Here is Part 3 of our 5-part series. I encourage you to read Part 1: Perception is Projection and Part 2: Cause and Effect before continuing below:
The next basic assumption flows almost directly from cause and effect. It is creation. The assumption of creation says is that, in order for something to come into existence, the opposite also has to come into existence. That our world, that all of existence is a part of a duality or dichotomy, day and night, light and dark, happy and sad. Some people might use “happy and happier” as the dichotomy. Another person would think of “happy and sad.” With things that are internal, Papa Bray said that you had total, not just partial, but total control over the experience of the dichotomy. So if you create happy and sad as the dichotomy, Jung would say that you are doomed to move back and forth between happiness and sadness. Even existence is part of a dichotomy: you either exist, or you don’t exist.
What does that mean? Well, if there are either good or bad relationships in your universe, or if, according to your belief, all relationships have highs and lows, then that will be true for you. This duality will exist in your experience. By the very nature of experiencing something, when you create something into being, the opposite also has to come into existence.
Papa Bray said that you do have a certain level of control over your experience of what that opposite is. Perception is projection says that it’s along a spectrum, and that a certain amount is in your head, and a certain amount is outside. Right? So you have 100% control over the creation of any aspect of your perception that is totally inside your head, such as emotions.
When it gets to something like day or night, you’re not going to be able to slow the sun down. It’s going to set when it sets. You can have your own unique experience of time, like an hour-and-a-half break going by quickly or seemingly taking forever. But, we can’t determine what time the sun’s going to set. What Papa Bray said is if that bothers you, the fact that the sun sets at a certain hour, that’s you. The sun doesn’t care. It’s going to set. The moon’s going to rise. It’s not going to worry about whether or not you’re concerned.
Creation is really an understanding of the fact that we do live in a world of duality and dichotomies, and very few dichotomies are fixed in stone and unchangeable. The great philosopher Obi-Wan Kenobi showed this in Star Wars.
At one point, Luke confronts Obi-Wan and says, “Obi-Wan, you told me my father had died. You lied to me.” But Obi-Wan responds, “No, I didn’t. When the person your father was, Anakin Skywalker, ceased to be and he became Darth Vader, the old person who I knew and loved who was your father essentially died. So from my perspective, that was the truth.” Then Luke says, “From your perspective.” And Obi Wan responds, “Luke, you’re going to have to learn something. Truth, in many contexts, is based on your point of view.”
That scene gives you two really powerful ideas about the assumption of creation. The first is that you are in control of a certain aspect of what you believe to be true. The second is that other people can believe something else is true, and that’s okay. It’s okay for someone to come to me and say, “There’s no such thing as higher self. It’s all about God.” I can switch gears, and we’ll have a discussion about God. Or someone else might say, “To heck with this Huna stuff. I just want the straight Jungian self. Don’t you dare bring in any Higher Self.” No problem, we can talk about Self only.
One of my students grew up in a fundamentalist Christian household. As an adult though, he became interested in Eastern religions and philosophies which was especially upsetting to his mother. “After years of bickering about it and trying to get her to accept my way of thinking, it dawned on me that all I was doing was causing her great pain.” Knowing about creation and the flow of dualities and dichotomies, my student started discussing things differently with his mother. He stopped emphasizing the differences in their views and started talking about their similarities. He recognized that his truth was not the only truth. His mother could keep her beliefs and he could keep his while still having good discussions and a positive relationship.
1. What dualities and opposites have you set up in your life?
2. Can you see that others use different dualities? If so, how are they different than yours?
3. Think of someone whose opinions differ from yours (religion and politics are always good for this exercise!). Does it feel okay that this person keeps his/her own belief? Do you regard them as naïve/ misinformed/insincere/just kinda stupid for disagreeing with you? Are you able to really listen as that person explains what he/she believes?
Click here to read Part 4: Cycles and Rhythms.