Reclaiming Projection: Gevurah in Chesed
[img_assist|nid=204|title=Cactus in the Galapagos by Shai Gluskin|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=500|height=376]
Monday night April 21, 2008 - to Tuesday April 22, is the second day of the omer.
"Projection" is that project of the psyche which creates reality based on one's own experiences, fears, longings, assumptions, values, perspective while under the illusion that external sources supply the datum for what one sees.
Congregants hold projections about the piety or the belief systems of their religious leaders. Parents hold projections about who their children are, spouses about their partners.
Ceremony and symbolism in part gain their power from projection. The High Priest atoning for the community of Israel in the Holy of Holies requires projection from the people.
Projection taken to its extreme is psychosis. And even in its less extreme forms it prevents intimacy between partners (intimacy is about knowing the other, not creating the other). Projection can inhibit productive work collaborations and almost everything that requires back-and-forth communication. It is a barrier to true listening. And projection is thus a barrier to change and growth.
In the cactus image I see a plant living within profound limits (soil/water) yet claiming its own little spot. In the little spot it reflects light, and stands tall, and inspires. [Of course, this whole paragraph is itself a projection. Presumably it's not as dangerous a phenomenon in this creative realm where such a musing is self-evidently a creative act and not an attempt to truly speak for the reality of the cactus.]
On this day of gevurah in chesed may we claim our own spot in the world. May we have the courage to claim what is dark within us and not put it on another. And may we know that we are created in the image of divine, flaws and all.
The act of claiming our own story is gevurah. Knowing that we will still be loved, is chesed, and makes this act of reclaiming projection all the easier.