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Unregistered User
(12/23/01 2:30 pm)
Projective identification
Fascinating! as my old friend Spock was fond of saying. While I agree with many here who believe nothing short of direct divine intervention will "fix" the organization, this board appears to be filling a desperate need for connection and healing.

I read with interest the postings regarding personality types. (Well, some of them, at least!) Surely an understanding of those dimensions of human difference will be helpful to many, in the beginning stages of trying to explain and understand this bizarre interactional dynamic. Let me add another observed behavior from the science of psychology (yes, science) that I think will be helpful to many.

Projective identification is a concept introduced by Melanie Klein towards the end of her life. (Klein is one of the "giants" in the field; her work on ego development and splitting has great relevance to the dysfunction within SRF, but that's for another time.) It extends the basic idea of projection, which many are already familiar with: the "fantasied expulsion of unwanted impulses: that which could not be experienced as in the self was experienced as located in others, external to the self." Projection is rampant within SRF, as attested to by this board, and by the personal experience of many of you.

Klein suggested that in projective identification, "what is projected is not simply discrete impulses, but a part of the self--not just aggressive impulses, for example, but a bad self, now located in another. Since that which is projected is a segment of the self, a connection to the expelled part is maintained, through an unconscious identification. The projected psychic content is not simply gone; the person struggles to keep some connection to and control over that content."

Sound familiar?

But there's more. Wilfred Bion extended the concept, based on his clinical experience with very distrubed patients. He found himself having intense feelings that seemed to corresond to the patients' emotional life. "The analyst, Bion began to suspect, actually becomes a container for mental content originally located in the patient's exerience. An event inside the patient's mind, in which a segment of the self is fantasied as relocated (contained) in the analyst, becomes somehow translated into an actual experience for the analyst." This work led Bion, and many others, to study intuition and affective contagion, as the mechanisms for such an interpersonal interaction. Bion changed the concept of projective identification from a fantasy in the mind of one person to a complex relational event in the minds of two people.

Sorry for the long lead-in, but I felt it was necessary to make the point, which is this: You have to get away. If you have been absorbed (I mean this almost literally) by the psychotic culture that is SRF, you have been absorbed into a deep set of projective identifications, made even harder to uproot by the incredible receptivity with which you went in to the relationship. Sincere devotees come to SRF with all their defenses down, and then they receive the emotional equivalent of an attack with nuclear weapons.

You are not going to repair the damage and rebuild your self (not meaning the childish ego) if you are still present to the identification. The hooks are too strong. Get out of there. Now.

Registered User
(12/23/01 2:50 pm)
Re: Projective identification
Wonderful post. Wonderful post.

Sincere devotees come to SRF with all their defenses down, and then they receive the emotional equivalent of an attack with nuclear weapons.

Exactly. People find SRF and think that they have found perfection as is illustrated in this post Is this the SRF manifesto. This is how many people think. And they arrive at SRF (especially those who end up insiders, whether monastics, employees or residents) completely open to everything. And most rationalize that it is just "training." Abuse is training, but abuse is never mentioned. I used to rationalize that there was something wrong with me because I saw things that did not sit right and no one else seemed to be aware of them. That is part of the conditioning. If you see something wrong, your consciousness is in the wrong place. This kind of conditioning helps you to ignore wrongdoings. Some things are just plain wrong.

And then there is "the work". This, in and of itself, is another motivating factor for many to ignore and deny fundamental behavioral organizational problems that exist. Many rationalize (as seen in the above cross-referenced post): "Master has chosen the elite to run this organization and spread this message. They are perfect, or at least more perfect then I. They are so great, I am so small. They have problems with their neighbors (or any other issue) because their lofty goals are misunderstood. The vibrations are too high for the rest of the world. Oh how I wish I could be like them."

Edited by: AumBoy at: 12/23/01 3:08:16 pm
Unregistered User
(12/23/01 4:58 pm)
How do y'all do that neat quoting thing?

Registered User
(12/23/01 5:09 pm)
Re: Quoting
Begin the quote with: [quote] End the quote with: [/quote]

When you post, under the text box there are "Posting Options". If you click "EzCodes" (the word) you'll see a list of codes that are available to use.

Raja Begum
Unregistered User
(12/24/01 1:49 am)
To Vulcan
You hit an angle which is just fantastic and makes me want to look at the concept of projection in a more sophisticated way. Can you say more about Klein and Bion? What can I read? Thanks! A hunch tells me you've just raised the potential level of insights by a thousand.

Been there
Unregistered User
(12/24/01 5:38 am)
To Vulcan
Perhaps you can turn Raja Begum on to more sophisticated info about projective indentification. But could you refer me to some Cliff Notes?

It is very interesting and I am having a hard time understanding how it works in relation to SRF training. Maybe you or Aum Boy or someone can give specific examples culled from the experiences described in other parts of the board?

When I first read your post I flashed onto how SRF's litigious activities were a function of the phenomenon you described. Then I got kind of lost. Maybe I am too close to it still. Thanks from all us slower learners.

Been there
Unregistered User
(12/24/01 2:46 pm)
To Prof. Vulcan
Great. I look forward to your having time for this. Found some stuff on the internet -- papers written about Bion's work on groups, which would seem to be relevant -- but maybe, as you said, not too easy to find. Lots of other references too as I just pursued search results on Klein.

In general, these concepts might explain what has become of SRF without there being some kind of "smoking gun" or original secret that the present culture of lies and secrecy has grown up to hide.

Here are some questions it would help me to have answered:

1. What would be the unacceptable reality that caused the SRF projection of being surrounded by enemies in the first place. In other words, what inner enemy became projected for them as the outer enemies? I am interested in the genesis of all this.

2. What would be the need that causes one to accept their projection of enemies? And the other projections of the organization? What dynamic gets the whole dance going in the first place?

You wrote : "What would happen to a cult without cultees?" It would certainly die, it would seem. Certainly one cannot stay in the monastic order when one begins to reject the identification with the projection. The environment becomes unbearable at that point.

Unregistered User
(12/24/01 4:18 pm)
Bion and groups
Yes, Been There, Bion's group work is perhaps even more relevant and illuminating than the one concept of projective identification. The book to read is Experiences in Groups, by Wilfred Bion. Out of print, but most good size libraries have it, and you might find a copy through the internet, if you want to pay. Also the library of any four-year college or university is a good source in this whole area. Most of them will let you borrow books even if you aren't a student, perhaps for a small fee.

You raise excellent points and questions, which I will digest and then reply. I wanted to suggest one concept that might be helpful to readers of this board. If there's interest, the group work is fascinating and illuminating.

Regarding groups, Bion was the "avatar" of group psychology, in my opinion. He wondered about why it is that groups can't accomplish what they appear to be formed to do. (We all observe and experience this phenomenon daily. Remember the old saw: A camel is a horse designed by committee.) His basic theory is that groups actually act under a set of basic assumptions about why they are formed, assumptions that have nothing to do with the task at hand. Without strenuous developmental work, this group mentality (his term) relentlessly controls the group's behavior. One of these basic assumptions is that the group's task is to preserve its existence. No more, no less. There are others, which I'll talk about later. (Don't mean to be coy; it's hard to condense subject matter one has studied for years into concise, relevant, and understandable prose. I still struggle with that after many years!)

A significant point is this: both the observed behavior of projective identification, and the phenomenon of group mentality based on unconscious assumptions, can be clearly traced to early human experiences. These are not concepts drawn from thin air, nor is this in the realm of psychobabble--something I agree exists and I dislike probably more than any of you. These are scientific theories, put to the test in the truly scientific way: observation, analysis, experiment, results. There is a clear, unbroken link showing the deep impact on adult behavior of traumatic or dysfunctional experiences during the stages of ego development. And the indication that such analysis and conceptual work is necessary is when we exerience behavior, in ourselves or others, than is unproductive, hurtful, wasteful, compulsive, or in other ways unnatural. We all know what natural behavior is. Even on this board, I have found no posts claiming that the perceived behavior is "normal." The disputes arise over whether there is some higher law that justifies or explains the behavior under a different context, or a different set of rules.

What you'll find as you study these rigorous and deep writings about individual and group behavior, is that the explicit goal accepted by these psychologists is developmental: for the individual to rise above unconscious and detrimental motivations, to be able to direct one's behavior in consonance with reality. Sound familiar? "Truth is exact correspondence with reality. For man, truth is unshakable knowledge of his real nature, his Self as soul." ( Autobiography) We attain knowledge of our souls through our sadhana; but we are unable to fully practice the sadhana while we are under the sway of unconscious motivations. The test, again, is in reality: How does one behave? The single quote Master uses to illustrate his guru's training is not "Learn to feel the presence of God;" it is "Learn to behave."

It is clear to me that the spiritual encompasses and expands on the normal and good, rather than being inexplicable. The examples of an enlightened teacher giving training through apparently "wrong" behavior are few and far between. And to believe that such behavior can be institutionalized, across many people, is simply lunacy.

Unregistered User
(12/24/01 4:22 pm)
One more thing...
Forgot one more quick comment.
In general, these concepts might explain what has become of SRF without there being some kind of "smoking gun" or original secret that the present culture of lies and secrecy has grown up to hide.

Yes, I agree 100%. Another benefit of understanding the psychology of group (and individual) behavior, and of having much experience working with groups of all kinds, is that one doesn't need to postulate conspiracies or strange events or extraterrestrials to understand difficult situations. One also is then not powerless (empowered? an overused word) in one's response. The events are seen as taking place in the same real world one inhabits. Imagining unusual explanations is just another form of projection, you know.

Raja Begum
Unregistered User
(12/25/01 10:14 am)
RE Projective Identification
Another powerful way of grasping the dynamics of a group. Reminds me of how there are variations in ways of seeing things....like the weather via satellite imaging using doppler radar, infrared, etc.

Looking forward to more discussion.

"The age of commandments has passed. The age of logic is here. You must look in the face of every experience with intelligent discrimination until you understand it; then you will not be deluded anymore. There is a reason for everything. And in this age of analysis, you must seek that understanding."
---- Paramahansa Yogananda (Divine Romance p 75)

To my fellow Walruses...
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Registered User
(12/29/01 9:25 pm)
The "Return of the Mother" by Andrew Harvey (ex disciple of Meera Mata) Pg. 480
Q.: What do you think it is in our psyche that so makes people want to project their divinity onto another?

"I think the fundamental rationale behind this projection is terror. People are mortally frightened of naked contact with the divine, of claiming their fullness, of being totally authentic and responsible for every waking an sleeping moment of their lives. Projecting their divinity onto someone else who is all too willing to accept that projection is a secretly convenient way of getting out of the appalling responsibility of becoming divine and acting as a divine human being in the world, which means an endless disruption of one’s life and the perpetual scrutiny of one’s motives. This kind of surrender is always exposing you and dissolving whatever certainty you have in order to draw you deeper and deeper into its passion and its love.
But this is a terrifying prospect, and people will go to masters and gurus and give them anything, even their children, if they will live out the burden of our own unlived sanctity. Another reason for projection /adoration onto someone is that you yourself start to shine with the reflected luster of that projection, so you experience a covert self-adoration. You are now decorated with a little aura of sanctity that you didn’t have to earn. This is corrupt, because if you were really to town those qualities that you are projecting, you would have to be responsible for them. Coming close to truth demands rigorous goals of service and real charity. To be hooked on the experiences that adoration brings, without enacting and incarnating that adoration in service and charity, is fundamentally not to be adoring God but to be adoring one’s own spiritual ego. … it is shocking to me how little the so called new age is doing to help out and how little the gurus talk of environmental or social transformation, or political justice, or any kind of service. The only service most talk about is service to them!

Unregistered User
(1/3/02 9:20 pm)
Re: to Prof. Vulcan
Happy new year to all. Let me try to address a couple questions that were posted by Been There.
What would be the unacceptable reality that caused the SRF projection of being surrounded by enemies in the first place. In other words, what inner enemy became projected for them as the outer enemies? I am interested in the genesis of all this.
The projection isn’t really an “inner enemy,” but is some perceived “part” of oneself that is unwanted. One could term that an enemy, of course, but it is more complex than that. It is key that the one projecting maintains a connection to the expelled segment of the self. This is an interaction in which both parties are required. So while the person receiving the projection is now perceived as containing a “bad self,” it is nevertheless still a part of the projector’s self, and so he “keeps in touch” with it.

What part of the self are the SRF leaders projecting? (And, by extension, are those around them receiving?) It seems to me clear from observing what they believe about those around them: a self that is incompetent, uncertain, doubtful, of questionable loyalty, and so on. To mix psychological frames, it is the Jungian shadow. But they know it is still part of their own self, even though it is projected, and so they try to manage it themselves by managing the projection in others. This is one reason for the brutality: they are actually working on themselves in acting so. This leads to the second question:
What would be the need that causes one to accept their projection of enemies? And the other projections of the organization? What dynamic gets the whole dance going in the first place?
I can think of two reasons. First, low sense of self and a depressive personality. Accepting the projection is self-validating in this case, and in a strange way, it is liberating for such an individual. They feel they have transferred the burden for themselves to the other. (This, to me, is the most pernicious aspect of these psychological dynamics: they mimic the disciple-guru relationship without its substance.) Second, remember Bion’s observation that one can actually experience to some degree the reception of the projection, and identify with it. In the SRF case, the ones projecting have very forceful and energetic personalities, and many who come to them do so in a very emotional, open, receptive, and vulnerable state. Couple this with the outer dependence of the monastic life and you have very powerful forces acting on the recipient.

Does this make sense? My guess is that these folks developed very extreme dependent personalities in their time with Master, despite all his efforts to break the dependency. Once he was gone they had no tools to deal with their own shadows. And shadows they have.

Registered User
(1/3/02 9:58 pm)
Clever Girl
Great analysis! Right on. Vulcans seem pretty smart. How do you hide those ears by the way.

I have seen one of the problems you mention. The bad ladies “act” as if they are just working with God’s plan, doing God’s will, and just feeling their way guided by Master. While I am sure their own rationalization engines are churning full speed to keep themselves in the fog, this is a bunch of baloney. They are working to protect themselves at each opportunity and crunch out perceived opposition.

Note the poll here showing that most of us are concerned about how they treat people. What does that tell you? The organization that Master started has members concerned about the abuse of people? What?

I heard the brother in charge of the convocations one time tell all the volunteers that it was so wonderful being involved in SRF because you just have to sit back and watch things develop! The “big plan” was already decided by Master and Babaji and SRF’ers just have to keep in tune and do their small parts. Notice how this eliminates any responsibility for the actions and products of the SRF organization.

I also think this brother didn't have a clue about what was really going on, or why, and so he rationalized it by saying it was God's Plan. Many around him were questioning things and he had no answers.

Clever girl.

Edited by: KS at: 1/3/02 10:03:38 pm
Been there
Unregistered User
(1/4/02 7:49 pm)
Vulcan's post
Great, thanks Vulcan. What you wrote really resonates with much of my experience. I look forward to more.

Happy New Year.

Unregistered User
(1/5/02 3:09 pm)
For Vulcan and KS
Vulcan, a few of your thoughts hit like bombshells. You wrote:

"To mix psychological frames, it is the Jungian shadow. But they know it is still part of their own self, even though it is projected, and so they try to manage it themselves by managing the
projection in others. This is one reason for the brutality: they are actually working on themselves in acting so."

Right on! It reminds me of a comment my relative made before he left Mt. Washington: "The very behaviors you would least expect in devotees, let alone senior monastics, are the ones that I had to face every day." You used the word "brutality"; he used the word "cruelty." Both are apt. Chilling.

Although I think many have good reasons to be very angry with the treatment they received, it is very, very saddening to see what has happened in the lives of these older, senior monastics. They appear to be people with brutalized psyches. I found the old children's tune singing itself in my mind: "Five hugs a day, that's the minimum." These people need, and have needed for many years, hugs and kisses--real, personal, and intimate friendships, and not the impersonal and sometimes fawning friendships they have perhaps received; it's lonely at the top, and I wonder if some of the leaders aren't very lonely (it reminds me of what Raja once said about a lack of life experience in some of the more senior female monastic leaders). The monastic setting should be able to provide these real friendships. Alas, for historical reasons, this doesn't seem to have been possible for Daya Mata, Ananda Mata and some others. And the dance of brutality has been allowed to go on;indeed, with the closure of the SLCs, it appears that the dance will continue on. I find this very saddening.

Further on you wrote:

"My guess is that these folks developed very extreme dependent personalities in their time with Master, despite all his efforts to break the dependency. Once he was gone they had no tools to deal with their own shadows. And shadows they have."

I would add that not only did they not have the tools, they didn't have the environment which would allow them to work on these shadows, as I suggested above. The fact that the SLCs were shut down so suddenly by the leaders reflects their fears of dealing with the shadows. I hope another 30 monastics leave soon, both for their own sakes and for the sake of the Master's work.

KS, I think you pointed out another critical element of the dance: the leaders (and, as a result, many of the rest of us) gave birth to this notion of all the work just being God's will; that is, don';t worry, just sit back...and end up being irresponsible and immature. This isn't intended, of course, but it is the net result (remember the story about the mortgage payment being due and the devotees telling Master not to worry, that God would make everything okay? Master's response was emphatic--"Don't tell me about God's will. Get busy and do something!"). Your point about the Brother in charge of the Convos is very telling. I noticed that the smile this year wasn't so radiant. I wonder if he's being to question things himself. If so, he must be in agony (for his own sake, I hope he is!).

Unregistered User
(1/28/02 12:22 am)
From Answer to Job by Carl Jung, p. 54:
We should never forget that it was Christ himself who taught us to make usurious use of the talents entrusted to us and not hide them in the ground. One ought not to make oneself out to be more stupid and more unconscious than one really is, for in all other aspects we are called upon to be alert, critical, and self-aware, so as not to fall into temptation, and to “examine the spirits” who want to gain influence over us and “see whether they are of God,” so that we may recognize the mistakes we make. It even needs superhuman intelligence to avoid the cunning snares of Satan. These obligations inevitably sharpen our understanding, our love of truth, and the urge to know, which as well as being genuine human virtues are quite possibly effects of that spirit which “searches everything, even the depths of God.” These intellectual and moral capacities are themselves of a divine nature, and therefore cannot and must not be cut off. It is just by following Christian morality that one gets into the worst collisions of duty. Only those who habitually make five an even number can escape them. The fact that Christian ethics leads to collisions of duty speaks in its favour. By engendering insoluble conflicts and consequently an afflictio animae, it brings man nearer to a knowledge of God. All opposites are of God, therefore man must bend to this burden; and in so doing he finds that God in his “oppositeness” has taken possession of him, incarnated himself in him.
This introduces a discussion of the psychological concept of splitting. The basic idea is that we have difficulty dealing with discomfort, and with ambiguity. When they occur, especially in the very early stages of life (Melanie Klein demonstrated it for very young children, and postulated it for infants), we have a strong tendency to deal with them by expelling them, or separating them. Klein used the imagos of “good breast” and “bad breast” for the infant: all love and warmth and sustenance comes from the good breast; discomfort and pain and anxiety come from the bad breast. The normal process of growth and individuation involves gradual reintegration of the artificially split apart qualities. Note that it is not the case that only “disturbed” people split and project: these are fundamental operations of the human psyche. The more severe disorders are only cases of extremes, not of kind.

Although it is an unusual approach, I believe there is a fundamental connection between the Jungian concept of shadow and the mechanism of splitting. Rather than being only a psychic operation, in the realm of the human ego, the tendency to split is fundamental to the soul’s operation in the material world. Indeed, the genesis of creation itself is a grand split. Likewise with projective identification: it is so embedded in our psyche because it is the original cause of creation. We ourselves are projective identifications of Eternal Spirit, and Its great love is drawing us back. As images of God we have his qualities and so we naturally engage in the same dance.

So what? (Or, some of you may be simply thinking, What? If so, I apologize!) I guess my point is that the spiritual path is not simple at all; it is fraught with paradox. Master himself says this very clearly. I believe that the current SRF leadership acts very unconsciously, and resists any suggestion or pressure to introspect about themselves. They now believe their own propaganda and cannot imagine that they might be in error. Or they use the feeble excuse that, even if they are wrong, they should be followed, and Master will fix everything. What a concept!

My hope is that these thoughts are helpful to at least some in understanding how such a bizarre and frustrating situation could have come about, and in reducing the natural feelings of betrayal and loss that so many have experienced.

Registered User
(1/28/02 8:07 pm)
Re: Splitting
I think this is mainly true and spot on. All splitting has to be unconscious and to expand past this is the aim of all genuine spiritual activity. It is clear that the leadership SRF cannot/will not do this and so undermine Yogananda and the teachings in the most fundamental way.

thanks vulcan for these clear and relevant posts - they are getting to the core of the SRF conundrum for me and clearing up my confictedness.


Unregistered User
(2/17/02 3:14 am)
two my answers to vulcan, present till some hours ago now have disappiered.Who did not agree to the point of erase my commentation?Perhaps you accept only people who mistreat SRF and as soon as you realize someone spend a few words supporting SRF you can't admit him.Yes ,you are indeed collaborating with satan-maya trying to destroy Master's work.I'm Italian and please excuse my poor english.Thank you.Please don't remove my message

Unregistered User
(2/17/02 8:22 am)

Perhaps your two messages disappeared because they had no real substance. This one doesn't either.

If you expect your postings to stay on this board you need to contribute something of value, not just attack and tear down those who are posting. From what I have seen, the Walrus is determined to keep this board on track. That track is the reality of what goes on inside SRF. If you don't know anything about that then you are certainly free to take your postings elsewhere.

Don't judge people who have experienced things you have not. In classic SRF-speak, what you accuse us of is exactly what SRF does. You don't have to agree with us and you don't have to visit this board. However, I recommend you take the time to read it. Much of what is said here is true. If that is threatening to you than you need to ask yourself why, and what steps you are going to take to overcome your fear.

Unregistered User
(2/17/02 11:30 am)
I am only an SRF member who say nothing against SRF and my Guru.I read only a lot of ugly sentences against SRF and even agaist Gurudeva.Your forum is completely out of tune with Masters spirit;nay i 've read nothing spiritual here.I want to be candid and act openly;my name is Valerio Rossi and I live in Trento,Italy and my e-mail address is ,valerio.rossi48@virgilio.it.Please don't worry about myself-my fears i gave to my Gurudeva unconditionaly some 30 years ago and He never betrayed me

Registered User
(2/17/02 2:23 pm)
Re: For Vale

Inspire us with such spiritual insight that we go into bliss and forget our pain.

Don't tell us we are wrong for having feelings.

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