Thursday, June 28, 2018

What does the term "projection" mean?


Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. And they're off and running. Where exactly?

The pharisees ask Jesus, "So, rabbi, where's this kingdom of yours that you keep talking about? You know, that mythical place where everybody is supposedly happy. If I could get there, will it make me happy too? I might make the effort to make the trip there if only you would give me directions. Help me out here, pal. What's the way? Enlighten me."


The psychological term for it is "projection." Projection is an "if only" state of mind. If only this happened or that happened, if only he would or she would, if only I could, then, then, then, I would be happy.

The little mantra we repeat over and over and over again to ourselves is "(S)he could if only (s)he would, but (s)he won't because (s)he is holding out on me." And we project our wishes, our resentments, our hopes, and our grievances onto the other person or the situations that we THINK will make us happy.

Even worse, we, then, go looking for evidence that our propositions about the other making us happy are right. Oh, how we want to be right; we are sure we are right; so sure we become mad or sad that our expectations go unfulfilled, sometimes even murderously enraged.

The big mistake, of course, is that external people and things can't make us happy. This idea, we come to understand as we spiritually mature, is utter nonsense, an illusion we create in our desire for our own wish fulfillment.

We need to grow up and take responsibility for our own happiness, not project this responsibility onto others.

People are so silly, ridiculous really. Ask most people what it would take to make them happy and they say silly things like "Winning the lottery," and then they giggle because they know how unlikely and how silly this is. What is frightening is when they say it seriously as if they truly believe this would bring them deep, abiding, authentic happiness.

Jesus says clearly that the kingdom of God is among you. Jesus, when asked by the Pharisees where His kingdom is, says, and I paraphrase, "the kingdom of God is not a place. You can't say look here or look there. The kingdom of which I speak is right here, right now, between you. It is in your midst, but you don't see it because you are constantly looking elsewhere." Luke 17:21.

We are looking for love in all the wrong places.

Stop the projection nonsense. Stop the "if only" game you play with yourself and others. Grow up. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Quit projecting that responsibility onto others. Projection is a main tactic on the path of the ego. It doesn't work. It is disappointing and frustrating. Turn on to the path of the spirit and walk with love: love for yourself and your fellow creatures.

The question is not what can they do for me which they aren't doing, but rather, how do I take care of myself and in the process help them and contribute to the well being of the community?


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