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 28 1991
To quickly overview the process we are involved with, if one wants to gain a better understanding of why one has certain types of dreams, why one has particular experiences emotionally in life, one has to look at the self and be able to appraise one's feelings, hopes, the movement of one's being. A simplistic way is to say if one had a central shaft, at the top could be put the ideal that one wants to be happy. And, the energy of who you are is flowing towards that desire. Then our psyche was divided into quadrants. In being able to gain a better appreciation of ones self and understand why one has feelings in a particular way, being more conscious, and the flow of oneself towards a particular goal. Within that energy you can see that you are involved with jobs, relationships, love. body, philosophy, and such in order to be happy. And we spend much energy in these areas in order to be happy.
In being consciousness of one's self in those areas, and the way to look at your self is to look at where you put a lot of energy. Because when you look at where you put a lot of energy, you start realizing, if we had this nicely divided pie into quarters, we might say working maybe takes a lot of my life out and relationship, body and philosophy are quite small. Or maybe there is an overlap, where my job and my relationship are very related because I am involved in a very social sort of work. My environment and philosophy are quite in harmony with that because I like to be a good person. And body is a minimal things because I really don't care how my body is because I don't care how my body is as long as it gets me up in the morning and through the day.
So you start to look at yourself and get an idea of how you are in an observing manner. To look at a reflection of yourself within the mirror of these symbols. This moves towards a definite goal, I want happiness, I want money, good relationships and a fulfilled life in the materialistic sense.
From there we move to the next phase. We are brought up with a set of parents and have had various influences within it. From the Buddhist ideal we could say we have previous lifetimes energy. But just looking at it from this lifetime, we would say the parents have had much influence on us. Our basic flow for happiness gets basically shifted around a lot because maybe we have had alcoholic parents, or a a broken family, some sort of emotional crises in the family which puts stress on us. Then you shift things around to accommodate or keep that area in check. This flow for happiness becomes far more complicated. Suddenly it is not just the easy I want money, a good lover, a good philosopher, and I want to have a good body. Suddenly we want money because we want to get out of the situation we are born into. We are born into a lousy family and no one had money. No one knew how to manage themselves. So unconsciously we are affected by the environment we grew up in. And then job becomes a terribly important issue because we lived in a depraved environment. So that takes up a big section.
So you can see that looking at yourself initially, it was detached and you could see I have this quadrant and so on which is quite big. Well now, we should try to think about our life as we grew up. Maybe sort of realize that this quadrant is big because I have a lacking there. I had a sense of being deprived, my family demonstrated certain things that affected me and I have compensated for that and therefore do a lot of energy working and making money, paying the bills because I want security. And therefore this happiness at the top is a security trip. And that is how that comes about. And all of the other things fall about it. Relationships does not have to be someone one really would like to marry, it is more that this person is docile enough that I feel secure around them. And therefore I married them and I feel alright it. Whereas maybe reality is that I would have married someone else if I had more freedom of choice. But because of imprints and things in my childhood I do not have that opportunity. So I feel insecure that way.
I am trying to point out to you, you have a goal, I want to be happy. But the more you start to realize who you aRE, what influence you have had on you as a growing person and developing entity, then actually you might have a goal which says I want to be happy. But when you look at how you move towards that goal, it gets very complicated. It becomes more a series of sub-goals which have to be balanced. I don't want to see the fact that I am terribly unhappy person in my marriage, and because of this, I do a bunch of other things. There are sub goals. I want happiness but I blew it, I married the wrong person. But I actually find this person supports me because they do not make me feel insecure, and I need that sense of security. There are a whole bunch of knots, termed complexes in psychology.
Some easy complexes are mother or father complexes. Authority complex. A whole slew of them. The way you can, as a meditator, become more conscious of yourself is, to bring awareness into your relationships. The easiest way to recognize who you are is to look at how you interact. It becomes very blatant. You just have to have an observing awareness which is allowing yourself to become aware of how you are doing things. For example, when you go to your job environment, are you defensive all the time? Because if you are very defensive, it means you are insecure. Why are you insecure? Well, you could go back a little, you don't need to get too psychological about it, but you can realize that maybe you did not get any positive strokes as a youth. Therefore you always felt you had to defend yourself to say I am alright. So you set up this complex to feel I am alright. You are not secure in that so you always have to compensate.
Main point is look at your activities and maybe gain a little insight into the being or the person you are. And you can start to realize a little bit about yourself. And because I talked about dreams before. When we do have dreams, if we become conscious of the dream as a presentation of ourself and how we are balancing things. An easy analogy is to say, when we have tensions, and when you have fears, then the imagery in the dreams are fearful for you. It makes trouble for you If you have an area where you have a high level of insecurity, you will have nightmares. Dreams and images which arise to give you a lot of anxiety. Or if you have a lack of accomplishment about yourself, maybe you will have dreams of trying to get somewhere. Like get to a train. To a destination that you will be always caught up in not getting there. So you will have repetitious dreams where things do not work out. From this style of psychology these things are saying that there is something about you which is not smooth, does not move easily towards the goal of happiness. It has complications in it, it does not move easily towards happiness. It becomes complex and therefore you experience these as the effects upon yourself.
Dreams are really a wonderful way to see the effects of what you are doing with yourself or dealing with yourself because if you start having bad dreams, there is an indicator that something has to be adjusted or balanced or dealt with. And in that you have to become more conscious about where you have a lacking. Or where you have been unconscious. From a psychological point of view, the more unconscious you are, the more you have fears or anxiety, you respond without awareness. The more you have conscious awareness, the more you understand when you start to act out insecurity. And when you start to do that, your conscious awareness can say, I am getting highly insecure now, and I am starting to say a lot of defensive things about myself. And so you go inside and make a more mature choice. That I actually believe in what I am doing right now, it is alright. And I feel good about this sort of thing, and suddenly you can look at the person and say, that is the way I am. I don't have to say I'm sorry all the time. It is just the way I feel about it. You don't even have to say it. Just in your mind's awareness, you shift from a sense of insecurity to saying this is what I actually believe in. Or this is how I feel at this moment. And that ability to shift out of unconscious response to insecurity and such which is basically your mind moving through it's complex and coming up with all these defenses to keep it protected, all of a sudden the mind is saying, I feel good about myself. The shifting into conscious awareness and making a decision, is very powerful and stops the neurotic side of the self which keeps us unhappy, having to do an incredible amount of balancing to our basic existence.
The emphasis is conscious awareness of what is motivating me, why am I acting this out? Our basic position is I want to be happy. So when you move out you meet the different members of your family, and suddenly you find yourself snapping at someone. Why? If you check into it, you are feeling that somehow that pushes this person away because they are hassling me. If I am snappy enough, maybe they won't like me and avoid me. And I have accomplished being happy. Now that is a neurotic way of doing things. That is unconscious. Why don't you like that person? You have to think about it. Well, they have put me down a a few times and I do not enjoy their company. Then you think, well, my personality obviously does not much capacity, patience, or real love or sharing right now. I am living in a negative little world. The consciousness that I have, is quite uptight, based on a strong sense of personal need. Because of that I am putting all this energy out. Then ask does it have to be that way? Maybe if I was friendly, they would leave me alone too. And I wouldn't have to worry about having to argue with them later.
Being snaky to someone does not mean you get away with it scott free. That person comes back to you at a later date and they are nasty to get revenge. That is the way we are. So you have to be more conscious of yourself. Maybe you can be less nasty and things might work out. So you have to consciously move out of being nasty into being a nicer person. So you do that.
You go to work where you are always struck with are you confident in the thing you are doing? If you are, that is fine. If you are not, then, I don't like that because then it makes me, I the supervisor, I the authority figure that you are working with. It's looking down on you saying can you do this work well enough? So you always have this shifting into security insecurity about yourself. This comes to the fundamental belief you have about yourself so there are many issues in there.
So you have to be conscious about how you respond to people. All you have to do is listen to the conversations around you. Listen to how you say things. Why do you say them in that tone? Why are you making these intelligent sounding statements with big words? Is it to give this facade that yes, you have a very professional competent persona about yourself, a confident image that you try to project toward other people. Why is it necessary to do those sorts of things? What is going on inside of you?
The objective is to move into a position of awareness in relationship, awareness of the energy you put out in your relationship which comes down to an awareness of self. And, where am I coming from a lot of the time? Because the more conscious you become in a positive, constructive manner, then suddenly the less you are going to have to deal with unhappiness, depression, bad dreams, bad experiences. And it is not like you have to accomplish it, become this most wonderful person, but what has to be accomplished is an awareness of what is going on. The bottom line comes down to when you are miserable, when you have bad dreams and such, that is a sign post saying your attitude is all wrong. Your position in life is all wrong. And things are indicating this because things are miserable and I am really unhappy.
So let's become more conscious of ourself. Be more in control. I doesn't mean you instantaneously get control, but you are working at the real source of your unhappiness rather than becoming distracted and running away from unhappiness, reliance on drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoking, socializing, all the things which are so easily available in our society. Rather than going to those as a solution to our problems, we are looking at the source of it which is what psychology is all about.
Moving into the area of imagery and what arises within ourselves, dealing with our self and how we are experiencing ourself, the awareness of our self, Jungian psychology has this shadow which is our unconsciousness, the unconscious aspects of ourself, particularly in negative projection as in looking at other people and projecting negatively on them. It is actually our own negativity we do not deal with well and that is why it is projected in a negative way. It is important to start to become conscious of our negative projections, alright? And that is recognition of the shadow.
In doing that you will have dreams. If you have dreams for example of meeting objects of fear or unknown objects which give you a lot of anxiety. This mostly has to do with being unconscious about an issue about yourself, an area you have to deal with. You are not conscious in that area, therefore the object arises to you as a fear, paranoia. And dreams in the night time can come as an unknown entity, or monster who is attacking you and it is very undefined. Black, murky, down into something very dark and you don't know what it is all about and you are very afraid. Things like that. Or being pursued by uncertain entities.
When you are more unconscious you will have more things like that. The more you become conscious of yourself, the more these entities will take form. The more basic and instinctual they are, they often appear more as animals, snakes, creatures from the ocean, fish, things like that because it is instinctual and takes animal form. This is dealing with fears and anxieties almost on a primordial level. If you spend some energy delving into them and trying to understand yourself, and not be too conscious about looking at yourself but how you express yourself, because that is the easiest way to do it. I mean, you could sit there and meditate for a blue moon but you do not get to see very much. Your mind does not show itself very well. Because as soon as you sit down and relax, mind goes placid or limpid and you think there is no problem here. But as soon as you interact with people, you are hit with it immediately with problems. Jealousy, anger, frustration. All those energies. Then you can see that there is a flag being waved in this area! What is gong on? Then you can go back and meditate.
If you are lucky you can become conscious of why you are doing what you are doing. The more you do that the more you become conscious. The more these objects become personified. And if you can set up a good level of dialogue, they will take on a human aspect. The more you can communicate with this type of negativity, the more the object will reflect back the fact that you are trying to communicate. To communicate to an animal, there is not much communication there. You can control it and you can tell it to go somewhere, but if you can relate to an area where you are actually setting up a dialogue with a negativity, for example, let's say you experience frustration and anger. You do not sit there and act it out, blow it out all over everyone, rather you ask why? You process the thing. Then perhaps in the night time you might have a dream of meeting with a group of people and being able to talk to them. Maybe they are an angry crowd! Perhaps you watched the news and saw a very angry group of people. So when they appear in the dream, rather than saying it is because I watched the news, I was dealing with a lot of anger. The news image was quite a valid point of anger. And my mind picks up on that image, and here I am able to talk to people about their issues. And then it is good.
Whereas maybe you don't have a lot of control on your anger, what you have, is you attacked by the crowd and they destroy you in your dream and you have all the anxiety about that. That means your ego position, your personality has been overcome by delusion in the aspect of the imagery which happens to be appropriate.
Mind is the most wonderful things because it has no limitations on taking images and stuff. And you have to remember if you feel anxious, you are emotionally feeling very vulnerable. In your dreams that make you anxious or depressed, is embodied a certain amount of that energy. Otherwise it would not bring that response for you. So you should understand that the imagery that appears in your dreams from this type of psychology is directly related to the emotions and things you are feeling. Thus the more unaware you are, the more bestial and animistic images will appear. The more you are conscious, the more you are able to dialogue with yourself to come to more positive positions, the more you will find your dream characters take on a more human aspect or aspect wherein you will be able to talk or relate with them. And this is to give you more of an idea of how to work with yourself.
The main emphasis is to realize that if you want to move in a more comfortable way to be happy and fulfilled, then you want to move away from having to do the unconscious counter balancing to become happy. Rather you should try to be more a participant in the decisions you make, the activities you do, the things you think. It is a demand on you to become a more conscious person. The goal to be realized is a much more powerful position for yourself in your decision making and an easier way to be fulfilled.
You are moving to this fulfillment point. I want to be happy. Well, the more you are conscious the easier it becomes attainable. The more unconscious you are, and it depends on what emotions are kicking around, as to how happy or unhappy you are. And that is what I wanted to say for tonight.
Next week I will talk about if one is involved in this process towards holistic integration, then the signs and indicators and images that will appear to show you things are coming together, I am actually arriving at a position which is powerful for myself. And there is definite indicators that you are getting your act together. Movements towards happiness and a more natural sense of well being. Fulfillment will be more natural for you as you start to get this more and become clear. And it has nothing to do with philosophy, like some dogma that you are taking on. It has to do with conscious awareness and awareness which tries to be more positive and in communication with the different delusion and things which come up on yourself. Rather than trying to be completely blind to everything thing which goes on, and thinking I am going to enlightenment and I am going to get there somehow and it is going to be wonderful when I get there. But right now I don't want to know about my anger, jealousy, desire and such. So you move to a more realized position. In there is real confidence, real power. Real realization compared to a neurotic dharma practitioner.
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