Working with projections can be seen as a the universal “cure all”.
It helps us heal, by dislodging us from stuck (victim) positions. It helps us mature, by enriching our view and stories about ourselves and the world. It widens our circle of care, concern, and compassion, and circle of “us”. It reveals the world – the me, I and the wider world – as a seamless whole.
And it helps us notice what we really are.
One of the ways it helps us notice what we are is through projections of the me and I.
We project the “me” out on others. They are humans in the world with certain characteristics, roles, activities and so on.
And we project the “I” out on others as well. There is an “I” there somehow operating that human being. Pulling the strings. Making choices. Acting. Observing. Experiencing.
So how do I work with these projections?
I recognize the “me” out there in others. It is a human being with roles and identities. When I look here, I find the same. I find images of a human being, organizing my other sensory impressions interpreted as a body with movement, appearance, sounds, and so on. These are images overlaid on the other sense fields. And they are also images of roles, identities, memories, a chain of remembered past “me”s and imagined future “me”s, and so on. All of these are images. They happen in immediacy and within my own world of images.
I recognize the “I” out there in others. A doer, choser, observer, witness. When I look here, I find these too as images. There is an image of a doer and of an observer. They happen within my own world of images.
When the images of “me” are recognized as images, happening in immedicary within my own world of images, there is a softening – and perhaps even release – of identification with these images. Yes, there is this role, this identity, this age and gender, and so on. And yet, they are images, roles, identities. They are objects in awareness, not what “I” really am. This gives me a freedom around these images. They become useful tools to function and live in the world. When I identify with them, they become a matter of life and death, something to prop up, enhance, and defend. When they are recognized as images, as objects in awareness, they are held more lightly. There is a sense of more playfulness.
When the images of “I” are recognized as images, much of the same happens. They are recognized as happening here now, within my own world of images. They are recognized as objects of awareness. There is curiosity about what happens when they are identified with, and when this identification softens – and perhaps even release. When they are identified with, I find that there is a sense of being an object in the world, with a limited lifespan, and a precarious situation in general. It is easy to get caught up in fear. There is a sense of an “I” to defend and protect. When they are recognized as objects, as images happening here now, there is a softening of identification. This “I” too is recognized as a useful tool to function in the world. It has practical value. But it is also just a tool, another object in awareness just as anything else. (And really just awareness appearing to itself as an object.)
So in this way, it can be very useful to explore the me and I as projections. It can take me in the direction of healing and maturing as who I am in the world. And it can invite what “I” am to notice itself, perhaps first slightly fuzzy, or more clearly in glimpses, and eventually in a more clear and ongoing way.
Then the question is, how is it to live from a softening or release of identification with the “me”? What does it mean for how I live my everyday life, here now?
And what about the “I”? What happens when there is a softening or release of identification with the “I”? How is it to live from, in everyday life, here now?