A Psychological Look at Star Wars: Projection and Facing Your Truth.

There is so much to be learned from watching Star Wars. I just finished watching Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. There is something about movies 1 -3 that strike me. For example, the way that Anakin was destined from the start to become Darth, and seeing that process unfold. Seeing the blind spots of the Jedi and how the Dark Side clouded their vision, even Yoda’s, is powerful. It’s a symbol of how even the great masters of the world are still human and have their moments. I’m sure even the Dalai Lama has his blind spots, which makes me feel a bit better about mine.

Yoda knew Anakin’s fate, in his gut, from the very beginning as did Obi-Wan. They knew, and yet they decided to still let him in without giving him the proper training and tools that he probably needed. In fact, they blindly perpetuated the problem by taking him in without fully trusting him. Although they were unconsciously aware of the truth, they did not want to accept it. They were repressing. In denial of what was to come. And in the end, exactly what they feared is what transpired.

In subtle ways, they put him down and treated him like a disobedient child. In subtle ways, they ignored the good and did not truly see the light inside of him. Only Qui-Gon saw Anakin’s true Jedi potential. If he had been his apprentice and still alive, maybe Anakin would have remained a Jedi. The Jedi were lacking faith and reason this entire time, thinking that simply disciplining the child would allow him to learn and grow. I believe this is why Qui-Gon eventually gained immortality. He’d be the one to teach Obi-Wan the correct way, allowing Obi-Wan a “second chance.”

This is the Law of Attraction at its finest. You view someone a certain way, and that’s what they become. You view someone like a child, and that is exactly what transpires. The Jedi became blind. Anakin was the chosen one to eventually bring balance to the force. The force was out of balance because the Jedi were too confident and not mindful enough of the presence of the dark side. The Force was not strong with them. 

The Jedi needed this lesson. They needed to see their blind spot, which essentially exploded in their faces. Years and years later, when Luke comes along, the Jedi would then train Luke the right way and remain mindful of the presence of the dark side.

Why am I sharing all of this? Well, I believe that there is great symbolism in this about our internal psychological struggles as mankind.

When we are blind to our own dark side, things implode in the same way.

Think about all of the times you’ve felt an explosion of emotion. All of the emotional breakdowns or moments of pure anger or fear. These emotional breakdowns are often due to a buildup of emotions that were already rising within you, but you were repressing, or ignoring perhaps consciously or unconsciously.

-Maybe it’s in the context of a job for example. Internally, you know that you’re unhappy in this job and that at the rate you’re going, you’re most probably not going to last. You know you need a career change, and a life change. You’re just not happy where you are in your life. You can’t bear this idea though, so you hold on. You hold on and go to work every day feeling miserable. Your bosses see you miserable and then all of a sudden, in your perspective, they’re excluding you and ignoring you. It’s them now. “My bosses are so mean. They can’t stand me.” Meanwhile, you’re going to work in an awful mood, shoving desk drawers with your feet and giving all of your coworkers the stink eye. The energy you give off is now the reality. Your perception of them is reality. You are seeing the very image you are projecting. Can you look at yourself and realize the truth that you are unhappy?  You only realize this once everything implodes and you get fired.

-Internally, the Jedi council do know that the Sith is still around, and they know that Anakin is going to be tempted to go down that path. They know the Jedi order is about to go into near-extinction and they know that danger is coming. But that idea is too much to handle so they hold on to the idea that Anakin is the chosen one. They hold on to this hope, letting Anakin be a Jedi and feeling terrible about it the whole time. They start treating Anakin like a mischievous child and soon enough, he does become this mischievous child. Their perception of Anakin becomes reality. They see the very image they project. Can they look at themselves and realize that the Dark side was always in existence and they were just too blind to see it?  They only realize this after the Jedi become nearly extinct.

-Internally, Anakin knows that he is going to be tempted to face suffering in the form of his mother and Padme dying. He knows that he is immature still and that he is suffering too much for being a Jedi. He knows this, but it’s too much to handle so he holds on to this idea that he is better than anyone else and that “he will save everyone.” He doesn’t want to face the truth that we are all bound to at least some form of suffering. He ignores this and says, “This can’t happen. I won’t let this happen!” When Yoda tells Anakin that death is a natural part of life, Anakin isn’t listening because he doesn’t want to believe it. So what happens? He starts to become a bit narcissistic, thinking that the Jedi are the problem because they “are not powerful enough to save lives”. They’re the bad guys now. They’re the problem now. The struggle is no longer internal. He is pretending to be a Jedi, unable to see that he is still a young Padawan.   Soon enough after being swayed by Sidious, Anakin is gone. He begins to see the very image that he was projecting. He genuinely begins to believe that the Jedi are evil and that he himself will bring order. Can he look at himself and realize the truth that he is really the evil one? The one who was suffering all along and who brought all of this upon himself?   He only realizes this upon his death…

04The truth is sometimes hard to face, and that’s life! We can walk around pretending we are enlightened all the time, but truly it is still a practice, even for Master Yoda. We are constantly repressing and projecting, and sometimes our lessons are learned after things implode.

Sounds a bit depressing, but here’s the good news:

Out of every “bad” experience, there is an incredible lesson to be learned that eventually brings happiness, joy and compassion. This is the ultimate truth. 

After most of the Jedi Knights are killed off, Padme dies, Anakin becomes Darth Vader, and the Empire is built, Luke Skywalker is born. He is the one to eventually bring peace back to the galaxy for some time.

After Darth Vader lives a life of suffering, darkness, and hate, he finally sees the light moments before his death. He sees his son as a reflection of what he wanted to be and that makes him happier than he would ever be, had he kept on living.

After you get fired from this job and wind up with no money, that’s when the career change and the road to happiness begins. The true light inside of you is illuminated after you get past this state of self-loathing. You eventually run into someone when you’re in the pits of despair, and they know someone who knows someone who owns a business in what you’ve been passionate about. A project car business, let’s say. You become friends and all of a sudden fast forward a couple of years and you’re running an international project car business in Germany. You are finally living out your dreams. 

After I have gone through many periods of self-loathing, depression, and anxiety, there has always been a light at the end of the tunnel. I start loving myself again. I learn more tools and techniques. I recognize my projections and repressions, and each new experience I have is done more mindfully than before. Each relationship is better. Each job or school experience is better.

Each day is better. 

But each day is also harder, as I try to face these dark truths. 

This is the cycle of life though, and we’re always learning. At the moment, I feel that I am Yoda (without the 100+ years of wisdom) right after he goes into exile in Revenge of the Sith. Everything has imploded and I am seeking retreat and shelter. I’m noticing all of my projections and habitual patterns. I’m realizing that there’s a darkness in me I was completely ignoring.

Where are you right now? In which areas of your life are you projecting?

Are you aware of your dark side?

Are you aware of your truth?

~ Namaste everyone ~

Reflection on: the teachings of Venerable Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche

The more that I read about Buddhism, the more it makes intuitive sense to me.

According to Buddhism, we must all take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Buddha pertains to that Enlightened nature we all have within ourselves. Buddha was able to clear all elements of human suffering such as negative emotions, attachment and desire to reveal His true essence of compassion and wisdom. By taking refuge in the Buddha, I believe this means trusting and devoting ourselves to that Enlightened Buddha nature within us.

Dharma pertains to the Buddha’s teachings that are based upon removing all attachments and disarming the Ego. This is the actual process of attaining that Enlightenment. By taking refuge in the Dharma, this means keeping these teachings close to us. Remembering them always and practicing them.

Sangha, and this one I find particularly interesting, refers to our community from the most Enlightened individuals (e.g. monks) to the average laypeople who are said to be “beginners” in this process (e.g. me and you). By taking refuge in the Sangha, we are acknowledging our “brothers and sisters” and actively seeking out like-minded people that will surround us with this mindful, loving, compassionate energy.

Alright so all of this makes sense, right? But what should we do with it? What can I do with this information?

  1. Taking refuge in the Buddha: For me, this has been picking myself up from the depths of self-loathing, attachment, and negativity by channeling my Wise self. I do this at times through meditation, yoga, and journaling or blogging. I speak to myself from that third person point-of-view. Others will often maintain an image of the Buddha in their shrines or homes and look to it with devotion and respect as a reminder of what we have in us. I have yet to do this, only because when I see an image outside of myself, it is still difficult to remember that this is a representation of myself. It still triggers a perfectionist “look-at-this-Buddha-statue-and-how-perfect-He-is-and-I’ll-never-achieve-this” attitude. I feel that as I progress more, I’ll let this go. For now, speaking to myself it is! I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way for anyone. Do as you please to channel your Buddha nature! 🙂
  2. Taking refuge in the Dharma: Well, first I need to study His teachings. That would help, right? At the moment, I have a general moral compass related to to His teachings and I try my best to follow them in my daily situations. For instance, one teaching is regarding to non-violence. I have always practiced this, so what I try to do is practice thinking nonviolently. In addition, when I am making decisions or doing anything really, I do so mindfully. At times I’ll meditate or do breathing exercises in order to get myself into that Buddha-like state so that I then can make wise decisions.
  3. Taking refuge in the Sangha: I am doing this right now. Choosing to follow and create blogs that promote love, compassion, and wisdom. I have also limited my social environments and interactions. For instance, I no longer drink or go to bars or clubs. Will this change? Maybe at some point you’d find me in one, but probably not for a long time, and you probably won’t find me drunk. I’ve also partaken in the Yogi community by getting out there and doing yoga, as well as replacing my Netflix subscription with a Gaia subscription. I also joined an online community for like-minded individuals, and it probably won’t be the only one I join. I still have a lot to work on, but I’m taking the steps as we speak, and I am happy doing so 🙂

The three motivations for these refuges are avoiding pain, aspiring for peace, and aspiring to rid all others from human suffering.

As I mentioned, all of this makes intuitive sense to me. At this moment, I do not see myself immersing myself in this and becoming a Buddhist nun or a devoted 100% Buddhist. In fact, I don’t really know what it means to be labeled a “Buddhist.” In fact, I don’t even know what it means to label myself. Labels are a construct made in order to conform ourselves to a role or niche. They are for the comfort of ourselves and others, but not necessary. We all have this compassionate, loving Buddha nature, remember? …

Or is this simply my Ego speaking? My Ego that wants to avoid labels in fear of disappointing. My Ego that is thinking “If I label myself in this blog, right now, someone may read this with a narrow mind and choose to stop reading!”

My mind is an intricate place. I laugh at it sometimes.

In conclusion, I guess I would label myself as all of the following: A person who resonates with Buddhism, Yogi, Love enthusiast, and Believer of our Inner Wisdom. In mainstream surveys, I guess I’d probably label myself as “Spiritual, Not Religious.”

*Sources:

“All Teachings Are on Refuge” – Pema Mandala, the magazine of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center.PemaMandala2015v2