By Cathy Eck
Projection and the Shadow
People have become far too psychologically savvy. That isn’t good because most people are very outer directed. Instead of using psychological knowledge to fix themselves, they try to fix others. Everyone’s giving advice — mostly bad advice that gets us stuck in the illusion. Initiation was very different from modern psychology. The high initiates, who had already purified their mind, mentored the lower initiates.
To understand projection, we must understand the idea of the personal shadow. “Everyone carries a shadow,” Carl Jung wrote, ” and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” Most people in power identify with good or right and project bad or wrong on to others. Their blindness to their own faults is often misconstrued as self-confidence.Only an authority or masculine role can project; those in the feminine role receive. Thus children don’t project on parents or teachers. Citizens don’t project on leaders. Employees don’t project on bosses.
What we call the collective mindset is determined by the elite. Whatever beliefs they hold as true (and don’t identify with) will be projected out on to the world. People see this as a conspiracy; but it’s just how projection works. Most of them think their beliefs are right, good, and true. They think they’re doing a great service, and the rest of the world is just inferior, stupid, or bad.
Jung also said that some people have a good shadow; they identify with the less desirable half of their personality and project their good qualities. Often they think they’re being humble. Some of the people I mentor have done this because they didn’t want to be like the assholes that played a masculine role in their early life.
In the illusion, we train people to be feminine from birth. Our school and religious systems have one authority with lots of receivers of knowledge. In most cases, questioning that authority was frowned upon. Our minds and bodies were conditioned to take in information without exercising discrimination if it comes from an expert (one who has knowledge).
When I started to understand discrimination, I struggled with the fact that my mind knew something was false, but my body received the information as if it were true. I wasn’t my own body’s authority. I was horrified. We should all be the only authority of our body; it’s OUR body. But I had accepted the projections of many seeming body experts.
Jung defined projection: “shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.” In others words, what we see in others is actually in our own mind.
Initiation differs from Jung. Most shadow work talks about embracing the shadow. The initiates said to get rid of the whole false self — good and bad aspects. That way, you’re left with just the True Self. You can’t just let go of what you don’t like; you have to let go of the opposite that you do like to get to freedom. People don’t like to do that. For example, you have to let go of your own Tony Robbins style hyper-motivation before you’ll stop seeing lazy people everywhere. You have to let go of your half-full persona before the half empties stop raining on your parade.
Projection defines the world we see. The greater our power and the more we judge, the more we project. If an authority sees their projection in another and convinces them that what they see is true, they can cause that person to be stuck in their illusion. They’ll have power over that person whenever they push the button they installed. We’ve all known people who can push our buttons. They’ve simply installed a powerful psychological reversal button.
We can escape their illusion if we recognize that when the projector says “we’re lazy,” we feel emotion. The emotion means their statement isn’t true. Bigots and racists always see their own projection. If we let their words go because they are untrue, the emotion usually reverts back to the projector. The projector generated the emotion, in the first place, by thinking something false; so they deserve to have the emotion back. Lying in their own sewage might force them to let go or to at least question their projection. But don’t be fooled, they won’t go down easy. Usually when they feel the emotion return to them, they’ll say you projected on them. Often they will try to send the emotion back to you another way. Ultimately we stop taking projections when we let go of beliefs.
Projection and the Masculine Role
The person projecting is always in the masculine role; they hold beliefs or a belief system that they believe to be true, and they usually blame the effect of their belief system on the feminine. They don’t take responsibility for what they see in the world. When we’re with such people, they often speak to us as if they’re talking to themselves; they are.
We don’t project from the feminine role; the feminine role has no power in the illusion. But we become the target for the projection of the same sort of authorities. They’re like heat-seeking missiles.
We won’t discriminate when projections come our way if we’re filled with beliefs. We’ll accept their projection and then resent or hate it even if we know it’s wrong or bad. We’ll waste our time trying to defend it, which only makes it stronger.
Projection only exists in the illusion. The True Self has no beliefs that give power to experts or authority. We see them as keepers of knowledge; and we aren’t interested in knowledge when we have our own wisdom. Thus, as we let go, we move out of the illusion where everyone minds their own business and lives their own life.
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