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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Projection?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Projection

Believing Your Projections

To the ego, freedom means being able to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. Because this isn’t often possible, you come to see the universe as constraining you and limiting your freedom. But from the perspective of Holy Freedom, freedom is wanting whatever the universe wants. When you are aligned with the universe, what you want and what is happening are the same thing. This is true freedom. This is why the Idea of Holy Freedom is fundamental to the methodology of the Diamond Approach, in which a basic part of the practice is to be present with whatever happens to be your state. If you react to it, interfere with it, or try to change it, then you can’t see it objectively but only through the screen of your projections. If you don’t see your condition or the situation in its natural state, you will continue believing your projections about it and won’t be able to penetrate its true nature. If you don’t see its true nature, it won’t unfold and expose itself as the Holy Truth that everything is. Fundamental to our understanding is that while you might have projections upon whatever you are experiencing initially, if you don’t interfere with it, the tendency of the universe is to reveal its own nature through your experience. This, of course, requires basic trust.

Facets of Unity, pg. 136

Our Projections Determine Many of Our Actions

Our projections, of course, determine many of our actions, our feelings, and even our life plans. Paranoia is one of the most well known forms of projection but projection is very prevalent in other forms. Sometimes you project your fear or your jealousy, so that you won’t have to experience them and admit that you yourself are feeling these things… Projection is actually one of the first defensive mechanisms developed in infantile life. Its basis is what is called the “merged state.” The child is in what is called the symbiotic stage, between the ages of three and nine months, when he does not experience himself as separate from his environment. He feels that he and his mother are one thing… However, that early merged state, that state of being the same as the other, remains as the basis of projection. So if you feel angry, you may feel someone else is feeling angry. The child is feeling angry and he doesn’t know his mother is different from him, so he thinks she is feeling angry, or vice versa. So we see how this is the deepest source of projection.

Positive Projection Happens When You Become More Aware of Your True Nature

Positive projection happens when you start becoming more and more aware of your true nature, your Essence. Before this happens, what you know best is your personality, and that’s what you project. After a while, when you start to experience your value, your love, your essential self, your compassion, you begin to project these qualities. All kinds of issues will arise from the unconscious then, barriers against experiencing Essence, which will make you want to project it outside. It’s the same process as falling in love, except that now the expansion is coming from the intentional work.

Projection of the Superego

The negative experiences with the mother gradually coalesce; become one big thing, which is isolated from the positive part of experience. This forms the basis for the superego, for the negative judgments of the superego. You project your superego outside because in the beginning there was no difference then. So now when you experience the negatively merged state, you cannot separate what is real inside from what is real outside, and your preference is to believe it's outside. So you can see that in order to work through your superego you must get all the way down to that pre-verbal, chaotic, hellish, negatively merged state. As you experience this fully, without defending against it, certain essential states will arise to move you through the negativity and the hell.

Projections of the Positive and Negative Merged States

Just as the negative merged state is the basis for the projection of negative aspects of ourselves, the positive merged state forms a basis for our projection of the positive aspects of ourselves. And what is that that but our Essence? The negative merged state is the basis of our personality. It is our personality. The positive merged state is our Essence. However, because of the developmental state of symbiosis, the “dual unity” that happens in childhood, we associate our Essence – along with all the positive qualities of love, value, fulfillment, satisfaction – with the merged state, the positive merging with another. There starts the big search: the search for the perfect merged state with the good mother who will give you love, value, approval, pleasure, satisfaction.

Three Varieties of Projection

Projection, displacing something somewhere else, seeing something that doesn’t exist, is obviously for the purpose of defense. There are generally three levels, or three varieties of projection in relation to the merged state, depending on the depth at which you’re operating, or at which the unconscious is functioning. The first level is the level of the actual merged state itself, when you can’t tell whether it’s you or somebody else, when you experience one big unity, which is all wonderful. That’s when the actual merged state itself is activated. The other person might be participating with you, or might not be. In the merged state, it doesn’t matter… The second aspect, which comes a little bit later with more differentiation and separation, is called projective identification. Instead of being completely merged, what you do in this case is project an aspect of yourself, such as value, onto somebody else. You see that value in someone else and then you want to merge with it. You project it and then you identify with it… The third level is just projection: you don’t identify with the projection, you just project something… you do this whether what is projected is something you want or don’t want.

We Plaster Our Projections Over All Manifest Forms

Recognizing the nonbeingness of Being does not lead to the disappearance of the individual soul; it leads to understanding that the individual soul doesn’t exist the way we usually think it does. Then we discover that emptiness of Being is true not just about the individual self, but also about the perceptions of the individual self. In other words, all that we perceive can be liberated from the ordinary conception of existence as a solid something that is really there. We plaster our beliefs and our projections over all manifest forms, all the world, all the universe that we see. And when the world is free from our ideas about it, we see it in its beingness, we see that everything is a manifestation of beingness in its purity and presence and luminosity. The thoroughgoing understanding of emptiness reveals not only that the world and the individual soul are manifestations of Being, but also that the manifestation of Being doesn’t have the kind of existence we attribute to it. Being, in all its forms, is in complete eternal, inseparable embrace with its eternal partner, nonbeing. When we recognize the intrinsic emptiness of everything, then the beingness recognizes not only that the world is a manifestation of Being, but also that the world is a manifestation of emptiness. We recognize that Being is the radiance of emptiness, and that this radiance has variegated colors and multifaceted forms that we experience as the world and as all the content of our experience.

We Tend to See What is Best in Us Outside

We see here that we not only project our superego outside, we also project our Essence. We tend to see what is best in us outside. That doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but it usually happens when you are in love… People fall in love because if they begin to expand, they start to get close to their Essence; then the unconscious, the personality, gets in the way. It is threatened by getting close to Essence. So you project your Essence outside onto someone else and fall in love with it. What this means is that you still cannot tolerate your own expansion. If you recall back to when you fell in love, it was at the height of some time of feeling good, of expansion. Suddenly, the right person shows up, and you’re in love.

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