The Practical Implications of Projection: Summary of a Class Presentation

Here are my notes from Thursday’s class. I would really like to keep this discussion going. So please let me know your thoughts.

Evidence for this view

Bias is such a massive factor in perception. We know that bias plays havoc with our view of the world. Projection is just a form of this bias.

Our self-perception is so central to us. It makes sense that my self-perception would color everything. It makes sense that I would use my perception of everyone and everything to burnish my self-perception.

The “evil” will does exist in us. We see it at work in others and in the world. Normal people are capable of both ordinary viciousness and extraordinary brutality.

In rare moments we have windows onto the fact that we have a massive amount of guilt in us. Why don’t we see it all the time? Where does it go?

If such an “evil” will did exist in us, we would of course do everything we could to deny it, see it not in us. Have you ever tried to get someone to take responsibility for something irresponsible or destructive in their actions or personality? This is usually met with ferocious denials—and projection.

The first form of this projection—seeing the “evil” will existing out there—we can catch in the act to some degree. When blamed, the impulse to deflect the blame somewhere else is almost irresistible. We also can feel the pleasure in identifying the bad guys, in condemning those “worthy” of it—we feel more innocent and righteous ourselves.

The second form of this projection—seeing the “evil” will acting on us from out there—is something we can definitely catch in the act. Think about someone who is chronically late. Clearly, they just don’t value being on time, but then they ascribe their actions to outside circumstances. There’s also the scenario in Review III in the Workbook, where we just don’t want to give the time to our practice periods, but then attribute this to “a cloak of situations…that you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.”

We fit the profile. Our macro-perception of reality is that we see ourselves as a good self in a bad world, yet this perception—which is already highly suspect—is exactly what we would expect if we were utilizing projection.

What is so valuable about this idea

It is an extremely reasonable explanation; it doesn’t require us to turn off our brains like “you spot it, you got it.”

It gives us a believable explanation for how our perception can be so off. And that gives us room to change our perceptions. Only if our perceptions are off do we have room to change them.

It therefore opens up the realistic possibility that people as they really are, the world as it really is, could be something entirely different.

This gives us motivation to change. If we have enclosed ourselves in a very depressing bubble, closing ourselves off from the real world, which the Course tells us is joyful beyond belief, then who wouldn’t want to get out?

Practical implications

How can we apply this?

1.     Understand the concept.

2.     Seriously consider that it applies to you.

3.     See the potential it has for your release.

4.     Find ways to apply it, practice it.

Here are some thoughts for carrying out 2 and 3:

Consider that all the “bad” you see as existing out there is the projection of the “bad” in you.

Consider that all the “bad” you see as acting on you from out there is also the projection of the “bad” in you, which is really acting on you from the inside.

Consider that everywhere you look, therefore, you just see the grimy film of your own “evil” will.

That means you are not seeing the world as it is.

A global bias is distorting everything you see, blinding you to what’s really there.

You’re trapped in this bubble of your own false perception.

If you could see the world for what it is, it would be indescribably beautiful.

You would just love everyone, without reservation, and would love yourself.

Wouldn’t you want to see it?

Statements to practice

Choose someone to say each statement to. You can at times say them to the world as a whole.

I never hate you for your sins, but only for my own.

I will forgive you for my sins, and I will be forgiven indeed.

Projection always sees my will in you. If I will to separate myself from God, that is what I will think you are doing to me.

The ultimate purpose of projection is always to get rid of guilt.

I lift my projections of guilt from you, and recognize it is not you who is hurting me.

I see in you all that I have not forgiven in myself, and am thus given another chance to look at it, open it to re-evaluation and forgive it.

You are the screen for the projection of my sins, enabling me to let them go.

Only in you can I forgive myself, for I have called you guilty of my sins, and in you must my innocence now be found.

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