Thursday, April 2, 2015

Uncovering Projections (1)

We now return to a personal account of the on-going development of Band 3 (Level 2).

As I have emphasised this is characterised by the dynamic interaction between "higher" and "lower" levels entailing the continual projection of "imaginary" consciousness as the indirect expression of the holistic unconscious.

So once again during Level 1, the emphasis is primarily on negation of undue dualistic attachment to the horizontal polarity set of external and internal. Progress in this regard then leads to the growing nondual experience of spirit  (expressed in an ever deepening contemplative focus).

Then with direct conscious experience now considerably refined and transparent to spirit, the unconscious regions of personality become free to express themselves through projection (in an indirect conscious manner)..

So whereas the earlier level (i.e. Level 1) was concerned directly with the "real" (i.e. conscious) polarities of internal and external, the present level (Level 2) is now concerned directly with the "imaginary" (i.e. indirectly conscious) polarities of whole and part that are experienced as positive and negative with respect to each other.

And just as the "real" polarities are experienced in a horizontal manner (within a given level of experience), the "imaginary" polarities are now experienced in a vertical manner (between different levels, as "higher" and "lower" with respect to each other).

Now when equal development has taken place with respect to both the transcendent and immanent spiritual directions, "higher" and "lower" are understood in a truly relative manner (as without absolute notions of hierarchical distinction). This in turn equates with a balanced approach to integration where both "top-down" and bottom-up" directions are equally emphasised.

However initially in contemplative development, the transcendent direction is likely to dominate over the immanent, though the extent of this can vary, depending on environmental, cultural and personality factors.

However in general it is true to say that present day society is largely characterised - especially with respect to scientific type appreciation - by the specialisation of (linear) reason.

Therefore, for one following a genuine contemplative path, reason can still remain very important as a means of disciplining wayward emotions and desires (not deemed compatible with a spiritual goal). One thereby follows the transcendent path to development based on the hierarchical distinction as between the "lower" body (with its primitive desires), "middle" reason and "higher" spirit.

So from this hierarchical perspective, reason is used to mediate as between the "lower" self (through disciplined control) and "higher" spirit.

Now it has to be said that for a well-intentioned aspirant, considerable progress can be made in this manner in the deepening of true contemplative awareness.

However, eventually a considerable problem is likely to emerge in that the continual attempt to discipline (through reason) the emotions and primitive desires, can unwittingly lead to unconscious repression of untrusted instincts.

Thus the earlier part of Level 2 (i.e. of Band 3) is associated largely with the spiritual affirmation of one's higher spiritual self. This takes place directly through refined spiritual illumination (i.e. as dim contemplation). Indirectly it also takes place through the unfolding of a new highly refined super-sensory capacity (where for example natural images are seen in holistic fashion as reflecting this new light of spirit). Also, as was very much true in my own case, it can be equally associated with an enhanced supra-rational capacity, amply radiating one's spiritual vision in intellectual terms.

However, this plentiful outpouring of the spirit (both directly and indirectly) eventually creates considerable strains with respect to one's "lower" shadow self (which is experienced as incompatible with the emerging light).

So gradually as this imbalance is more keenly felt, the "lower" self seeks compensation, through the projection of unrecognised desires and motives into one's conscious activity.

And as this process grows the "higher" illumination gradually fades, so that eventually one may become engaged in a ceaseless struggle with projections of all kinds.

And because the layer of direct dualistic conscious experience has by now become so eroded (though the arduous "dark nights" of the previous level) one thereby experiences these projections in an especially intense fashion.

In fact it often seems at these times that one's entire experience consists of this continual exposure to one's shadow self.

After a while, I could recognise a definite pattern to these projections, which were of both an intellectual and emotional variety.

In fact, I would say that the intellectual projections were initially much more difficult to assimilate, highlighting an imbalance in my own thinking at the time.

As already stated, this had now taken an extremely holistic turn, which I found well suited to forming exciting broad new frameworks with respect to mathematics, physics, economics and philosophy.

However, at an unconscious level, I had now greatly dismissed conventional analytic type understanding (which I wrongly deemed to be of lesser value).

So this led to growing communication problems with respect to academic colleagues and also with respect to practical activities, causing a great deal of hidden anguish.

Because the problem lay deep in the unconscious, I soon discovered that there was very little that consciously could be done to resolve the situation. Rather I had to learn to simply accept the problem while slowly learning to re-orient my overall attitude.

This however required the acceptance of another complete withdrawal from holistic intellectual expression that lasted about six years (from '83 to '89).

Thus though I had indeed made great intellectual progress in holistic terms, this had occurred in relatively short bursts of intense activity. In fact when I now look back over the 20 years or so (that spanned the two earlier levels (of Band 3) about 15 years were largely spent in the dynamic negation of undue attachment to holistic activity!

Thus in the quest for greater balance, one can grow to realise that what initially appeared as one's greatest strength can, from a spiritual perspective, also potentially prove one's greatest weakness!

Therefore, the ready willingness to address the shadow side of one's personality, whenever necessary, should always serve as the true measure of spiritual commitment.

There was also a growing exposure at this time to emotional projections of an increasingly erotic fashion. Because I now realised that I had repressed my emotional instincts over a long period (in the pursuit of a transcendent spirituality), I could see that this in fact represented a welcome development.

However, because the transcendent direction, though now moderated to an extent, remained dominant, this set limits as to the nature of what could yet be released.

When I look back now there was a consistent pattern to my fantasy activity at the time which typically would centre on attractive women e.g. on TV and in films and magazines that conformed to - what I would refer to - as the Virgin Mother archetype.

Indeed it has often impressed me how Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, though mentioned very little in the Gospels, subsequently has achieved a greatly elevated status, especially in the Roman Catholic religion.

In Jungian terms this could be explained as the need for a strong feminine archetype to counteract the unduly male notion of God in the Christian tradition.

Also it is clear to me that the reported keen devotion of many saints to Mary, contained a sublimated sexual aspect where she provided an acceptable notion of female beauty and desirable attributes that could be platonically adored and thereby fulfil the emotional longing for a God with a female face.

However this notion of virginal beauty (embodied in the Catholic tradition by Mary) that is compatible with the "higher" spiritual desire for transcendence, represents in fact a somewhat disembodied notion of the feminine. What is equally important to recognise is the more physical manifestation of the feminine archetype as the "Earth Mother".

Thus if one is to balance both the transcendent and immanent directions of spirituality, emphasis needs to be placed equally on both aspects (spiritual and physical).

Though the physical aspect in the notion of a Goddess as Earth Mother would have been common in the preceding pagan religions, unfortunately it subsequently became almost entirely lost in the development of Christianity.

Thus it has always been important in the Christian tradition to emphasise that Christ was conceived without the physical sexual act of intercourse being involved. And this would be consistent with an undue emphasis on the transcendent aspect of spirituality.

Now it is true that Christianity does emphasise the incarnational aspect of Christ (in God becoming man) which would suggest the counterbalancing immanent aspect.
However Christ made it very clear that his kingdom was "not of this world". And this is consistent with the strong emphasis on both his celibate state and virgin birth.

Thus I have long come to the conclusion that despite its profound spiritual  message and historical achievements, that Christianity in its very inception suffers from an unduly transcendent emphasis. This has subsequently then became consistent with an unbalanced emphasis on male domination both in religious and secular society that ultimately is supported in theological terms by a disembodied notion of the feminine archetype (which does not allow for its complementary physical aspect).

Though it is not my major concern here, this raises a key question - certainly for any Christian follower - as to whether it can thereby be ultimately consistent with a more equal society (where both masculine and feminine principles are properly valued). And this equality is required if we are to ever succeed in integrating both secular and religious aspirations.

However in my own case, at this time, this problem had not yet fully surfaced, as the exposure to erotic images was inspired by the ideal of feminine beauty where physical feelings quickly were sublimated in spiritual fashion. Thus though emerging from the "lower" immanent regions of personality, they were speedily converted in a manner still compatible with transcendent spiritual desire.

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