ACIM II. The Alternative to Projection P 1, 2. Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation.
ACIM Chapter 6. II.The Alternative to Projection P 1, 2
II. The Alternative to Projection P 1
*1 Any split in mind must involve a rejection of part of it, and this is the belief in separation. The wholeness of God, which is His peace, cannot be appreciated except by a whole mind that recognizes the wholeness of God’s creation. By this recognition it knows its Creator. Exclusion and separation are synonymous, as are separation and dissociation. We have said before that the separation was and is dissociation, and that once it occurs projection becomes its main defense, or the device that keeps it going. The reason, however, may not be so obvious as you think.
Here is what I think when I read this paragraph. I began with a mind that knew only truth, only wholeness. There was Love, and there was the extension of Love. This is all that was in the mind, and so there was perfect peace. Then there was the thought of something else, and the mind was split between Love and the idea of something not Love.
To explore the other idea, the thought of Love had to be dissociated.
One cannot know unity and know separation in the same instant. To know separation and have that experience, it was necessary to exclude oneness. The moment we remember oneness, we lose the idea of separation. The idea of separation is not natural to us, so we needed a device to sustain it, and so we made projection.
Envisioning how we came to this place of a split mind and how we keep it going, it is easy to see how we reverse it. We undo the ego (separation thinking) by losing interest in separation and placing our minds on only the truth. We stop projecting, and the thought system of separation must collapse. In A Course in Miracles, we learn what is going on and how to recognize it as it is happening. We learn that there is an alternative and that the alternative is preferable.
Then we start to back out of the separation idea a step at a time, but that can be accelerated when we decide that we want nothing else but the truth. The actual change in mind is that simple: we choose again. All the work involved is to bring us to the place where we want nothing but God. This explanation may be too simplistic, and it may not be exactly the way it happened, but it is a helpful explanation that I was led to.
II. The Alternative to Projection, P 2
2 What you project you disown, and therefore do not believe is yours. You are excluding yourself by the very judgment that you are different from the one on whom you project. Since you have also judged against what you project, you continue to attack it because you continue to keep it separated. By doing this unconsciously, you try to keep the fact that you attacked yourself out of awareness, and thus imagine that you have made yourself safe.
One of the ego’s most cherished “gifts” is judgment. While I listen to the ego, I believe I not only can judge but that I should judge. The ego says it is not only my right but also my responsibility. Putting aside for the moment how unqualified the ego is to judge, let’s look at what happens once I judge.
I have been trying on the idea that my mind is healed and whole right now. Right now! That there is nothing else for me to do, and that, really, there never was anything for me to do. I am already what I seek, and everything I have been judging against was just an illusion. And who needs to fix an illusion? The ego has a lot of judgment about that. In fact, the ego is jumping up and down in judgment!
I’ve been studying the ego for over 40 years, so I know the ego when I hear it.
I know all its tricks and all its arguments. I know it so well that I am sick to death of it. But until the last few years, I have never seriously considered peeling it off of me. Now that I have decided that I am through with it and that I won’t let it lead me to death before I can let it go, the ego is pulling out all the stops to keep me glued to its tired old stories.
The ego can only exist in the dark. If it is brought into the light, it loses its glamour. It’s like a disco I used to work at that looked exciting and even beautiful at night, with all the lights dimmed and the globe in the center of the dance floor flashing on and off, confusing the eye. But when the place closed, all the customers were gone, and the lights came on, it was exposed for the shabby place it really was.
So, this is what I am doing with the ego. I am turning on the lights. I am exposing it for what it is. In its desperation to keep me in the blame game, the ego has been bringing out all the old guilt scenarios it can find in my mind, the ones I claimed to have forgiven and left behind. It is bringing them out in the hopes that some of them still have some charge.
Here is an example.
I notice a memory of my daughter and I arguing. She is a young woman and is in trouble. I have no idea how to help her or even if I can. This is all that is happening. My daughter is having a moment in her story, and I am supposed to play a part. As I review this memory, the ego gave me. I feel compassion for my daughter and compassion for the clueless and frightened mother I was at that time.
This is not the reaction the ego was hoping for. The reaction it wants is shame and guilt. It wants to reinforce separation and the need for it. And this is exactly the reaction it got when this incident occurred. At that time, my ego told me I must judge this situation and act appropriately according to the judgment, and not knowing any better, this is what I did.
This is how the ego wants it to work.
As that young mother, I had no idea how to help my daughter. When I looked at her, I felt helpless, and I hated that feeling. I thought helpless meant that I really was the worst mother ever. I thought of all the mistakes I had made as a mom and how that made me guilty for the problems she was having now. It was awful, excruciating, really, and I didn’t think I could stand it so I threw it out of me onto her, and then I wiped my memory of that act. There, it is all her fault. This is projection.
Then, nanoseconds later, I looked at my daughter, and I saw that while I was very afraid for her, she seemed very calm, even unconcerned. I judged her for this, deciding that she was so immature she didn’t even get how much trouble she was in. She was so selfish and self-centered that she didn’t care what she was doing to me or what it would cost me. I became very angry with her and said something harsh to wake her up to her behavior and to make her want to change. I was desperate, and then afterward, I was ashamed.
In my judgment, I saw her as wrong and selfish. I made her separate from me. This act of making separate (because I believed I could really do that) caused me to feel guilty, though I didn’t consciously understand that making separate always increases guilt. The increasing guilt caused fear and caused my anger to escalate, and my projection onto my daughter escalated as well. I saw the whole thing as a selfish act by a self-centered girl.
My thoughts went like this.
“She doesn’t care for me at all and only wants to use me to get her out of trouble again. I should just leave her to stew in her own juices.” In my desperation to avoid blame, I projected the blame on her, and that act made me feel even worse. In trying to defend myself, to keep myself safe, I attacked her, and in attacking her, I attacked myself.
This is the ego’s idea of a gift. No, thank you. I don’t want judgment, and without judgment, there is no guilt, and without guilt, there is no use for projection. So here I am looking at this memory, and the ego is having a tantrum because I think nothing really happened here. My daughter was having a moment of drama in her story. I had my own moment.
It was just a story, an illusion, a dream. If it had happened at night, and I had awoken with the memory of it, I would not have tried to fix it. The story of my daughter in trouble and me not being all that helpful is a dream that is happening in the day. Why would I want to fix a dream? My daughter and I are innocent dreamers, healed and whole and perfect—nothing to fix.
To read Pathways of Light’s insights on this section, CLICK HERE.