As soon as you create a role or set up a hierarchy, projection begins.
It begins immediately when we become mentors, and amplifies when we become interning teachers, swells when we become full teachers, and crescendos when we become senior teachers.
This natural and necessary process of projection is the heart and foundation of guru dynamics. We can’t get away from it, and will never get away from, it as long as we have any kind of ‘helping others awaken’ role.
Projection is not inherently a bad thing! It’s natural, and even necessary. What is critical, however, is how the role-holder handles projection. This is what makes all the difference.
Two powerful documentaries illuminate the healing and destructive potentials of how a teacher handles projection.
Movie #1: Kumare
— he knew he was not a guru (he never identified as one)
— the positive projection of ‘guru’ happened anyway, w/o any ‘credentials’
— he was aware of, and uncomfortable with, the positive projections and was sensitive to students’ trust and vulnerability
— he realized his job was to help people find their own ‘inner guru’
— the students who were able to reclaim their projections got significant benefit
Movie #2: Holy Hell
— he may have known at some sub-conscious level that he was not a guru, but he identified as one
— the positive projections fed into his narcissism and wounding
— he claimed all the power and fostered dependency and submission
— he abused student’s trust and vulnerability
— students who didn’t reclaim their projections were severely traumatized
This brings us to consider what the teachers’ vs the students’ responsibilities are. See my post on this topic – Teacher vs Student Responsibilities.