I began my public education career as a middle grades science teacher almost twelve years ago. I started with vis-a-vis wet erase markers and an overhead projector.
Now that I’ve dated myself a bit, there is no difference in the technological advances of today. Classrooms have become equipped with Promethean ActivBoards or SMART Boards (and other competitor variations). The concept remains the same. The content that is on the transparency or in the computer is projected from one place to another. Participants study the material and prepare for an assessment of some sort. What is in is sent out, what is sent out is taken in.
Let’s apply this concept to ourselves. What is in is sent out. Svadhyaya asks us to take time to self-study, self-reflect. Math, science, language arts, social studies and school in general is relatively straight forward in what is inside. We can open a textbook and have a pretty idea the content that is inside. We are quite the amazing variable. We can look at each other and make inferences about the past, the present and the future. However, we will never know a complete story. We will never know each other completely.
What is in is sent out. Therefore, we are asked to look inward and see our content, our character. If we see hate and anger and bitterness in the world, then are those a part of us? Where did they come from? Why are they there? If we see love and beauty and joy in the world, then are those a part of us? Where did they come from? Why are they there? The projections that we see in our world cannot come from the outside in. They come from the inside out. Before we move quickly to judge the actions of the world around us, let’s first ask … what is inside us?
Svadhyaya – Projections
Do this experiment now: without thinking, quickly write down the first five things that come to your mind that describe the world as you see it.
Every comment that you have used to describe the world will tell you more about yourself than about the world. Every comment you make about the world, about another person, about an event, about life, is a projection of yourself and a clue to your interior landscape. The world is your autobiography.
The world and others simply reflect back to us what we are seeing, not what is there. It is as if wherever we look, there are only mirrors that show us pictures of ourselves.
“We cannot love or hate something about another person or the world unless it is already inside of us first.”
The world changes to fit the story you are telling.
As you begin to steadfastly pay attention to what you are saying to yourself about the moment, the other person, yourself, and life, you will get clues about the “boxes” you have wrapped yourself in that create you own little universe. All of these utterances are projections of the parts of yourself you love, don’t love, can see, don’t want to see, or accept or can’t yet accept.
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