#474 Chuck’s Place: Projective Fire

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences!

My intention this week is to continue the explanation and exploration of the psychological dynamic of projection. My rational syllabus had been to broaden into the non-defensive dimension of projection, where the psyche shows us many parts of our unknown selves as they are reflected upon the screen of our relationships in the world. However, my appreciation of the non-rational phenomena I encounter, in this case a preponderance of synchronistic material, prompts me to focus instead on grappling with the power of projection, which can be so disruptive to our lives. No amount of intellectual knowledge can stem the energetic impact of projection, which ranges emotionally from bliss to terror. We must have tools to reign ourselves in from the dangers of such extremes. Furthermore, our ability to process or gain perspective on what is happening to us when we are caught in a projection is undermined, and of little value, while under the influence of such emotional intensity.

A couple of days ago, I heard a report on NPR about the current state of scientific knowledge regarding the value of releasing anger. With John Lennon’s primal screams in the background, this piece went on to challenge the value of cathartic emotional release. Evidence seems to suggest that the effects of cathartic release are temporary and, in fact, feed the fire, leading to greater emotional intensity; it is a bottomless pit. Despite my utter love for John Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band album, (my favorite album of all time!) I agree, in general, with this research. While it is necessary to empower an individual to have and express feelings that may have been repressed completely, or overly controlled, throughout life, release of feelings is not an end in itself. Release does not guarantee resolution. Resolution requires resolved detachment, as opposed to holding onto justified anger, for instance, which requires ongoing maintenance and essentially keeps one caught in victimhood, remaining oppressed. This continued attachment can also lead to opening the door to archetypal energies and states of possession, which I have explored elsewhere, in Message #456, Healing or Possession.

If the ego becomes debilitated by emotional intensity there can be no mastery and resolution. So, rule number one, in gaining such mastery and resolution over projective energy, is: stay an adult; maintain the integrity of the mature ego. Do not allow the intensity of emotions, such as love, rage, jealousy, or fear, to unseat your ability to remain in adult control of your self. If emotion is going to overwhelm your adult self, it is not time to release the emotion. Of course, the next question is, what to do with intense emotion that is welling up inside?

Intense emotion is fire! If you add wood to the fire it intensifies. Rule number two is, shut down the mind; do not add fuel to the fire! Thoughts provide plenty of dry kindling for a fire; firing rapidly they intensify an emotion. Thoughts might also add pressure to engage in behaviors to uncover more “evidence” of wrongdoing, which can, indeed, further fuel the fire. Allowing intuition, in its negative form, to run amok, like in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Suspicion, where projection is allowed to build a story that is totally untrue leading to dire circumstances, provides more fuel for the fire. So, how do we shut this process down?

Rule number three: don’t attach! This is the mantra to say, incessantly, to the self. It states an intent and attracts the energy of intent to support it. Inwardly, it draws a powerful circle around the self, shutting down the projector, keeping the energy of the self, and all its parts, safely contained within. Repeating the mantra, don’t attach, don’t attach, don’t attach, takes attention away from projected objects, and focuses, instead, on finding inner balance. It promotes letting go of thought, a major culprit in projective fire. There will come a time, a time of calm, when meaning and clarity can be applied to the time of intense emotional projective fire. That time is not now, during the encounter with intense emotion. Now is the time of turning inward, holding onto the full integrity of the self, and bringing all of the projected parts home, which removes the threat of loss of self. With this action we can restore balance and calm within.

I find myself turning to the active meditative exercise Jeanne proposed for this weekend, as an excellent tool for dousing the projective fire, in Message #473. Walk through your day with awareness focused on your own liquid gold in a bowl in your hands. Keep your focus steady; maintain calm and balance. You don’t want to spill one drop of your precious gold. Don’t allow your mind to wander, or the bowl might tip. Keep returning your attention to your golden focus. All that is precious, all that is you, is safely contained and balanced in your steady hands.

As always, I am open to discussion or comment. Should anyone wish to write, I can be reached via email at: chuck@riverwalkerpress.com

Until we meet again,