Existence is beyond and includes any abstractions we have about it, which means that there is an immense freedom in how we view existence – as if we didn’t know that.
Any perspective has some validity to it. And any perspective is limited.
And as what we are looking at is one seamless whole (including and embracing looker and looked at), we can find connections between any one aspect and any other aspect of existence.
One way of looking at the process of our lives is through the lens of projections.
- Limited identity
From the seamless whole of what is – beyond and including all polarities – we add an overlay of abstractions, including of a particular limited identity. We may see ourselves exclusively as a human being (leaving out the “ground” of space & awareness). And we may see ourselves as only having a limited set of the wide range of human qualities. We are this and not that.
- Identity as filter
This limited identity filters experiences, behaviors and situations. We try to hold onto experiences which fit the identity and push other experiences away. We try to engage in activities which conform with the identity, and not engage in those which don’t. We constantly compare the current situation with our identity to see what may be necessary to hold onto what fits, push what does not fit away, and see if we need to protect our limited identity in any other way.
And as the experiences, behaviors and situations manifest without much consideration to our conscious identity, we find ourselves in constant struggle and misalignment with what is.
When we see a quality “out there” – in other humans, creatures, creatures of fiction or imagination, landscapes, the universe – we again compare it with our conscious identity. If we recognize it and it is part of our identity, we experience empathy. If it is not part of our identity and we see it as desirable, we then experience an attraction towards it and want it in our life. If it is not part of our identity and we see it as undesirable, we experience aversion towards it and want separation between us and it. In this case, it can lead to dehumanization (in a wide sense) of the carrier of the quality. We can justify just about any action against it, because it is “other”.
Working with projections
There are many ways to work with projections, although the general guidelines are the same.
- What I see in the outer world is also here in the inner. The qualities and characteristics I see in the world beyond my human self is also here in my human self.
- Whenever something comes up as an “other” or a disturbance, or when attractions or repulsions come up, it is a sign of blind projections. Of something I see out there but am not familiar with in myself, or have not come to terms with in myself.
Techniques for working with projections includes the Byron Katie inquiry process, visualizing the other as myself (with physical features and so on) and the 3-2-1 process. Along with either of these is the most simple way of working with projections, to recognize how, where and when these qualities are experienced and expressed in my own life.
Effects of working with projections
My identity gradually expands and becomes more inclusive and porous. It becomes more deeply transdual, embracing any and all polarities.
I become more familiar and comfortable with any quality, whether it comes up in the inner or outer world. And as I become more familiar with them, I also find ways to relate to them in a more life-centered way.
My tool-box of human qualities expands. I have a greater repertoire for what to bring out in various situations. There is more fluidity and less stuckness in particular patterns.
As I see in myself what I see in others, my empathy is awakened and deepens. I can see myself in her/his situation, and the other way around. She or he is “us”, not absolutely “other”. We are all in the same boat.
- Widening circles
My circles of care, compassion and concern widen to eventually include all beings and all of existence. There is no absolute “other” anymore, only “us”.
- Egocentric to worldcentric
As my circles of concern widens, my general view goes from ego-centric, via group-centric to deepening world-centric.
- Dual & transdual
My view goes from dual to deepening transdual. It goes from seeing near absolute divisions within polarities to seeing the polarity as a whole.
- Resistance to what is
What is is beyond and includes all polarities. If our view is more narrow than that, we tend to brush up against what is in an uncomfortable way. Our view is one way, what is another, and this brings up suffering in various ways.
- Field & ground
As our view becomes more deeply transdual, we see the whole of our human self as well as the whole of the world of form. This brings an awakening as space & awareness, as the “ground” in which all form arises. This ground is distinct from – and “empty” of – any identity.
- Big Mind
Knowing ourselves as our human self and the ground, we find ourselves as Big Mind – beyond and embracing any and all polarities. We now find ourselves with no particular identity, and any identity.
- Rigidity & fluidity
From the rigidity of a limited identity we find a new fluidity. We find ourselves with no particular identity, free to manifest as/through any temporary identity.
- Aligned with what is
As our view deepens into the transdual, beyond and embracing all polarities, we find ourselves more aligned with what is. There is less sense of a struggle in daily life, and more sense of ease.
Human Self & Big Mind
As we awaken as Big Mind, we see that working with projections occurs at two levels.
At the level of our human self, we see that any quality out there – beyond our human self, is also in here – in my human self. This process leads to a deepening transdual view, and eventually to glimpses of and an awakening as Big Mind.
And as Big Mind, everything that arises is I. There is no separation. This helps us recognize and integrate projections at the human level as well. It is already me as Big Mind, which makes it easier to also see it as in me as my human self.
The two go hand in hand and are mutually enhancing.