Written by Telana Simpson,
inspired by Rob Nairn’s work
Are you addicted to the right kind of comfortableness?
As human beings we have the drive to learn and evolve. In order to grow spiritually or psychologically, inward development is needed and that involves being open to and getting in touch with our inner processes.
I was listening to a lecture by Rob Nairn, a Western teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, about Projection and how it relates to our growth in life. He mentions that we need a degree of inner honesty and a growing self awareness to start this process.
Being prepared to look at and face our inner activity and then to come to terms with it and integrate that activity, is all part of the process. Yet we find it so uncomfortable to do.
We as humans have been designed in a way that means that we avoid pain and use projection as a self defence mechanism. Projection is a natural yet unconscious process where, as Jung explains, we perceive our qualities, characteristics or talents as an outward characteristic of some other person or thing.
As a catch-22 of being human, we don’t know ourselves very well. We are not sure of, don’t like or are fearful of our potentials and capabilities- good or bad- and we thus project these qualities onto the outside world in order to relate to them.
The world – and the people in our lives – reflect back to us like a mirror, that which we have not owned or become aware of, and rather projected. What we are not consciously aware of, we can learn about to gain more self awareness because we can see it reflected in our thoughts, words and actions, the way we treat people, and the things we do which the world mirrors back at us.
Experience leads to Awareness
Through projecting, we prevent ourselves from seeing our inner activity or content, but this doesn’t prevent it from existing. Our psychological content needs to be related to, otherwise we become fragmented and unaware.
So we are continually having experiences to gain more awareness about ourselves.
Yet everything we experience is influenced by our perceptions of those experiences. We are never really in touch with reality itself, only with our view of that reality. Working passed our perceptions to work with reality itself requires effort.
Facing the truth of ourselves and our actual existence is perceived as a very difficult process. So we tend to go for the more comfortable, easy option. We would rather look at the duller, softer light than the brilliant bright light that we think will strain our eyes if we look at it, because of it’s brilliance.
Easy way out
When life then presents us with a difficult situation where we have to face reality (taking effort), or an easy way out, we tend to take the easy option. Because this is our tendency, we become accustomed to the easy way out, and tend to look for only those options.
However, this lack of facing difficult situations leads to a steady degeneration of the brightness and sharpness of our personalities. When we choose to not be honest and face what the world is mirroring back to us – our projections – we miss the opportunity of truth. We miss the opportunity to learn more about our inner processes and about ourselves, and thus we experience less of our potential.
And we do this just because we don’t want to be uncomfortable. By missing the sharper reality that we find uncomfortable, we are less likely to learn.
Comfortable vs. Uncomfortable
Rob Nairn says that:
“Fundamentally as humans we are addicted to being comfortable, so we will always go for the comfortable option”.
If we were to face the truth, which we find uncomfortable, we might have to change. We would much rather stick with what we know rather than go for the unknown, even though what we know may not be working for us.
“So we habitually slow down our growth, because every time we take the easy option, instead of becoming open and stronger, we become more closed, lazier and weaker. So we kind of run down.”
This addiction to being comfortable tends to feed our projection process. Any aspect of ourselves that we are not comfortable with, that is not “OK” to us, we tend to project. And by doing so we dis-empower ourselves.
A lot of our real power or ability as humans comes from being at ease with all aspects of our being, including our “bad” and aggressive aspects.
Thus when we make our shadow aspects wrong, repress and then project them out in defence, we dis-empower ourselves. We end up walking around with a sense of powerlessness, which gets activated every time the world mirrors back to us this projection.
The result is that people think they are choosing the comfortable option, but they are also becoming powerless, small and petty, experiencing compulsive feelings and tending to blame the world for their circumstances.
By projecting and not facing the uncomfortableness of our reality and of ourselves, we keep ourselves weak and tend to then keep compensating through further projections, as we continually sense our weakness.
Those people with personal power have worked at integrating and focusing the totality of their psychological energy. They are totally OK with every aspect of their inner activity and thus experience a far less fragmented psyche. They tend to project less, say less, do less, react less and yet are highly effective at what they do, as they have more time and energy (previously used in projecting) to clarify and focus in on what they need to do to express their potential.
People with this level of “comfortableness” with themselves in totality, gain stature, have an inner strength and manifest their potential in the world. They have an irresistible level of what Nairn referred to as the Tibetan “wang tong”, which others recognise and defer to.
Choose your addiction
Fleetingly we are faced with opportunities where we can shine in our brilliance. But most of us, because we have an addiction to being comfortable on some level, have developed the habit of avoidance in our daily lives. Thus we avoid our brilliance and instead turn away from it, because it is too much for us, too much of a dis-comfort.
“Every bright light is accompanied by a dim light, and if we faced and went into the bright light, we would become enlightened. But we almost never do. We always go for the dim light and that brings us back…” is the way Nairn put it.
Life’s events are the training ground for us to discover how we tend to settle for the easy options, and how the liberating (although perceived as more difficult and less comfortable) alternative is always present, if we can just muster the courage and energy to face it.
If we choose, we could become addicted rather to the more useful “being comfortable with the uncomfortableness” that life throws at us.
We would be able to gain more self awareness and own all aspects of our psychological energies, or psyche, and develop that irresistible “wang tong” for life!
From there, we can only be brighter, and share more of our potential with others and the world.
To you choosing wang tong!
About the Author:
Telana is a dynamic, transformational Personal Coach and Blogger who specializes in communicating and relating. She is fascinated by consciousness evolution and goes on adventures for the experiences to push her boundaries and preconceptions. She offers coaching and training programmes to help individuals develop their ability to express themselves and their potentials and improve their relationships, and is a host of an online TV show.