Giving & Receiving Projections
From the moment that we are born we are projected upon. People tell us what we are. Beautiful baby, happy baby, fussy child, wild toddler, shy girl, loud, quiet, kind, aggressive, daring, good girl, bad boy, doing it right, doing it wrong, withdrawn, social, not enough, achiever and on and on. It really is nearly one nonstop lifelong projection. One after the other. Projection is so normal to us, both the giving and receiving of it, that we barely, if at all, notice it. Even if you think you don’t experience projection, there is a good chance that you are simply oblivious to it because it is such an accepted way of being, living and experiencing life. It’s literally unavoidable.
Why is projection unavoidable? Projection is a way that we learn. We learn about our personality self and the world around us via projection. There are both positive and negative effects to this. For example if we receive projections from others that we are amazing and that we can do anything we want to in life, projection has a positive impact. It moves us into our potential and empowers us in who we believe ourselves to be. We feel seen and capable. However if we receive projections from others that we are doing things wrong, we are too loud, shy, fussy, ugly or unlikeable, these projections move us further away from the truth of who we are. This is why they feel so bad. Anything that feels bad in terms of projection is something that is less true to who we actually are. We miss being seen for our essence and rather receive information contrary to our natural state of being.
In addition to receiving projections, we are also the source of it. As our human nature would have it we are all full of agendas, assumptions and beliefs about what life is, who we are and how it all works. We have ideas about what is right and wrong, good and bad, and a ginormous slew of other judgments to throw into the mix. Even if you’ve done a lot of inner work on these things, still most of us have not cleared out assumptions and agendas completely. This makes us projectors rather than clear mirrors for the people around us. It’s important to take inventory of what it is you are projecting onto others and onto life in general. One way to determine this is by noticing what emotions you feel most predominantly throughout your day. Do you feel good, overjoyed, blissful, peaceful, or do you feel agitated, annoyed, impatient, worried, frustrated and ill at ease? Whatever you project you also simultaneously experience. Once you are more aware of what you project you can assess if that is what you want to be projecting. Words have impact, but the vibrational quality from which we project is even more impactful.
Whatever has been projected onto us throughout our life is what we tend to project onto others. This is why you frequently see similar patterns or ways of being in family lines. This is also why working with your lineage can generate healing and transform unhealthy projections so that they end with you. Most of us don’t really know who we are, but rather think or believe the sum of the projections that we’ve received over the course of our life is who we are. Particularly projections in our early life when we are more open, less discerning and more susceptible to environmental information; these tend to influence us the most. You are none of the projections that you’ve ever received, even the good ones, but the ones that have felt good are closer to your essence.
Knowing who you actually are
Mirroring is really the only way we are truly seen in our essence, however in order to be a mirror, you must be without agenda or assumption. You must also be able to remove all meanings and definitions that you’ve learned as your human self. You could call this state of being as beyond ego, beyond self or beyond personality. This is a pretty tall order, which is why it’s rare for us to ever meet or become a mirror. Most find it challenging to empty out all of the meanings and definitions that they’ve spent a lifetime learning and creating. The thing is though as soon as you define something, label it, give some kind of meaning to it, you no longer see the essence, but rather you only see your definition. A bird isn’t a bird until you give it a label and make that label mean something. A person isn’t good, bad, right, wrong, beautiful, ugly, loud, quiet, etc. until you’ve labelled them as such and then placed meaning on that quality.
No quality can ever define you. You are prior to all qualities. You are the source from which all qualities arise. You are the originator or origination of everything you experience and know. However this is conceptual information for most people and not a direct knowing or experience. The truth is that you’ve never experienced anything but this, meaning you’ve never experienced anything but essence. It’s just that essence has been wrapped up, hidden, occluded, and veiled by all of your definitions and meanings that you’ve placed on top it. All of the projections you’ve learned and taken on as your identity. The definitions and meanings don’t ever change the essence, meaning they don’t change or touch the you that you actually are or anything else, but they do change how you see and what you experience. This is tricky, but important to get.
When you touch, taste or get a glimpse of pure essence it feels liberating, even if only for a split second. You get to drop all of the false identities that have been projected on you over your entire life. Identities such as not enough, loner, unlovable, mean/nice, aggressive/peaceful, good/bad, or happy/sad person, and for a moment you just are without any concept, idea or word defining you. In that moment you know you. The reason mirrors are helpful is because they know themselves as essence and as such can mirror that to others. They can only mirror it because they know it. Unless you are without your human filters, you will project through them and they will color what you see. Those filters distort the image, not on purpose, but as an effect.
If you put glasses on that have green colored lenses than everything you look at will be green, not because you are trying to make everything green, but as an effect of looking through those lenses. You know everything is not green because you know that you have glasses on, and so it only appears that way. This is how our beliefs, meanings, and definitions distort, color or interfere with us seeing what is actually there. The only difference is that you likely don’t know what is filtering you, meaning you don’t know what glasses you have on. You might have some ideas about your assumptions, judgments and meanings, but it’s not super clear. The result of this is that rather than knowing that everything is not really green because you can see the glasses that you have on, you don’t know that what you are looking at isn’t what you think it is. It doesn’t even dawn on you. This is essentially being unconscious or not awake to ourselves, which most humans are not. We don’t see our patterns, filters and beliefs and therefore don’t know reality from all of the delusions of meaning that we learned or made up. Hence the need for doing the inner work to be more and more self-aware, more and more conscious, so that we can eventually see our filters, take them off and see ourselves. This is the prime difference between a projector and a mirror. A projector doesn’t yet know that he/she is wearing glasses and a mirror can see the glasses and take them off.
The spiritual journey is the waking up of ourselves to ourselves so that we become transparent to all of our conditioning. When we do we recognize ourselves as essence before any of the meanings and thus see that when we look out. This is the end of projection and the birth of mirroring. Some might say we finally see reality, our true self, love, or our primordial nature. The name is not important. The direct experience of it is.
Dr. Amanda Love, Spiritual Coach