In tantra the term “Ideation” stands for a series of techniques that are given to Students, and although it sounds similar to “idealization” there is a difference. Idealization pertains to something that you don’t have, something your mind idealizes as a function of an idealized, un-real “I”, while the term Ideation has the meaning of “identifying” consciousness with an idea of a teaching or with the final idea of a teaching. Idealization is favouring something that is not our reality, something that is sort of a lie, a projection, a make-believe, a fantasy that we attach on something, someone, or on ourselves. It is an exaggerated self-image; self-opinion; an idealized “I”. Idealization is not reality, but a mental and emotional label that’s being put over the existing “I”, or “self”, a label we think is real and which we want others to see and experience so that we could raise ourselves from a certain state (of mind, from a certain concept; self-image; self-opinion) – to another, idealized state. The mind cannot imagine something that doesn’t exist, but it can distort the Truth according to its own peculiar distortions, and then impose it wishing it to become its reality – outside of any real change. Also, it can impose its distorted truth on the image of others, of things and events, on the image of its own internal and the outside world – all with the aim of rising above the current reality, or above the appearance of a certain thing, event, or person.
The motive behind this is self-aggrandizement; pointing toward the mind’s imaginary power and strength, its imaginary value which is displayed in the manner of idealizing that which is outside of it or idealizing that which is inside of it; fear; hope; expectation; powerlessness it feels in a genuine way but hides and suppresses it; insufficient self-worth and valuing of its functions; inferiority from which it escapes into a superior image of itself, others, the world, etc. If a part of you focuses on discovering the motives behind a certain “action” (thinking, feeling, living – the three minds) you discover facts which are more real than the made-up “facts” your mind is trying to convince you of. Those real facts are able to destroy or degrade a “weak mind”, so to say, to make it enter into self-destruction – precisely what the mind is trying to avoid by way of projection and idealization. Only a strong mind is able to withstand facing its illusions and is ought to embark on this kind of practice. And yet, every mind thinks of itself as ready and strong enough to cut down the illusions it believes in – but only those which it doesn’t like, the ones it resists, which cause pain and suffering, and not the illusions it likes, fancies, the ones it REALLY ought to become aware of.
Pseudo-spirituality lacks a real view of itself, what it has is a projection of self that is built by idealizing oneself, others, the world, and the teaching itself as an extension of building oneself. By projecting onto the world around and itself, as if projecting the Shadow onto surroundings, the identified and limited mind builds an image of itself. It maintains this image by aggressively defending it from everything that might destroy it. The Shadow is all that the mind cannot accept as its own, all that doesn’t conform to its idealized self-image, the so called persona. This suppressed, hidden reality is then projected by idealization onto others (idealization can also be negative), the world, and events. Any kind of projection is idealization. Even though we usually understand Idealization as something we embellish, as something to which we give value it doesn’t necessarily have, as something we try to make more perfect than something else – it is also a projection.
Idealization IS projection. Therefore, idealization is not only a positive embellishment of something or someone – which is a projection, only an idealized one – but any kind of projection which we attach to someone or something. Our vocabulary distinguishes between projection and idealization, but in truth, projection can be both positive and negative, as “idealization of something” is usually understood, as a positive projection. Being in love is perhaps the best example of idealization; attachment which comes about through projections, expectations and hopes we attach to a partner; or any kind of attachment, projection onto anything else. The moment of falling out of love, of “ceasing to love someone” is the moment when, under pressing evidence, the bubble of idealization bursts – such evidence is also a projection of a sort, a negative idealization of the very same person in whom we were in love until recently. Fascination and idealization that abound in man’s life are often interpreted as “love” and are often advocated as “true love”, adding once again certain idealized terms (idealized meanings) into pseudo-spirituality, such as: “unconditional”, “unlimited”, “divine”, “higher” etc. – love. All of this is no more than idealization by which the mind tries to ascribe value to itself, tries to hide from the sources of hurt and fear, or by which it tries to look at something in a positive light in order to raise its own value, to be a part of a projected “divine” flock, etc.
I said that the mind cannot conceive of anything that is not real. Yet, afterwards I also said how all the mind conceives is unreal, lacks a basis in reality. This seems contradictory. It is contradictory, but only for a mind which is blind, unable to encompass contradictory truths, or realities, and understand them on a higher level – on the level of thinking and comprehending which includes both “yes” and “no”. For a mind which is unable to think and understand beyond “yes” OR “no”, that is, beyond the concepts of “black or white”, “good or bad” (evil). When brought down onto the level of the mind, the ordinary level of understanding, all higher Truth is contradictory. Understanding Ideation is even more contradictory if Idealization is not understood. I have already explained “idealization” which is thought of as a positive trait, or a function of the mind linked to creative imagination – considering that creative imagination is a process of using imagination (fantasy) to create a higher, imaginary state – not a process of idealizing the present state with a higher, imaginary one. Similarly, Ideation means putting a certain Idea on the first place, strengthening it by consciously directing all three minds; three levels of the mind; on becoming ONE with the IDEA on which we are focused.
In Tantric Teaching Ideation is used as an accent, something onto which consciousness, beyond the control of the mind and its understanding, is focusing with the goal of manifesting a certain state, of bringing down a certain state. Consciousness is focusing in the first place by understanding a certain state, by becoming that which Ideation is directed at. To coin a term: “ideating” something would mean consciously focusing on a certain idea, making the effort to bring it down, to make it concrete in the daily life. Ideation is not make-believe, attaching certain ideas on top of the present state, but an understanding that we, as personality, as a set of concepts – are not real, are not in line with our true nature. Ideation detaches from this concept or self-image, it separates (by way of understanding and Discriminating) consciousness from mind’s projections and focuses it on the Idea we got and are working with, all with the aim of man’s liberation. Ideation is a kind of imitation, a specific way of perceiving in line with the teaching that needs to liberate us from our current self-image, from our current state of identification, and that needs to unite us with a much broader idea, a deeper understanding of our nature. Ideation liberates from idealization and from identification with the mind and its projections – especially the projection of oneself and the identification with it. In the transitional period, while a man is becoming free from identification, from his own self-image (ego), the projections about the world and others, he needs to attach himself to something in order to complete this process in a relatively secure manner and without serious consequences. This is precisely what Ideation is for. The sole Ideation permitted within Tantric Teaching that is the one of Highest Consciousness, the Divine.
In idealization we would be projecting certain divine qualities onto our present self, as is done in pseudo-spirituality. This present self, along with its limitations, would then be favoured, given importance – in other words, we would be idealizing a present state, a limited “I”. Ideation avoids this. In Ideation we are directing on what is real within us while discarding all projections: concepts of the mind, personality traits, virtues, flaws, etc. We are trying to experience this real in ourselves as the Divine, bearing in mind that there is no difference between the Absolute and the human Nature. Ideation is an attempt to pull ourselves out of identification with the mind; processes; projections, an attempt of getting out of the limitations of the mind (inertia, dullness, bondage) by way of creative imagination, by way of switching onto an idea which is a goal of sorts, which reflects the goal we aspire to. In Ideation we aim to make the goal of our aspirations the reality of our life, to make it real, for the mind to endure a certain transformation and transcendence in line with our goal and the goal of the Teaching.
We don’t become real by way of Ideation, we don’t become one with the idea to which we aspire. Ideation helps us to see more clearly where we diverge from the goal to which we aspire; what we need to change; what we need to discard; which projections hold us down, hold us back, and keep us in bondage. Also, through creative focusing, the mind which is directed at a certain state – becomes this state. We become one with the idea in the moment when each and every part of us is linked with it, in other words, when we discard the present, limited state and become the very feature of the idea, until we become that idea. If we Ideate that we are one with the Absolute, we become it in the moment when we realize this ideation, when this Truth removes all the other “truths” and lies we had believed thus far, when our entire life becomes filled with this state which is spontaneous, smooth, effortless – when it becomes a FACT of our life and of ourselves. It is said in tantra that an Idea is the most powerful tool in the universe, if we know how to work with it. Ideation is a way of working with the Idea.
We might say that ideation is imagining by which we crystalize a new idea and bring it down into everyday life. Although in the beginning we may say we are not ideating, each term in spirituality is an ideation of sorts, starting with the ideas of soul, witness, god, the process of Work, etc. In the beginning our understanding of Ideation is limited and specific, focused on that aspect which the mind had understood. Later the understanding deepens and by changing a man’s convictions and limitations it becomes more apparent. Ideation is always directed at a larger area than the current one. It is directed at a broader picture, a more positive picture – not “positive” in the sense of liking, vital positivity, but in the sense of emotion, emotional mind, creative mind – toward deeper insights. Owing to this Ideation is a fight against limitations, conditionality, bondage, limited projection, and limited nature. It pushes you toward internal evolution, internal development.
Ideation is always internal and in the beginning it is strictly limited, up until there arises an understanding of what ideation really is; what it does; what its goals are. Along with the internal development and as consciousness raises it slowly discards ideation – what was previously ideated now becomes reality. Therefore, ideation is A MEANS, not the goal. The Goal is what ideation is aimed at, what it requires of you to achieve, concretize. I could have used the word “idolization” but I would rather you didn’t associate it with “idols” since that word is connected with human idols. Ideation is not an idol; ideation is not something the mind might place above itself or above others within some concept, not something the mind might use as a means of embellishing the image of self; of others; of the world. That is why we use the word Ideation.
Ideation might be placed above today’s ideas of Creation, Manifesting, provided those ideas are not connected with wishes, urges or needs of the personality. For this reason I called Ideation a Creative Focusing – provided we know that consciousness is being directed on its own source, and not on a projection of the mind. Just as creative visualization calls for a continuous directed focus, calls for living what you are visualizing, so does Ideation. It requires continuous, focused experiencing from the Idea, from the Goal you aspire to – up until it becomes your reality. Of course, there are ideas much deeper than this, Work that is much deeper, but such Work is for those who had already experienced something called Awakening. On their level Ideation doesn’t work anymore but changes into something else which is based on the insights into their Nature, it is being this Nature. This is similar to the work of Sri Aurobindo.
If you connect this with previous texts on the blog you’ll be able to understand them in a different way and it will become clear why some ideas of the Work are used in a certain way, what is their goal, purpose and the like.