Shadow Figures: Seeing the Past in the Present/Taking Back Projections

Do you ever catch yourself responding to someone in your life in a way that you responded to someone from your past that you feel and think hurt you or deprived you of love and appreciation in some way? We all do, right? Why is that?

 

We tend to bury our pain and feelings of rejection experienced in the past or in childhood (this tends to receive a lot of flack). Then, we make people in the present pay for those buried emotions and even the grievances that form as a result of them. Shadow figures are talked about in Chapter 13 of A Course in Miracles, but not so openly in Course “Circles” or outside of psychological contexts. But this topic should be a more prominent source of discussion in my opinion.

 

I know that, in hindsight, I have seen myself being punitive or reactive towards people in my life in the present in situations where I really am responding to someone or something that person from the past said or did that I interpreted as harmful or hurtful. Again, we do this sort of thing all the time and are mostly unconscious of this behavior.

 

We may respond to our spouse or partner in a reactive way when we are really “telling off” a past lover, friend, or even parent. We need to become more conscious of when and how we project these images onto people in our life now. Much could be said about this topic, for it is a common problem. But really, how do we avoid making our friends, acquaintances, and loved ones “pay” for what we perceived as hurts or having been wronged in some way in the past?

 

We need to see everyone as guiltless. And we need to release the past. That includes recognizing grievances and pain we have stored in our minds and bodies. If we see everyone as innocent and as a Son or Daughter of the Divine, we see past “errors” or “attacks” we perceived had the ability to hurt us in some way. What we need to do is adopt a way of seeing and believing that we are invulnerable and cannot be hurt, not by people or occurrences from the past, not now, and not in the future either. The solution is simple, but seems often an insurmountable feat to try to accomplish.

 

We need to forgive. Everything. Always. That starts with recognition of how we keep allow ourselves to be imprisoned by people from our past, and see just how much we let that carry over into the present. It certainly isn’t going to be easy. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes we are going to blow up on someone we love, here and now, and it may take doing that to realize we are still chained to the past. Love and forgiveness. Practice it. Do it. Keep doing it. Free yourself and others. Do it now. And ask the honest questions before you feel like saying something volatile. Such as, what am I really feeling and am I extending love or acting out of fear of reliving the past in some way? Recognize. Release. Realize. Let go. Surrender to the now. And extend love consistently. You can’t go wrong. And finally, take back your projections you have superimposed onto people in the present, whether you know them well, or just have a casual encounter with them on the street or at work. It’s worth it to become more aware of how we respond to others. It is just one key to unlock the door to contentment and happiness as well as peace and acceptance too.