A client came to see me because he was disturbed by activities he witnessed in the world around him. Not every time, but often when he looked into other peoples’ windows he perceived certain activities going on inside their homes. The activities upset him and he reacted to the experiences in his everyday life. As we talked about his experiences, I perceived the energies he was addressing. I saw they were located totally within his own field. The perceptions existed in his own energy field, but not in the physical world beyond him. As he considered this possibility, he realized it was true. Like an on-going hallucination, these perceived activities had existed throughout his adult life. When he looked out through his own field at the world beyond him, like looking through a filter, he ‘saw’ things that weren’t actually there. They were projections of some aspect of his inner reality onto the outer physical reality. It turned out he had had a traumatic experience as a child that involved witnessing something in a neighbor’s home. Many years later, as a grown adult, he couldn’t tell the inner reality from the outer one.
The most interesting thing about this odd story is that it is just a little bit beyond the way we all live all the time. We all have specific interpretations of things in the world, opinions or fears that we overlay onto those objects in the outer world. These are actual ‘projections’, like in a movie projector. The internal perceptions are overlaid overtop of the physical objects. For example, I used to have the most wonderful dog. He was a shepard- collie cross, as lovable and gentle as you could imagine. We walked in the park every day. He would happily wag his tail at the passers-by. Most people liked him, stopping to chat, often about him. But sometimes the passers-by were afraid of dogs. These people would shy away from him, skirting around us with fear in their eyes. If he looked their direction and moved towards them at all, they would quickly move further away, sometimes making small shrieking sounds. I knew he had never bitten anyone in his life and would never hurt any of them. But when they saw a dog, their projection of aggression and danger was like a filter, overlaid onto the image of this dog. The ‘projection’ onto him changed his true nature in their worlds. Their projection could make the outer, physical world conform to the qualities of their inner worlds. The only difference between these projections of danger and the man’s projection of activities was that an actual dog existed for them to project onto.
From this starting point we can easily move to observing peoples’ projections onto racial minorities, children, poor people, specific individuals, etc. What exists in our inner world is what we see when we look at the outer world. In this way, it is possible to realize that everything we perceive and believe about the outer world is actually only a reflection of our own internal reality. There is no objective reality. Everything is subjective.