Monday, May 25, 2009

Psychodynamics of mentor-archtype-bonding (guru-yidam-yoga)

Mentor Tsongkhappa

The following are three psychodynamic principals that describe some of the proceess involved in the mentor-bonding visualization. Typically these are unconscious processes or defenses that occur automatically outside of awareness in order to preserve the integrity of the ego. As all defenses they become overused or outgrown, and end up causing more suffering rather than relief. During the mentor-bonding these process are consciously implemented in order to cultivate the minds potential to learn, grow and change past rigidly defined limits or self-perceptions.

When an individual is unable to integrate difficult feelings, specific defenses are mobilized to regulate these unbearable feelings. The defense that helps in this process is called splitting. Splitting is the tendency to view events or people as either all bad or all good. When viewing people as ‘all good’, you are using the defense mechanism idealization: a mental mechanism in which the person attributes exaggeratedly positive qualities to the self or others. The counterpart of idealization is devaluation: attributing exaggerated negative qualities to the self or others. When this happens unconsciously we can end up being disappointed with those we idealize or inappropriately alienated from those we devalue. In the mentor-bonding, we select a mystical or healing archtype to form a relationship with. We consciously exaggerate their positive attributes, filter out any negative qualities and expose our mind to our optimal or ideal qualities that we seek develop in ourselves. Here we are consciously feeding our mind all the nutrients without any toxins.

Transference is a phenomenon in psychology characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings of one person to another.
For example when a patient unknowingly transfers their unresolved anger towards their parent on to the therapist. In psychology these feelings can be positive or negative, but either way they occur outside of awareness.
In the mentor-bonding we consciously direct positive feelings towards the ideal mentor, accessing our inate resevoir of loving connection, hope and optimism, and feelings of being safe and cared for.

Psychological projection is a defence mechanism in which one attributes ("projects") to others, one's own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them. In the mentor-bonding we consciously project any positive, desired for aspects, onto the ideal mentor. Any love and care you've ever experience by someone, you direct them toward the mentor and feel completely connected and cared for by them.

Internalized introject
To introject is to unconsciously incorporate characteristics of a person into one's own psyche. In the mentor-bonding we consciously take-in or "reabsorb" any of the "nutrients" we have projected onto the mentor and the bonding relationship. The love and wisdom we initially ascrib to the idealized other, we take in and allow to become part of our own character. In fact it was always part of our psyche, but here we are consciously accepting and cultivating it.

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