Some techniques and commentaries on the most simple and direct method available to us for self-actualization and transformation through identification with our ideal.
“According to the Eastern doctrine of ‘dharma,’ we are each called upon to achieve a particular life-pattern. And while all patterns have equal dignity, each one of us should avail himself or herself of the possibility that is uniquely one’s own and not someone else’s. Each of us should try to discover the pattern and cooperate with its realization. In Psychosynthesis we use the word purpose in a similar, though more dynamic, sense. Our entire life’s purpose is already present within us, and, furthermore, at each state of our life there are subordinate purposes – steps along the way toward the fulfillment of our ideal pattern.
Ideal: what and ambiguous and even dangerous word; but we are not talking about … impractical or unreachable goals. We are not talking about a tyrannical and impersonal standard which we must measure our actions and thoughts. Nor are we talking about some cold and abstract norm unconnected to our everyday world of flesh and blood. We mean, rather, something eminently practical and personal: fulfilling our deepest inner leanings, from moment to moment, in the most effective and desirable way… a process of unfoldment…marked by joy.
Indeed, joy could be defined as the manifest sign that we are fulfilling our ideal purpose at any given moment. … But we must be very gentle in trying to conceive our inner ideal, in trying to imagine our larger purpose. This needs to be a gradual process, one subject to trial, error, and revision. To attempt to conceive our inner ideal pattern in any hasty fashion will almost always have negative results, intimidating or disheartening us or, even worse, trapping us in some artificially self-imposed form, the deadly prison of unrealistic perfectionism.
Images can either imprison or liberate us. We can be their unconscious slaves and let them govern our lives, or we can deliberately put their immense power to effective use.
By clearly imagining a possibility, we automatically bring it closer to actualization. Therefore, we can intentionally use images to aid our purpose in coming into full, embodied, existence. And we can do so by thinking of the next appropriate step in our personal evolution.
THE IDEAL MODEL
In this task we will adopt the same procedure the little girl spontaneously used with bicycling: we will vividly image the chosen goal. This is the technique of the ideal model. It is best used in terms of quality, such as love, strength, understanding, joy, and so on. Here are the steps.
- Choose a quality you feel will be helpful at this time in realizing your emerging life purpose.
- Now imagine yourself as already having that quality in the highest degree of purity and intensity. Allow the image to take shape in detail. See the look in the eyes expressing the quality; the physical posture; the facial expression. (The image may not be very stable in the beginning; it may be fuzzy, or appear and disappear in flashes. Even so, it will exercise a powerful influence on your unconscious.) Hold this image in your mind for a few moments, encouraging it to increasingly express the quality you have chosen.
- Image walking into this image and becoming one with it – something like putting on new clothes. As you mere with the image, feel its quality becoming part of you. Imagine how it feels to possess the maximum degree of this quality. Feel your body pervaded by it. Feel it penetrating each one of your cells, flowing in each vein, filling your whole body. Imagine this quality permeating your feelings, your way of thinking, and your motives.
- Finally, imagine yourself expressing in one or several situations of your everyday life, more of this quality than you previously have. Imagine these situations dynamically and in detail.
The technique of the ideal model is based on the freedom of the individual to influence his or her destiny. Different persons approach the task in different ways. At one pole we find people who first let their purpose gradually emerge, as if they were mere spectators. They become aware of the existing inner blueprint, let it unfold, and then actively stimulate its emergence with and image.
At the opposite pole we find others who, possessing a different psychological constitution, are more dynamic in trying to shape their own lives. They are more eager to search out purpose and build it. … In both cases, however, the technique is based on human freedom and responsibility. Both types of people are craftsman of their lives.
During the early part of the modern era, in the Italian Renaissance, the possibility of crafting our destiny was seen as the very beauty and dignity of our humanness – but also its inherent danger. According to a story of that time, God created all beings in the universe and gave to each a particular quality and, therefore, a specific destiny. … When, at last, God came to human beings, He decided to leave him with an open destiny:
He welcomes him as an entity of infinite nature, put him in the heart of the universe, and spoke to him in this way, ‘I created you as a being neither mortal nor immortal, neither heavenly nor earthly, so that you, as a sovereign and free artificer, could mold and forge yourself in the shape you choose. You can sink to the level of the inferior beings. You can, if you so will, regenerate yourself in the likeness of the superior beings.
Precisely because of this freedom and this indeterminacy, it is possible to use the technique if the ideal model in a great number of constructive and also destructive ways.
- Do not put it to service of frustrations, that is, to seek revenge upon others.
- Do not confuse it with day-dreaming. Daydreaming leads us astray and not reality oriented.
- Be aware of the backlash effect. When we first start there may be unconscious rejection of the new goal and we may have negative reactions to it. Simply take notice of these reactionary tendencies and continue on with the work.
- Do not let the ideal model become a straight-jacket that inhibits spontaneity. The ideal model is a guide and not a mold. We must forever be open to spontaneous action, the voice of inspiration.”
From, What We May Be – Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth by Piero Ferrucci
Peter Roche de Coppens describes his use of the technique of an ‘Ideal Model’ in his work, The Invisible Temple, and combines it with the traditional use of “Assumption of the Godform and use of Divine Names. “A final but most important point is the understanding and realization of a proper synthesis of Introversion/Extroversion, Supraversion/Infraversion, and of the Male/Female Polarities for therein lies the true key to balance, harmony, or peace, just as the Psyche is the key to unlock the Mysteries of the Universe and Life.
By the proper use of the perspective and tools that have been suggested in this work, the Candidate should meditate upon, seek to reconcile and finally live the opposed psychological tendencies of directing his or her energies and attention upon the outer and inner worlds, upon the spiritual and the physical aspects of his or her being, and of being active and self-affirming or passive and receptive. Finally, idealism should also be tempered and reconciled with Realism so that one moves not too fast yet not too slowly either in one’s growth, self-actualization and self-realization.
To properly understand and work with the Yoga of the West (the nature and use of Symbols and Rituals) it is very important to plan and organize one’s life and activities so as to live consciously and in a responsible and effective fashion. To this end, it is fundamental to learn to work alone, with one’s Guide’s, with one’s Brothers and Sisters on the Path, and with the Community at large.” – Peter Roche de Coppens, The Invisible Temple – The Nature and Use of the Group Mind for Spiritual Attainment (p. 231-232)
“One of the most important tasks that a human being can accomplish while here on Earth is to create, forge, and fashion his own little world – to bring about a psychosocial cosmos out the chaos within himself. The creation of Man’s own universe involves structuring his space, time, and action, and this Commandment deal with the proper structuring of Man’s time so as to enable it to flow whole, and therefore to live a wholesome life.
The major units of time for Man are the day, the week, the month, and the year; this Commandment draws the Candidate’s attention to the fact that during each period of time (a day, a week, a month, a year, and even a lifetime) he should periodically set some time aside for focusing his attention to the Divine Within, to actively seek to align his consciousness and life with the Will of the Divine Spark, and to raise his consciousness on the Holy Mountain to the point where he can come into conscious contact with the Living Light and Fire, Love and Consciousness, of the Divine Within.
Here, the key is to keep proper balance and rhythm between work, prayer, and relaxation, between his physical, human, and spiritual life, thereby to tune into the various parts of his being and of the world which are material, psychic, and spiritual in nature.
This affirmation, in other words, deals with the Mystery of Growth and Rhythm, and with the proper structuring of time.” – Peter Roche de Coppens, The Invisible Temple – The Nature and Use of the Group Mind for Spiritual Attainment (p.199)
“Let me give you an example of how I have used (and still use) the Name of one of my teachers, who is an 85 year old woman still alive in Paris, whom I have known and been inspired by for over 25 years…. In her presence, I have become transformed: being more myself in its higher sense, more alive, more creative, generous, and functioning at a higher level of consciousness. When I invoke her Name…I immediately feel her presence there and no longer feel alone, but instead connected to God, to Humanity, to Nature. All that I know about, and have experienced with her immediately returns to me and is present with me as her Spirit is connected with mine, and I become transformed again with powerful motivations and urges to become the better person I can be.
Guru Yoga in Tibetan Buddhism is used to transform our limited sense of self into a realization of our enlightened nature. A commentary by Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche on Guru Yoga from the Ngondro, or Preliminary Practices, reads:
“RANG NYID DORJE NALJOR DUN KHA RU”
Oneself (is) Vajrayogini and in the sky in front…
When we practice Guru Padmasambhava Yoga, our task is to completely change our frame of reference.
This means that we ignore our mundane conceptions of who we think we are. These self impressions exist only on the surface. In Guru Yoga we return to our primordial natural state. We stop seeing ourselves and all things around us on the surface level. We see ourselves as Vajrayogini.
We see all external things as part of the pure land of Vajrayogini. Vajrayogini is the primordial natural wisdom state. We appear as the wisdom rainbow body Vajrayogini, wisdom mother of all the Buddhas, mother of all the realization beings. With an understanding of this primordial wisdom nature, we can invoke the true nature of the Buddha.
Logically therefore, our understanding the true nature of the Buddha is dependent upon our understanding of the true primordial wisdom nature. Guru Padmasambhava and Vajrayogini are of the same nature. Every time we practice Guru Yoga with this understanding, we gain more experience of the primordial wisdom nature.”
And finally, from from the Corpus Hermeticum:
“If then you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot approach God: for like is known by like. Leap clear of all that is corporeal, and make yourself grow to an expanse like that greatness which is beyond all measure; rise up above all time, and become eternal, then you will apprehend God.
Think that for you too nothing is impossible; deem that you too are immortal, and that you are able to grasp all things in your thought, to know every craft and every science; find yourself at home in the haunts of every living creature; make yourself higher than all heights, and lower than all depths; bring together in yourself all opposites of quality, heat and cold, dryness and fluidity; think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, and that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave: grasp in your thoughts all this at once, all times and places, all substances and qualities and magnitudes together; then you can apprehend God.
But if you shut up your soul in your body, and abase yourself, and say, “I know nothing, I can do nothing, I am afraid of earth and sea, I cannot mount to heaven; I do not know what I was, nor what I shall be, then what have you to do with God? Your thoughts can grasp nothing beautiful and good, if you cleave to the body and evil. For it is the height of evil not to know God; but to be capable of knowing God, and to wish and hope to know Him, is the road which leads straight to the good; and it is an easy road to travel.”