mean, you can't hate your own parents. So, not in touch with the hostility that the child felt forced to repress, he or she smashes public property, bullies younger children, or does something equally irrational. The apparent homicidal-minded boxing fan, who stands up at ringside and vociferously yells "Murder the bum!" as a helpless, senseless boxer is sinking to his knees obviously harbors some subconscious hostility. The anger had to be repressed because the person just couldn't live with it or express it.
"Scapegoating" is a common form of displacement. We react with uncalled-for violence when someone looks at us the wrong way, because there is a hostility in us that we cannot express directly. For some reason the person to whom we would like to express hostility seems too formidable to us. A man with a violent temper in the office may well be expressing the hostility he feels for his wife or for himself but cannot bring himself to express it at home. Or the woman who has been unjustly upbraided by her employer (of whom she is afraid because her job is at stake) may come home and take out her hostility on her husband and children. Prudes, who cannot admit their sexua| drives directly, will take great interest in "scandals" of a sexua| nature. lonely, isolated individuals, who cannot admit directly to their need for love and affection, will profess to be "madly in love" with someone else (whom they do not really love at all).
A second meaning of "displacement" is the device of disguising unpleasant realities to which we cannot admit (and therefore repress) by consciously stressing something else which is not so embarrassing to the ego. We profess to worry about some triviality to conceal some greater fear to which we cannot honestly admit. Or let us say that I am jealous of you, but cannot really admit it, not even, not even to myself. So I "zero in" on some trivial annoyance, like the quality of your voice. I find it very grating. The husband and wife who have come to despise each other, but cannot openly admit to the real sources of their mutual agony, usually bicker about trivialities with great vehemence.
The man whose mother dominated his father is usually programmed to treat his own wife as an inferior to treat his own wife as an inferior. However, he cannot admit to his resentment for his mother and her treatment of his father, or that he definitely wants his wife "under" him. So he will usually complain about small and inconsequential habits of hers. He will deny the value of her opinions and the wisdom of her actions. He will bitterly criticize her for her "stupid way" she plays cards.
Another ego-defense mechanism is called "projection." All of us tend to disown things in ourselves and to "project" them into others. We try to rid ourselves of our own limitations by attributing them to someone else. Adam explained his sin to God by saying "The woman tempted me." Eve ascribed the whole calamity to the serpent. It is also projection when we blame other things for our own failures, like the circumstances, the tools we had to work with, the position if the stars. We are tempted to ask, "Why don't you look where you're going?" when we bump into people.
It is a very common human inclination (projection) to dislike in others what we cannot accept in ourselves. The real mystery of this projection is that we don't recognize these things in ourselves. They have been repressed. We can therefore strongly condemn in others what we cannot admit in ourselves. The stronger and the more exaggerated the dislike of anything or any quality is manifested, the more it might be suspected as projection.
When we get a bug on "hypocrisy," and often condemn it, and proclaim that it is widespread among the human race, it is most probable that we must repress all conscious recognition that we ourselves are hypocritical. Vain people, who can't admit to their own inclinations, suspect everybody of wanting attention and publicity. Ambitious men and women, who cannot honestly admit (and therefore repress) their own driving ambitions, usually feel that "everybody is out for No.1; all that most people want is fame and money."
Then there are the paranoids (persecution complex victims) who project their own self-hatred into other people and feel that others don't like them. Prudes think that every attractive person of the opposite sex is making improper advances; they project their own concealed (repressed) longings into others. People with an uneasy conscience feel that others are suspicious of them, watching the,. Very often, too, when someone puts a finger on a weakness in us, for example, being too temperamental, we counter by charging, "You're the one who is temperamental."
"Introjection" is the ego defense by which we attribute to ourselves the good qualities of others. Introjection is prominent in what we call "hero worship." We identify with our heroes. Also, we identify our possessions with ourselves. We take great pride when someone praises our home, or we thing that we are "big time" because we come from a famous city, belong to a well known fraternity, or have traveled to many places. Many women identify with the tragic heroines of soap-opera programs on television. A Manhattan psychiatrist noticed that very many of his women patients had relapses after becoming addicted to these shows. They identified with all the unhappiness of the suffering characters in these melodramas. This kind of identification provides an easy access into a world of fantasy and provide romance in our lives. However, often the result of this ego-defense is neither very profitable nor very consoling.
The most common form of ego-defense is "rationalization." As a technique for self-justification, it is hard to beat. We find some reason for our action that justifies it. We "think" (rationalize) our way to a preordained conclusion. Very often there are two reasons for everything we do: the alleged good reason and the real reason. Rationalization not only results in self-deceit but eventually corrupts all sense of integrity (wholeness). We rationalize our failures; we find justification for our actions; we reconciler our ideals and deeds; we make our emotional preferences our rational conclusions. I say that I drink beer because it has malt in it. The real reason is that I like it; it helps me feel uninhibited and secure with others.
As with all ego-defense mechanisms, there is always something that I cannot admit in myself, something that would make me feel better if only I could just believe it. Rationalization is the bridge that makes my wishes the facts. It is the use of intelligence to deny the truth; it makes us dishonest with ourselves. And if we cannot be honest with ourselves, we certainly cannot be honest with anyone else. Rationalization consequently sabotages all human authenticity. It disintegrates and fragments the personality.
Insincerity, as an interior state of mind, is a psychological impossibility. I can't tell myself that I do and don't believe something at the same time. Choosing evil as evil is also a psychological impossibility, because the will can only choose the (apparent) good. Consequently, to deny the truth I cannot admit, and to do the deed I cannot approve, I must necessarily rationalize until the truth is no longer true and the evil becomes good.
Did you ever ask yourself the surprisingly difficult question: How does one choose evil? How do we commit sin? The will can choose, by its very nature, only that which is somehow good. I am personally convinced that the exercise or use of free will in a given situation of guilt is this: The will, desirous of some evil that has good aspects (if I steal your money, I will be rich), forces the intellect to concentrate on the good to be acquired in the evil act. The will impels the mind to turn away from the recognition of evil. And so the intellect must rationalize that which was originally recognized as evil. While I am doing something wrong (in the act of doing it), I cannot be squarely facing its evil aspect; I must somehow be thinking of it as good and right. Consequently, free will seems to be exercised in the act of coercing the intellect to rationalize rather than in the execution of the act itself.
Caution: Human Beings
In all these ego-defense mechanisms, please notice that there is something that people who operate the mechanism have felt the necessity of repressing. They cannot live with some realization. In one way or another, they keep their psychological pieces in tact by some form of self-deception. They just couldn't live comfortably with the truth, so they repressed it.
Therefore, and this is extremely important, the vocation of putting people straight, of tearing off their masks, of forcing them to face the repressed truth, is a highly dangerous and destructive calling. Eric Berne warns against disillusioning people about their "games." It may be that they just can't take it. They sought out some role, began playing some game, took to wearing some mask, precisely because this would make life livable and tolerable.
So we must be very careful, extremely careful in fact, that we do not assume the vocation of acquainting others with their delusions. We are all tempted to unmask others, to smash their defenses, to leave them naked and blinking in the light of the illumination provided by our expose. It could be tragic in its results. If the psycho-logical pieces come unglued, who will pick them up and put poor Humpty Dumpty Human Being together again? Will you? Can you?
The Greatest Kindness: The Truth
All that has been said in these pages would urge us to be open and truthful about ourselves, our thoughts and emotions. It has urged us to be honest with ourselves and with others. Nothing is taken back here. But it is absolutely necessary to realize that nothing in these pages asks me or justifies me in becoming a judge of others. I can tell you who I am, report my emotions to you with candor and honesty, and this is the greatest kindness I can extend to myself and to you. Even if my thoughts and emotions are not pleasing to you, it remains the greatest kindness to reveal myself openly and honestly. Insofar as I am able, I will try to be honest with myself and communicate myself honestly to you.
It is another thing to set myself up as judge of your delusions. This is playing God. I must not try to be guarantor of your integrity and honesty: that is your work. I can only hope that my honesty with and about myself will empower you to be honest with and about myself. If I can face and tell you my faults and vanities, my hostilities and fears, my secrets and my shames, hostilities and fears, my secret and my shames, perhaps you will be able to admit to your own and confide them to me, if and when you wish.
It is a two way street. If you will be honest with me, report your triumphs and tragedies, agonies and ecstasies to me, it will help me to face my own. You will help me to become a real person. I need your openness and honesty; you need mine. Will you help me? I promise that I will try to help you. I will try to tell you who I really am.
Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? John Powell, S.J., Tabor Publishing
How Delusions Arise
by Lama Thubten Yeshe
From Wisdom Energy by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Edited by Jonathan Landaw with Alexander Berzin
Wisdom Publications, Boston, MA, USA.
The purpose of meditation is to gain realizations leading to the cessation of delusion and superstition. This cessation depends, first of all, on recognizing the character or function of the deluded mind. In addition, it is necessary to understand the various factors causing such a deluded mind to arise. Regarding this, Je Tsongkhapa has explained six factors leading to the growth of delusion:
(1) karmic imprints,
(2) the object,
(3) the influence of misleading companions,
(4) following false teachings,
(5) habit and
(6) mistaken conceptualizations.
The fundamental cause of the deluded mind is the karmic imprint left on your consciousness by previous non-virtuous actions. Because of past actions done in ignorance and motivated by desire, hatred or any of the other delusions, various imprints—or seeds of karmic instinct—have been planted on your mind. When the conditions are right, these seeds ripen and the deluded mind rises again.
The object itself is the second factor encouraging this ripening. Most of the time when the object is there near you and the karmic imprint is there in your mind, bang!—delusion arises. A good example is when you go shopping. The object is there on the shelf. Through the sense perception of your eye you come into contact with it and before you are aware of what is happening, your mind sinks with attachment into the object. It can happen in a very sneaky way and be extremely difficult to separate your mind from this desired object. Your hand automatically moves to your pocket, finds some money and you buy even before you know what you are doing. It is so simple, isn't it! Thus when the deluded subject (mind) comes into relationship with the appropriate object, superstition explodes like an atomic bomb.
In the West it is incredible how everything is exaggerated so that the deluded mind is certain to pay attention to it. "Look at this; how fantastic it is!" This technique is used so extensively that even when we give a meditation course we have to advertise, "Come to our fantastic meditation course and learn all about your amazing mind!" Western culture seems a little too much for me.
Buddha gave a very simple name to all of this. He called the realm that we are living in the desire world. It is now easy to see clearly why he gave it this name. The desire world. Desire is here! The deluded mind coming into contact with desirable objects leads to superstition producing more and more delusion. It is for this reason that Milarepa stayed in a cave. He knew that once the deluded mind comes into contact with the object of desire, delusions arise uncontrollably. That is why he thought it better to avoid such contact until his mind was tamed.
The object causing the deluded mind to arise must have some relationship to the karmic imprint. That is why technically it is called a "related object." For example, you may have a particular imprint of attachment on your mind. This will be activated by an object having desirable qualities, but not by one having repulsive, hateful qualities. Thus there has to be the proper combination of both the imprint on the mind of the subject and the object's characteristic qualities. If there is no contact with an appropriate object, it is impossible for the subjective delusion to function.
The third factor mentioned by Lama Tsongkhapa is influences from the outside. Negative, misleading friends giving you deluded information are included here. These are the people you know who make you confused. Therefore whom you have for friends, whom you stay in close contact with, is very important. All around you people are drinking, for instance. If you have some kind of control, you may be able to remain uninfluenced by them for a week or so. But after a while you can no longer control yourself because the situation is too overpowering.
It is very difficult to maintain control in opposition to such influence. If you check up in your own life, I am sure that you will find many examples of this. Such influence is not limited to bad friends or good friends. In your life you have so many "teachers," people who feed you information that only adds to your delusions. Therefore it is very important to stay around those people who give you the right vibration, the wisdom vibration. This is much better than exposing yourself all the time to polluted, confused vibrations. But this does not mean that you give up completely on all misleading friends, hating them and having bad thoughts about them. No, this should not be your reaction. It is essential always to remain compassionate. Also remember that we are polluted already; our friends are not to blame for our delusions. Their influence just makes this pollution thicker and thicker.
The Western mind is very interesting. In some respects it is very skeptical, doubting everything. This can be a very good attitude, especially when surrounded by untruth. Yet in some respects the Western mind is totally the opposite of skeptical. If it sees something that has one good aspect, that has one interesting side to it, without hesitation it accepts the whole thing as good. This overly emotional attitude is very dangerous. Every philosophy, doctrine, and religion has at least one point which is good. Even the most evil person in the world—whoever that may be according to your interpretation—has something good about him or her. Therefore, the mind that runs uncontrollably to things that it finds interesting can easily grasp onto what is really not very good at all.
I do not know why, but it seems that the Western mind likes mixtures. Something that has many different flavors mixed together in it is seen as very interesting. Please check up and see if this observation is correct. In any event, such an attitude can cause problems in certain situations. For instance, you might be listening to someone expressing an idea which, in fact, is a total misconception. You think, "It does not matter if what he says is true or not, it is interesting. Let him tell me more." I think the Western mind is like that, having incredible curiosity and ready to listen to anything. But actually, each misconception, each piece of wrong information that you grasp at in this way thickens your deluded mind. That is why I said that this uncritical attitude can be dangerous.
All this relates to the fourth factor causing delusions to arise: following false teachings. This factor differs from the previous one, which concerns going together with those who are bad influences. The third factor relates in general to your life style, to your surroundings. This fourth factor, however, means believing that someone is a special teacher and therefore listening to and following all the wrong conceptions he or she teaches.
For example, at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha there lived a man who wanted liberation very badly, and so he went to see a certain guru. The guru told him to kill a thousand people and make a rosary out of their thumbs. "When you are finished, and have gained realizations, come back to me for more teachings." This man, known as Angulimala, actually believed this so-called guru, and collected 999 thumbs before he finally met Buddha and was persuaded to practice real Dharma. His devotion had been blind, and led to nothing but suffering.
Teachings, of whatever quality, can be very interesting. But when people find things interesting it often just means that they crave information. The same thing can be seen in children. Before Western children go to sleep they like their mother or father to read them a story. That's true, isn't it? The stories are very interesting, but most of them are garbage. Children are very sensitive and have fantastic imaginations. They also believe in things very strongly, so that what they hear makes a deep imprint on their minds. Most parents are not fully aware of this and think, "It doesn't matter. As long as the kid likes this story and falls asleep, that's okay." There is no idea of what kind of effect it is having on the child's mind, what result it is producing. The important thing is that he falls asleep quickly so that you can be free, free to go to sleep yourself or whatever. Just as long he doesn't make any noise. But this is not right. It is not being kind to your children to give them such garbage information. It only makes their delusions and superstitions thicker and thicker.
Of course, if you have wisdom you can read any type of garbage information at all without being affected by it. You can be checking up on it without taking it all in greedily. That's okay. But when you are too interested, too attracted—"Yes, yes, tell me more!"—it leaves a very strong impression on your mind. There is a total lack of discriminating wisdom-knowledge, no clear idea of what is right and wrong. You take everything in with no judgment whatsoever.
The same is true about all types of information. So much comes in but generally there is no integration and no differentiation between what is useful and what is harmful. In fact, nearly every aspect of popular Western culture—books, magazines, movies, television and the like—is totally dedicated to producing more and more desire and superstition. There are exceptions to this, of course. Some movies, for instance, are different. But most of them show you what you like, what the superstitious mind wants to see.
Anything to arouse your interest. The people who create these films, books and so forth have a practical understanding of psychology. They know exactly what arouses people's desires and superstitions and what will make them more confused than they already are.
In short, misconceptions and misinformation cause more delusion if the mind lacks discriminating wisdom-knowledge. You receive so much information from the television, for example, that you actually become excited. Sometimes you cannot take it any longer and have to leave the room! So whatever information there is that makes you become more confused should be avoided as much as possible.
The fifth factor increasing the strength of the delusions is habit. It can work this way: at one time you had a certain experience with an object. When you meet a similar object you remember the first experience, and each time you repeat the action the strength of that memory increases, becoming more powerful and distorted in your imagination. Habit builds up certain associations so strongly that whenever a similar situation arises, your mind automatically runs towards delusion. Some people become so obsessed in this way with a deluded object that they cannot forget it. Why does this happen! Because the experience has been repeated over and over and over again, making the imprint of it thicker and thicker. The mind dwells in the recollection of this experience, adding to the delusion. A person cannot even sleep without a vision of that object appearing in his or her dreams. I am sure that everyone has had experience with this phenomenon. If a habit is repeated often enough and its imprint becomes strong enough, you can actually go mad.
Sometimes the object of delusion forcefully impresses itself on your imagination. For example, in the West when you are about to part from a girlfriend or boyfriend, you both plead, "Please don't forget me! Keep me in your memory. If you forget me, it means you don't love me anymore." That's why you are not free. You can see that you are not free because you have become obsessed in this way with one object.
The sixth factor also concerns things that appear interesting. When the memory of something comes, you make a certain type of judgment about it: "This thing is so good. It is fantastic. It has this quality, and that quality, and this and that..." You exaggerate tremendously the worth of something until it does not resemble the original at all. It has become merely the product of your mistaken conceptualizations.
You have a boyfriend, for example, with whom you are obsessed. You find his every movement and gesture interesting. The way he walks, what he says, what he does—it all seems good to you. Even when he does something incredibly bad, for you it becomes a source of pleasure. You are concentrating so much on his attractive qualities that his negative aspects are totally obscured.
The mind works in such a way, however, that if one day he says something particularly unpleasant to you, your attitude begins to change. You think, "He's not nice at all." Your mind concentrates on this thought. "Not nice, not nice, not nice..." Soon everything about him appears repulsive; there is nothing about him anymore that is pleasing to you. You can see this happen, can't you! It is incredible how the deluded mind works. First something appears completely positive and then it changes to its opposite. But I say that it is totally impossible for any object, any sentient being to be completely positive or completely negative. Everything has both positive and negative energy. It is only the obsessed mind that sees things in terms of black and white. There is a certain saying I heard in the West: "You hear what you want to hear." This is a very accurate psychological statement, a very good Dharma point. It emphasizes the truth of what we have been discussing.
Seeing some kind of desirable object, then, always involves an overestimation. Its good aspects are emphasized so much that you lose all judgment about it. Simultaneously, you view that object as if it were somehow self-existent. You conceive of it as something permanent, existing self-sufficiently the way it appears to you. You fail to see that the way it appears is actually a function of your own projections. Instead, you think that these exaggerated qualities come from the object itself rather than being what you have put onto the object from your own side. You do not see what has happened. This deluded projection covering the object is much thicker than make-up. Impermanent things are viewed as permanent. Objects being in the nature of suffering are thought of as the causes of happiness. And although all things lack true, independent self-existence, they are conceived of as having such self-existence.
Je Tsongkhapa defined this process as holding onto something that has nothing to do with reality. It is completely unrelated to the way things actually exist. You grasp onto something, perceiving and believing it to exist in a certain way, and as a result your delusions grow. The deluded mind becomes more powerful. This brings us back to an earlier point: whatever exists—good news, bad news, heaven and hell, samsara or nirvana—is a manifestation of the mind. When the mind is covered with superstitions it creates suffering. Therefore, in order to gain release from this suffering it is important to understand both the characteristic nature of the deluded mind and the factors causing these superstitions to arise and increase. So check up and meditate on these six factors. It is so worthwhile. Your understanding can become so powerful that it makes your mind really straight. Otherwise there is no way to begin to rid yourself of delusions.
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