We human beings are very complex. In spite of many attempts otherwise, how we think and feel seldom follows a completely rational course. It doesn’t work to tell ourselves how we are supposed to feel. We feel what we feel. We may try to override those emotions, but it only drives them deeper. The more we drive them beneath the surface, the more they fester and distort, only to surface again in another way, at another time.
No matter how well you know someone, you don’t really know them fully. In fact, they don’t really know themselves totally. What we consider to be our perceptions, are essentially just our projections. Our belief in how we function psychologically (emotionally and intellectually) determines how we perceive (project) upon others. Whatever your intentions are, how those intentions are viewed by others is usually quite different.
People respond to us based on their projections upon us, and we do the same to them. This dynamic colors the course of our lives. And if we’re not careful, it will determine the nature of our lives. What is most important is that we strive to stay in touch with the purity and sincerity of our deepest motivations, our truest intentions. Then through the stormy sea of projection, we strive to remain on course. All we can do is choose our objectives and goals, wisely move forward the best we can, and see what happens.
It is important to have the willingness and courage to reflect upon and explore our own inner dynamic. Rest assured, it is far more complex than we are willing to accept. This inner exploration will facilitate the unraveling of our own inner convolutions, complexities, and distortions. This path is, in and of itself, the process of evolution and personal development. It has been referred to as “the hero’s journey”.
If we choose them wisely, there are other people who can assist us along the way. However, it is imperative that we never forget that they are speaking from the perspective of their own projections. Yet, we do well to avoid ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’ by completely rejecting their viewpoint. This is particularly true if a number of people whom you respect are all mentioning or suggesting the same thing.
The key word here is “respect.” It’s one thing to like or love another person; it’s quite another to truly respect the depth of insight they offer. It’s best not to seek out people who will collude with our current perspective, but instead find those who can assist us to see more clearly, beyond the horizon of those perspectives. In other words, seek out the wise.
The wise will not always say what we want to hear or what we believe. Yet, if we reflect and listen carefully, we will be able to find within ourselves whatever truth lies behind their words, beyond their projections. Also, do not get lost in the words. Words never fully grasp the meaning they are striving to articulate. Allow plenty of space around the words in order to get in touch with their deeper meaning. After careful reflection, know that even the wise can be mistaken. We just do our best to make sure that it is not our distortions rejecting their words, but our own inner wisdom that lies deeper than projection.
Life is indeed funny. Deep inside, we all know truth. Yet, it is buried beneath the complexities and convolutions of our own psyches. We strive to access that inner truth throughout our lives. We understand that everything in our lives acts as a mirror, reflecting that inner truth back at us. Yet, that mirror can be shrouded in a foggy mire of projection and distortion. As we watch and listen carefully, we will find truth deep within ourselves that is reflected back to us throughout our lives.
Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. Dr. Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a ‘bridge’ between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Michael Mamas has been teaching for 35 years and writes on a variety of subjects on his blogs: MichaelMamas.net and RationalSpirituality.org.