Another mass shooting has us again asking “why?”…
But we’re not just trying to understand the actions of one person; we’re trying to understand ourselves. Understand not just his violence, but the violence we do to each other.
Here’s how I answer the question of motive for myself:
As I see it, the recent tragedy in Las Vegas is the result of shadow projection. An extreme example, yes. But this world is filled with extreme examples.
If I reject the negative aspects of my shadow—if I refuse to see them—I’m likely to project them onto others–
—onto that person or that group or that nation. Even onto a crowd enjoying a concert on a Sunday night. The problem isn’t in me—it’s in them. They’re the enemy.*
The natural response then is to try to destroy them.
But usually we don’t shoot. At least, not in the literal sense. Instead of one major attack, we stage many many minor attacks. We spread the hurt around. Often, without even realizing we’re trying to wound. Speaking for myself, I may not realize my misdemeanors until years later.
Since such attacks don’t solve the problem—don’t kill the enemy within—why do I continue? The projections of others are often so obvious to me. So why can’t I see my own?
Well, to see the projection is to see the inner aspect I’m projecting. To accept that negative aspect is hard on the ego. It’s easier to walk around like a zombie. Or else, lie to myself.
Fortunately, my dreams will show me what that lying zombie doesn’t wish to see…
My dreams continually show me the negative aspects of my shadow. What I’ve blindly rejected—and have probably projected. My dreams show me the enemy within.
That hostile force creeping up on me in a dream?—that’s the enemy who is me. That’s the enemy I must confront, must know, in order to change.
Yes, these truths can be hard pills to swallow…
…but I ease that pain by reminding myself:
Every negative aspect has a positive side. By becoming aware of an aspect, I can then flip it to the positive.
So, after accepting a negative aspect do I then stop projecting it? Well, yes and no. Awareness gained must be maintained.
This is the good fight.
(* We also project our positive shadow—and that can be harmful as well.)
© 2017, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry blog