POEM: Enlightening Reflection

I looked into his eyes
And I could see the devil
More lightly peering
It was eye
A most enlightening reflection
Seeing double

This short poem hopes to shed some light on the concept of psychological projection. Projection strikes me as one of the most profound realities addressed in psychology. Confronting the that we regularly see the world more as we are than as the world is itself can provide a powerful tool for increased self- and a practical way of better adjusting to the world around us. Consciously reflecting on how our attitudes, perspectives, and emotional states color our perception and experience of the world can help us move toward a more congruous and harmonious relationship with both the world and our own aspirations. In short, we can become more effective human beings, dealing with as it more truly is, from both within and from without. This is nothing short of dealing with the interface between the subjective and the objective.

Reflecting on projection is perhaps the most direct way to sort out what we want to bring into the world as a subjective being and how this actually fits into the world in which we live. Projection is typically employed in the context of dysfunction. This poem addresses the universal human experience of projecting our dark side, evil within us, to people and situations outside of us. This is a universal human coping mechanism for dealing with our own shortcomings and avoiding the hard required to accept full for our own actions or of being. This form of is perennially popular. I strongly suspect that this bias is simply part of human , a de-fault mechanism, if you will. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that we are helpless or powerless over this condition. The point is to adjust, re-, ourselves to our environment. The counter- to is . Conscious may very well be the defining characteristic underlying human potential.

I find the practice of “If you spot it you got it,” as an enlightening game to to overcome the implicit in projecting our dark side outside of us. The game is rather simple. For instance, if you are stuck in the line at the grocery store and you are feeling impatient, instead of focusing on factors outside yourself, such as why the store may not have enough clerks, or how slow the clerks or customers may be, focus on yourself, your inner of being. By reflecting on your , , and emotional in any given situation, you may very well discover a better within yourself and with the world. For instance, is your impatience the only option? To what degree, and in what way, must this situation “make” you impatient? If your is well-deserved, did you earn it through previous choices for which you were responsible? Maybe your does suck at any given moment, but this is a small-minded, hard-hearted, and lazy non-leap to a conclusion that itself sucks. Living into a larger can offer solace and even joy in difficult situations. Focusing on yourself is not about victim blaming; it’s about and proportionality (). You are, in fact, helpless to change most of the world around you. Of course, focusing on things that you can’t change is the leading cause of ! Recognizing and accepting that you can’t change something, or someone, is the precise reason you should stop expending energy on it. What a in being able to take off your to-do list everything you cannot change! Of course, the to know the difference between what you can and cannot change only comes through experience and practice. Practicing self- in the face of de-fault projection is a front-line tool.

The best news in the world is that you, and every other human being, has the to make a difference within oneself and the world around us. The is the light side of projection. The influence and difference that we make comes through both conscious and unconscious processes. We inherit a lot in that is due to no choice of our own — some good, some bad. This is the unconscious, deterministic side of . If not consciously acted upon, by choosing one thing over another, the inertia of our lives will continue its trajectory — some good, some bad. Of course, denying your very ability to make conscious choices is a of your own humanity, and by implication and effect, a of the humanity of others. We have a responsibility to ourselves and others to seek increasing consciousness, both self-knowledge and knowledge of the world around us. This is where the light side of projection plays its role. Our conscious choices about how we wish to steer our own lives, given the good and the bad at any given moment, is what we project new into the world. Your conscious choices are your , your presence if you will, to yourself and your world. These choices change the world from its inertial, deterministic path. This is where the real you shines! You project yourself into the world. Something that was not present becomes present. The dark side of projection simply accepts the de-fault version of , a without the benefit of consciousness. This is an unconscious vote for the quo, reinforcing a that is nominally lived, we continue to have experiences, but the higher function of conscious choice, responsibility, is avoided. Response-ability is simple the ability to respond. Not simply as moving when poked with a stick, but deciding or to avoid being poked with a stick, or poking others with a stick. More positively put, you can explore and live into your highest dreams and aspirations, owning up to the presence you present to yourself, to others, and the world around you.

When we are in the whole world is in . This does not mean that the whole world is in at that given moment. Factually, this is false, and many will go out of their way to point this out to you, with a stick if necessary. Nonetheless, your experience of is the soil from which you project into the world, making the world a more loving place. Even if your is unrecognized or unreturned, the simple fact that you experience increases the in the world. Of course, when we experience , it is hard to . has a of its own. Perhaps is life itself. projecting itself into the world — a life longing project…

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