Tag Archives: Projection

Deepak Chopra: How Do We Relieve Existential Suffering?

We’ve all experienced the fear and pain that can come from considering our own demise. What is the meaning of life, and how do we rise above the uncertainty of it all? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses suffering related to our sense of identity in relation to the world – also known as existential suffering.

Does existential suffering arise from awareness of our mortality? What are the causes and how can we remedy this type of suffering? Looking at Vedantic traditions, Deepak’s list of five reasons that lead to existential suffering can be overcome by understanding that our fear is largely a projection of consciousness. True consciousness is an infinite field of creativity, much grander than the confines of our projected reality.

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Is It Love or Is It Projection?

RequiebroBy Rebeca Eigen

There is something magical about the experience of “falling in love.” Psychologically it is their feeling function that gets activated when two lovers first meet. Emotions burst forth and sparks fly that ignite a passion and an unmistakable bliss. When you are with that person, you are “in heaven,” so to speak. And when you are away from them, you are longing for the next encounter. As the song says, “Suddenly life has new meaning to me,” and they are transported into the realms of the Gods (the archetypes). In our Western culture, our movies provide us plenty of examples of this experience — so much so that we all yearn for it.

We mistakenly call this love, and many find themselves searching for their other half, their “soul mate.” We believe that this is what will complete us and that this magic is what we feel to truly value another person. As you will see when you understand the nature of the “Anima” and “Animus,” this is only the beginning of an encounter with our unconscious.

It’s interesting that the word “soul” also means psyche. In the psychology of Dr. Carl G. Jung, he explains this phenomenon of projecting our Anima and Animus (the contrasexual soul images in our unconscious) onto each other. The psyche seeks wholeness, and a union of our inner opposites is what Jung called the process of individuation. When projection occurs, this process has begun as these contrasexual images are now out in the open. We will learn a lot about ourselves by the people we either extremely love or hate.

Often we will fall in love and get involved in some very unsuitable, destructive and soul-destroying relationships, but these, too, are showing us aspects of our shadow. In order to grow and be a whole person, we need to become aware of what is really happening. When someone is “into us”, we need to ask ourselves, “Is it love or is it just projection?” Two people won’t know until time gives them a chance to see who each other actually is — and this requires self-honesty and self-disclosure.

There is no other way to see these parts of us, so it’s inevitable that they will be projected. The intoxication and the intensity of the experience are clues that we are into a projection. Ordinary human beings do not evoke the instant passion that “love at first sight” evokes.

The Anima and Animus

A woman carries an image of her male counterpart that Jung called the “Animus.” This unconscious inner male is her God (soul) image that gets projected onto a man in the outer world. As inner and outer create a mirroring effect, she will know a lot about what shape her inner partner is in by the person upon whom the projection lands. The clue to knowing a projection has occurred is the feeling of intense fascination or obsession with a man whom she will feel is her ideal mate.

A man faces a similar dilemma. When a man projects his perfect God (soul) image onto a woman, she becomes the carrier of his “Anima.” His Anima acts as a muse to bridge the gap between his inner and outer worlds. She animates him from within.

When this happens to both people at the same time, we call this “falling in love.” They definitely fall. They fall into their own unconscious image as each projects part of himself or herself onto the other person evoking a feeling of fantasy and Eros. The erotic and sexual nature of the encounter is psychologically symbolic. It is each one wanting to merge with or penetrate into themselves.

As time goes on, it is inevitable that projections are going to fall off. They actually have to so that we can see who the other person actually is and relate to a real person instead of a God or Goddess (a symbiotic extension of oneself). When relationships reach this stage of familiarity, many people addicted to this kind of high start looking outside their primary marriage or partnership. Many relationships end and the alchemical process begins all over again with someone else. Some go on to marry the person with whom they feel they are “in love with,” and later become disillusioned when they realize that they have married a person who is not who they thought they were.

On the other hand, if they are both committed to their relationship, growing and becoming conscious, when the projections dissolve, there is an opportunity that arrives for both people. They can now discover and embrace their missing halves. This is not an easy task as it takes work and often involves a painful encounter with the Self. In Mysterium Coniunctionis, Jung says that an experience with the Self is always a defeat for the ego but that the death of the ego (the Self as you knew it) allows one to be reborn into one’s own wholeness as projections are taken back.

In taking back our projections, we can now see and accept our partners for who they are — not what we wanted them to be; not what we wish they would change into; not for what they can give us; but who they are. The love that can now grow between them is profound because it is REAL. Real love, unlike projection, is a willingness to see and support another person to be their own unique, separate self. This will untangle us from seeking in them the perfect parent-mirror image of ourselves, for as long as we are still seeking to be completed by another person, we will not allow them their own autonomy.

As love between them grows and expands to the entire cosmos, this kind of love gives each partner their freedom — the greatest gift of all. As the duet by Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion professes, LOVE will be the gift you give yourself.

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RebecaEigen-72-dpiRebeca Eigen, an astrologer for 25+ years and author of The Shadow Dance & the Astrological 7th House Workbook, specializes in relationships. Using your time, date, and place of birth, she uses the astrological birth chart to evoke the symbolic and help you become more aware of your total Self. Her study of the Shadow using Astrological tools has given her an invaluable awareness of the unconscious and the role it plays in the relationships that we attract into our lives. For more information, visit her Web site: www.shadowdance.com.

“Lost” in a TV-Koan

Year 815 AD: Sadnalegs, a Tibetan king who was first to officially pledge support for Buddhism in Tibet, dies. An inscribed pillar commemorating this initiative is erected near Lhasa. Dharma spreads.

Mind is a pattern-weaving, pattern-extracting monster of a thought-hive that roams the islands of human consciousness dividing reality into us and “Others.”

Koan is an un-answerable quest-of-a-question used in Zen training to rescue one’s mind, lost in chasing its own tail, and to help it return to the oceanic sense of nonduality.

What do you see?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A plot-line? But there is no line here! What you are seeing is a projection of your own mind. There is no connection between these unrelated dots whatsoever other than the connection made by your mind. Neither is there any connection between the verbal data points italicized in the paragraphs above (815, Dharma, initiative, monster, Others, lost, rescue, oceanic). But you sensed a possibility of connection and you chased it. That’s what mind does: it follows (the conditioning). And now it brought you here. You read the post-title. You followed the bread crumbs of meaning-laden words. That’s the dharma of it: hypotheses hold attention.

The word “dharma” has a nuanced cultural history and I am no expert on it. But the Sanskrit (Proto-Indo-European) origins of this word still shed light on all of the later meanings of this concept – like a set of ancient halogen head-lights that beams a path of clarity through the ages. The word “dharma” stems from the verb to hold, to support, to sustain. Dharma is a kind of crutch (of meaning). Any teaching, any story-line, any ideology plots reality data-points against some kind of vector and in so doing pivots the mind’s eye towards some kind of time (be it past or future) or towards some kind of idea, distracting us from what presently and immediately is.

A koan crashes this mind-flight of fancy smack down to the plane of the here-and-now. It kicks you out of your theorizing and forces you to acknowledge the plain urgency of moment-to-moment survival. Whereas the show Lost is great tele-vision, a koan is here-vision. Note: the word tele-vision means seeing what’s there (tele is Greek for “far off/there”). A koan shows you what’s here.

When Lost started out I found myself forming hypotheses. But I soon got lost. I remember the moment exactly. It had to do with the opening of the hatch. The episode began – for the first time – inside the Dharma Initiative hatch, with what seemed like anachronistic music played on a vintage Tandberg reel-to-reel (I had one just like that once). I snapped off an interpretation: a flashback. Except that it wasn’t. What seemed like a flashback was a throw-back set in real-time. As the hypothesis-pattern dissolved back into unconnected question points, I realized I was lost in a koan. I had no idea what this show was about and I had an immediate appreciation for this twist. From episode to episode, the show got better and better: it appeared to be a non-stop mind-effing hypotheses-orgy. Except that I wasn’t fondling any. I just kept watching, noticing hypotheses arise and dissolve, with each episode of this tele-vision bringing me closer and closer to here-and-now of my own experience of not-knowing. The show writers, with sociopathic spontaneity of Zen masters, appeared to make no commitments to any plot line, mixing time-travel with morality-polarity reversals like a skilled card-shuffler. Like a bona fide koan, the show resisted interpretation.

But this shared zazen is coming to an end. Will there be an ending or a non-ending? Probably, an ending. Whereas the crowds of Rome yearned for bread and gore, today’s Recession West yearns for certainty. My bet: the Gordian knot of Lost’s not-knowing will be cut. But until then, let us appreciate the remaining friction between being and not-knowing. This show, like no other, in my opinion, has sustained our confusion with the effectiveness of a koan. Heck, it got us through the second season of W! This TV-koan has remained a potent projection screen for our pattern-weaving, pattern-extruding, information-gobbling thought-hives that we consider to be our selves. My mind, your mind is part of this great ensemble of meaning-making that we call culture on this island of a planet that we share!

In parting, I want to suggest a post-Lost koan to get lost in: who is this who is reading this? Surely, not your name, or the word “me” or the pronoun “I.” Indeed, who is this who read these 815 meaningless words and managed to connect them into a pattern of meaning?! Who is this who is constantly connecting all these thought-dots into an idea of a self-line?

Take your time getting lost-and-found in this koan a-seasonally. Leave your mind-raft now-and-then – brave the self-emptying ocean of consciousness.


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