3 reasons our perception of the world (good self victimized by bad world) is highly suspect
1. Isn’t it fishy that this is exactly what you’d expect if your perception of the world was the result of projection?
2. Isn’t it fishy that you just happen to be the good guy, that you just happen to be the exception—especially when everyone else thinks the same thing about themselves? How likely is that that’s true vs. a product of some kind of bias on your part?
3. Isn’t it fishy that you have so little power over you? That they have it all? That they are in control of your experience of loss, your anger, your lack of love, and your behavioral attacks?
Are the characteristics we see in others in them or in us?
We shouldn’t see projection in terms of specific traits but in terms of the general “evil will” concept. We are trying to see the ego’s will outside of us. True, there is a selectivity in terms of who we project it on the most. But the guiding principle behind this is probably which screens will allow us to convince ourselves that that will is truly outside, in them, not in us. In these terms, it probably serves us best to pick people who look different than us, worse than us, and like they are attacking us. Those will be particularly convincing screens. In other words, seeing the “evil will” in these kinds of people will serve to convince us that it genuinely is outside of us.
And even when we pick someone because they remind us of some trait of ours that we secretly hate, I think we often choose them because the trait as it manifests in them makes them look somehow worse. For example, Helen (according to Jesus) hated Bill’s friend Wally because he reminded her of her own trait of being embarrassed by love. But whereas she had the strength to express this embarrassment in the form of direct conflict with others, Wally was weak and so expressed it in the form of mockery of others. So he added to it something that allowed Helen to tell herself that he was worse. This combination of sameness and worseness made him a great projection screen.
Not that I really understand how all this works. This is just what I think I can see at the moment.
Because our perception is a result of projection…
1. The macro-content we see—good self victimized by bad world—is an illusion.
2. The “evil” we see out there is not really outside, still inside. And we’re afraid of it creeping back in.
3. We have not really gotten rid of it by projecting it. We have actually reinforced it.
4. Rather than a getting rid of our “evil will,” projection is an expression of it, and a means of justifying it. It is the “evil will” in action.
What if you saw things without projection, as they are?
You would see yourself as completely responsible for your attacks. No one provoked you. No one coerced you. They were just your excuse to do something you already wanted to do. But now you can change it.
You would see yourself as completely responsible for your own anger and lack of love, and completely able to change that decision.
You would see yourself as completely responsible for your own loss, including your loss of God. And fully able to choose differently.
You would no longer see others as being out to hurt you. Rather than seeing them as against you, you would see them as for you. Instead of enemies they would be your dearest friends.
They would no longer look guilty. Their own “evil will” would be like an imaginary growth on their face—something that existed in their minds but not in your sight.
They wouldn’t be worse than you—they’d be your shining equals.
They would no longer seem at all different from you—they’d be your twin.
They would no longer appear to be separate from you. You would realize they are part of you.
That whole split between good self and bad world would be gone. You would be in harmony with and at one with a world full of pure, worthy, equal, dear friends.
What do you do about projection?
The Course seems to have a formula:
1. Realize that anything negative you see in others is just your own projection. We are supposed to make this deeply ingrained in our minds.
2. Lift the projection off of them.
3. In doing so you forgive them.
4. And in doing that you forgive yourself.
Choose someone you have had persistent bad feelings toward or negative perceptions of. Then repeat the following statements to that person, naming them in the process:
[Name], you are the screen for the projection of my sins, enabling me to let them go.
I lift my projections of guilt from you, [name],
enabling me to recognize it is not you who is hurting me.
I never hate my brother [name] for his sins, but only for my own.
Only in you, [name], can I forgive myself.
For I have called you guilty of my sins.
And in you must my innocence now be found.