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.
May 28 1991
On the theme of analysis of dreams. Dreams are signposts or indicators of your internal drama. It is important to first have an appreciation of whom we are before beginning to look at the imagery of our dreams to draw meaning. This is being taught in a meditation group because being consciously aware of yourself is an integral part of meditation, to be a more conscious person, more sensitive, more enlightened.
Very often we lack the insight as to why we have trouble being a better person, or a whole person, or a more easy going person. It is hard to understand one's own ego. And although they talk of meditation as the mirror of the mind wherein you can see the image of whom you are, which is very true, even then it is hard to see yourself. We do not get an objective vision about ourself. We always feel we are right. Or even then, we are sort of deluded, and even when we are wrong, we cling to be wrong, saying that is alright because I am a bad person! We do funny things with ourselves. So it is difficult to get an objective vision of ourselves.
But our dreams very often do that. They make statements about ourselves and in that way it is beneficial. Also, we can sometimes get an insight into that which is al psychological pressure for us by dream imagery or particularly repetitive images in dreams over many nights or over a period of years. A particular image recurring is a statement about the position our psyche has taken at any one time.
For that reason I think it is good to be able to utilize dreams as a tool to better understand yourself. It is not the end objective, it is merely that which helps you understand yourself. The understanding of yourself is the more important facet. It is not being caught up in your dreams so you write them down every night and talking over coffee to others about all the dreams you have. It is a nice way to waste your time, but it is not that beneficial. Whereas if you are into self awareness and self examination, dreams can be a terrific asset. Most people dream at least a couple of times every week. So it is something to be able to utilize.
I introduced in the first lecture the idea that we should start to become more conscious of our goal. Of what we would like to attain. It is important that we not say we have this conscious goal, like in some sort of philosophy idea that we have because that is sometimes far from the reality of whom and what we are and do in our daily activity. Rather we need to look at what we are doing. Our actions are direct indicators of what our goal is. The physical actions, the speech actions, and the attitude we carry every day directly and blatantly indicates where our objective is.
To do that I gave a simple example of a quadrant divided into four areas, our body, our philosophy, our work and our relationships. They help to isolate "I have to spend a certain about of time with my friends so relationships are important to me!" Or, "I spend fourteen hours a day in my office." That is a statement about me. Or, I go the gym and work out an awful lot and am very concerned with what I eat." Body. Or "I only think and meditate and study philosophy and so on." These are arbitrary, not definitive. But they are helpful because by thinking in each of those four areas, you might find one area predominates, and the other three are less. And then you can say, actually this is a more important area in my life than the others. And having that perspective on yourself, you can start to appreciate why you have dreams in a particular way.
Like maybe you think philosophically about being this sort of a person, but you keep having dreams where there are only scummy people around you all the time! So maybe you think you are a paragon of virtue, but why are you having so much trouble in your dreams, or nightmares! There is something to be brought to awareness.
Mostly I wanted to say we have a goal, a variety of goals in order of superiority of importance, and they will fall into those four quadrants. So ask yourself, what actions do you do? Because your actions will indicate where the real point for you is important and then you will have a little insight into yourself. So these are your tools.
Next I spoke about how if we were balanced and everything was fine, then our flow of energy, the person that we are, would be fairly smooth. We would strive for our goals, we would balance ourselves and keep ourselves on track for what we want to attain. But it tends that we have what is termed complexes. A complex is a focal point in any of the four areas which draws a lot of energy and becomes complex. So I use the example of a flow of energy through an electrical wire. And if you were fairly normal or balanced, the flow would be smooth and easy in that channel. But when you have a complex, the energy hits this complex and becomes very confused. Maybe it emerges finally quite different than the original intention. An example of that might be relationship with parents. Maybe we have in our mind the intention that we would like to nice to my mother, father. We have that intention, we go and meet with them, they say three words and our mind gets uptight, or pushes our buttons, and we say something. And as we say it, the actual message that gets out is of sarcasm or anger, or hurt. There is an indicator that there is a complex there. Because there is no ease of relationship, it becomes complex because there is innuendo.
Those are complexes. And we have lots of complexes. And they are actually the major spice of our life, and particularly with our dreams, these complexes because they make us emotional. They make us uptight. They make us agitated. And that is where I got to last week.
For tonight I want to talk about, we do have complexes. If you think of yourself as person sitting here, and your conscious attitude is the one which sort of wants happiness and does not want to suffer. Essentially every ones attitude is that! And so I am agoing to rely on my awareness to become more conscious of what is coming through me. That is the criteria. My development of meditative self awareness, self analysis will be the tool I use towards my integration, my becoming whole.
The objective is termed, the holistic self. In Buddhism it is said everything is selfless. That has particular meaning. I want to say holistic self because it is greater than just your personality. My personality, Jhampa, sits up here and has a particular set of prejudices and stuff like that, but the holistic Jhampa is his body, all of what has gone into Jhampa up to this point in the way of input, parental, social, experiential, and it is a larger thing. And the immediate moment of consciousness might be clear or confused, whatever you want it to be. But there is an awful lot there which is far greater than can be demonstrated in the immediate moment of consciousness.
The objective is to be a more integrated holistic person. To be more fulfilled. Happy. The problem is we have problems and hang ups. If we just took the objective, I am going to be the most positive, best, creative person I can be! I am going to give good energy to the world. Nice easy ideal. Sounds good. But then what happens? We get up in the morning and all hell breaks loose, we snap at our children, we freak out at our partner, and so on. All of that indicates that there is something wrong. Things are not perfect by any means. Certainly our attitude is not able to function well to attain the goal of being a positive, happy, fairly easy going person. We do not attain those things easily.
In this then, you introduce the concept of why. Alright? And this is pure Jungian psychology now. Their presentation is that to be able to gain that experience of an integrated holistic self, one has to gain control of one's self, one's expression of energy as in different ways of talking and communicating. To do that, one has to gain responsibility. Now how do we not have responsibility? Because we give responsibility over to other people. By that I mean, we live in an unconscious way therefore we project a lot of what we do not like about our selves onto other people.
You can say, almost guaranteed, that if there is something or someone in the world you do not like, that indicates that there is an area within yourself that you do not know how to relate to very well. Not just dislike, I mean when you have an emotional response to something that you see, it indicates that actually inside of you, you do not relate to that very well. In Buddhism they say that the world is a reflection of your mind. In Jungian psychology, they say that the person that experiences unhappiness due to seeing the shadow. They term it the shadow meaning the shadow is projected normally onto people as in, for a man, looks on a woman who acts in a way that makes him nervous, he projects the shadow of sort of the witch. Like a devious person who is going to manipulate his brain and mess him up! And so he has a very negative projection on the witch.
Then maybe men start stereo typing and think all women are horrible! Stuff like that. And they become very suspicious of women. They have taken their own ability to be more sensitive, appreciative of the person, and because they have been hurt, and they do not know how to relate to that, they dump it on women. Or men. Women in contrast, they feel men are insensitive brutes, jerks and so on. They maybe get hurt by a man and so on.
In psychology the projection of the shadow, can be realized by when there is an emotional response, not just life, but an actual sense of emotional response to a particular negative thing you see around you. And that is a direct indicator, like a flag being waved saying, in you, you do not relate to that very well. You do not feel secure around that. You feel uptight, afraid, attacked, vulnerable to whatever that negative thing is out there. You are feeling that internally. But because you are projecting it on the person, you feel uptight. All of the negativity you have inside, you dump on them. You think the worst of them. And that is projected shadow.
Authority. We feel insecure about authority because we do not have our life that organized. Because we do not feel that powerful about our self and our own decisions, when someone who is authorative comes around, I mean if you felt fairly clear minded about yourself if they tell you what to do, you say thank you I will take it into consideration. A very easy answer. But if you are insecure, and you do not have your life organized, then you might say yes, I will do that, thank you. And then you start buying into non responsibility of self. You sort of give responsibility to the other person. Maybe they lay heavy trips on you. And you start getting angry. All of a sudden you are not in control of your life. But the thing is, you set it up by opening the door to letting them come in a lot more. And then you start getting a lot of negative projections, uptight.
Certainly we have to have judgement to say this person is manipulative. So I do not like that much, but you be cool and calm and clear, knowing how to handle it well. But if we do not know how to handle it well, we get emotional response. The person is a bigot! I hate their guts! It means that you cannot handle it well inside therefore you project it outside. That is a shadow! Your shadow is made from you. But if you do not recognize your shadow, then you say it is that person. But if you recognize your shadow, when you meet someone who is bigoted or authoritarian or different sexual interests than yourself, you can say this person is that way. You do not let yourself project so you do not get uptight about the person. Because you do not project, you are not uptight and are more open minded to be able to see what that person is, whom they are, and such things.
Maybe you have anxieties about homo sexual or aids or something. But you realize that I am the owner of my own anxieties and then maybe you find the interest to talk to the person and might find there is no threat whatsoever for you. And they are a nice person, sensitive, and whatever they are. And you find the real person rather than being afraid of them.
The point is to be able to start working within what we term integrated holistic self, you have to start gaining responsibility of your shadow which for an unconscious person only in projection. For a more conscious person, the projection is still there, but you see it as a flag saying I have a shadow there. I have insecurity there. So you take responsibility for it rather than dumping it on the person and running away or maybe getting aggressive and attacking them. So you become more based in yourself. More responsible.
This is very important for the first phase of integration. Working towards holistic self. Because if you do not, how will you ever become like a whole person, a happy person? Move to the concept of a fulfilled happy, comfortable person. They have to be fairly together. They do not have ups and downs, anxiety or depressions. And this we will term into the definition of a holistic happy person. That person has a good grounding within themselves because they express it in the fact that they are a fairly together nice person. We recognize it as they are a nice person, they have space in their life for me.
To be able to be that, you cannot be living in projections. Especially heavy projections where you have a strong bigoted attitude about people or heavy anxiety or fear. All of those things indicate there is something not happening for you inside. You are not dealing with the issues, you are projecting them onto others, and you are full of all of the emotional turbulence. And we would say, they are a nice person but they have incredible opinion about everything. They are a little rude. Or whatever else you want to phrase. So you would slay that person is nice, but maybe as nice as I would like them to be, or as some others I know, alright? It makes it real for yourself.
In starting to deal with dreams you have to move towards recognizing the shadow. It is your shadow because, it is black, therefore it seems unknown, generates fear and anxiety, and we project negative things about it. Therefore it is termed negative because it us unrecognized as being part of our own insecurity, our own negativity and therefore it is dumped upon other people. The key to that is to see it when you get emotional response in yourself about something. Something not just political, it should be something more part of your human existence, although even political issues will indicate something about you as a person. If you get very hostile about something, then it indicates, maybe an inability to be responsible about yourself and what is being created in the world around you.
I will go over this in a Buddhist way, and then in a psychological way and then you can draw your own parallels. In Buddhism we say, delusions which are based on misconceptions about reality and the self create suffering because delusions are based normally on ignorance, attachment to objects we think help us, and aversion to objects we think cause problems for us. Regarding the activities of aversion and attachment, we create a lot of suffering. We have a lot of clinging. Or we have a lot of aggressiveness in regards to things.
The fundamental issue is we have to realize the ignorance of our mind which releases us from manifesting attachment or aversion. The first step is to take the mind away from clinging to the outer objects. So, realization of impermanence is beneficial if you realize things are impermanent, you will not cling to your partners or people you feel attached to. You get more laid back about your relationships. I should be more positive in my relationships but why should I cling because everything which meets must part. So my mind becomes a little detached. You can move it a step further by saying also, in the higher sense, the world is a reflection of your mind. So when you see something negative, it is indicative that you should try to become more capable of transforming that. you should try to take responsibility of your own experience of reality because your mind creates your experience of reality. In Buddhism, the fundamental issue is your mind is the creator of your reality therefore you should try to realize your mind. And that is the path to nirvana and every lasting peace. So I use two things there. Impermanence as a tool and deeper wisdom which is the realization that the world is the reflection of one's own mind.
In Jungian psychology, the basis is our psyche which has various imperfections. We have mother complexes, father complexes, various emotional turbulence, neurotic, and so on. So we have these complexes which manifest in emotional instability. On that basis, your unhappiness, in the process of analysis, so to be able to gain control of your situation, we need to take responsibility. To be responsible means to stop projecting your negativity onto others. Take ownership of it. You should realize that when you are projecting, it is an indication that something inside of you is unhappy, and is therefore termed a recognition of the shadow as being black, negative, and for an unaware person, not recognizing their own shadow is given over to other people. They term the individuation, which is gaining responsibility of your self, has to start with the recognition of the shadow of ones own psyche which is negatively projected images onto people, places, things around you. If you can start to recognize that you are projecting onto others, then you are taking responsibility for them and can start working on then, and bringing them into a positive conclusion.
The process is based on first, if one wants to gain a more fulfilled existence, one has to become more holistic, realize oneself. To do that, one has to gain responsibility by realizing one projects a lot on other people.
So in the day to day activity, when you find yourself getting hot under the color about an issue, or find a strong emotional response than would be natural to particular thing, you have to delve into why is the response there. And maybe start to recognize what is being projected onto the situation versus the reality of the situation. What am I carrying into this relationship versus what is there really in this relationship. It means that you take ownership, or the luggage of anything you are involved with.
For this evenings meditation, if there is a particular type of situation which brings a lot of stimulation for you emotionally, anything where there is an issue, or a recurring theme from a dream which is always if a particular gender who bother you or afflict you, look for the underlying energy of that. What am I seeing there that brings the anxiety in me? Am I seeing someone who is going to take my life away because they are going to control it? If that person shows affection to me, that I am going to loose control of myself and will be under their spell, and therefore I get angry and nasty although I love them, and I love them to love me, I get terribly uptight?
Can I take a positive stroke form someone I live with? Do I enjoy that or do I get uptight and wonder what they want from me? Then try to realize is there stuff which I bring into this which is my insecurity. That is all it requires.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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