The Art of Projection

Two streams join together and form our reality. The stains of pain and the caress of pleasure weave our reactions into a warped lens, bending childlike clarity into grownup bias. Men and women project their inner pleasures and sufferings onto the world, encountering exaggerations and distorted forms as they walk the path of life. We stand face to face to events and the people surrounding them, assuming all the while that we see clearly and can trust our outer senses. As fools we blame, judge and victimize ourselves, deceived to believe that we are the protagonists of our own personal story. Every other actor and influence, by fate or accident, simply come in and out as figments of our story; supporting characters that exist only to perpetuate our personal monologue. When this state of mind is shared by every cell of humanity, where vanity and narcissistic tendencies hide behind false pretenses, a mild insanity saturates the air.

Righteousness, indignation and loud outcries can be heard from every corner, as people find themselves offended and slighted by the trivial affronts of other men and women striving for their own tastes and glories. The caption underneath the movie reads “forgive them lord; they know not what they do.” These pseudo dramas are nothing more than the result of a topsy turvy way of being, in which projection is the key element behind every shadow and solid. By way of festering ignorance, we are blind to the contradictions in our behaviour. Nor do we see the gap between our attitudes and actions. Nor do we feel our crude and awkward impact on the hearts of others. By way of this stiff shell the truth hides deep, underneath layers of flesh, blood and bones. It remains there, lurking within the core of our being, rising to the surface in the most astonishing way: it literally forms our reality. We see only caricatures in the behaviour of others, proportional in size to our own private well of lunacy.

A man walks to our window and releases a string of words which for some reason or another creates in us a reaction of indifference, positivity or negativity. The voltage of the reaction, how strong the sting, how sweet the caress, or how negligent and neutral the impact, determines our reaction by direct measure to the soreness of the scars planted within our psychology. To a man of relatively  sincere intention the vice of projection offers, paradoxically, a path of development. To he projection is in fact a godsend as much as it is a curse. For to reveal the hidden forces within himself, to shed light on darkness and heal the fears and demons which rule his life from some remote distance, the art of projection becomes a sensitive radar to the treasures of self-knowledge. Aware of himself, aware of his surroundings, aware of the slightest movements of air and earth, he prepares for the next coming encounter. An event arrives, someone or something manifests, and his heart jerks and mind rattles in reaction. In this moment he has a new chance which did not exist before.

The dance of attention begins in the moment and prepares for the future as it is gently consumed one second at a time. The frame of the body, the flow of the mind and the heat of the heart are all observed. Vigilance guards and unites them, ensures that they are in harmony through the binding force of a psychological concert. As dramas surface into the daily mold, we take pains to keep this attention alive, this hidden witness that observes our relation to the world. One man’s wart is witnessed, grotesque and begging for a reaction of repulsion. Behind the reaction is an observation, an inner sense which measures both the other and the self without judgment. The measurement is recorded and stored away, compared later with one’s own behaviour, to reveal what is surely so, that what bothers us most in the outer world points directly to what we need most to resolve within ourselves.


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