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Projection of the Ego

Projection of the Shadow is always accompanied by projection of the ego-ideal. This is because samsaric beings do not see reality as it is, they live in a mental bubble or (if their intellect is well-developed but without a corresponding spiritual awakening) a mental fortress of their own making, and what they see is their own nature reflected back at them, but superimposed on those around them. All the ugliness in their nature, their shadow, is projected there in those they choose or by their samskaras (in Yoga psychology subconscious past-life tendencies, in Buddhism called vasanas) are compelled not to like, whilst all their real or imaginary ideal egoic traits are projected upon those who they like, whether it be their spouse or kids or family or friends or culture or nationality or religion or guru or culture hero or popular icon or favourite author or whoever.

This is a common defining feature in non-realized human nature, which continues as long as there is a sense of false self (called ego), although I have encountered it most dramatically as a result of my critiquing of abusive and authoritarian so-called (i.,e. fake) gurus. Here, as in exoteric religion and any form of ideology, hypocrasy reaches its greatest extent, when imperfect human nature with its fancy talk of love and brotherhood runs up against the brick wall of its own inability to face itself.

Thus one finds, in almost all cults and sects and gurus, many devotees of false gurus (and even devotees of authentic gurus!) who are unable to acknowledge or even recognise any wrong-doing on the part of their guru, even if this has been reported independently many times. Because they have projected so much of their ego ideal on this person, all their hopes and dreams and wishes and fantasies, that to recognise their guru's imperfection would mean that everything they have gone through is all for nothing.

In cases of very spiritually weak individuals with huge inflated egos, how they cope instead is by projecting their own shadow side onto the person or people who dare to make such disgusting claims. Despite the excuses they give to others and to themsleves, the fact is that they don't even care about their guru as a person, their ego-projection is so complete that it is all about them; they rage how dare you insult my guru (which really means me)!!!!. All their ugliness comes out and they become antagonistic and slanderous devotees of the worst kind.

In contrast, all true Spirituality comes from within, and the truest guru is one's own Inner Light, of which external Realized gurus are simplty representations, and vice-versa. The spiritual path in other words, involves dissolution of the ego and its defense mechanisms.

See also Projection of the Shadow

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 17 September 2006, last modified 18 July 2009