seeing the real enemy

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

About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and storyteller...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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