Saturday, May 16, 2009

ACIM Perspective on Leadership and Mass Projections

A change of pace. I don't usually deal with ACIM here, but I'm making an exception for these takes on the theme of Leadership:

“If you make me your authority,”
said the Master to a starry-eyed disciple,
“you harm yourself because you refuse to see things for yourself.”

“And you harm me too,
because you refuse to see me
as I am.” 

This is a phenomenon all leaders recognize—the pain of not being seen as they truly are. They become a projection screen for resentment of the despised traits that followers don’t want to acknowledge in themselves; and for the qualities of grace and divinity that followers also don’t want to claim in themselves.

I cringe to think of how it would feel to be President. Half the country hates him with a hot vitriol and sends curses his way regularly. No doubt he receives them and feels the effects, whether or not he reads the newspapers. The other half thinks of him as far better than he is, a paragon of courage, compassion, and vision that has never been evident in his personality in the past. Those projected qualities are the very qualities that have been disowned by those who want their leader to be what they, themselves, dare not to be.

Either way, the President is in an unenviable position.  Few—and I include myself in this—see him as he truly is, a flawed human with a fearful ego and a Divine and perfect Self, doing the best he can under the burden of the constant heavy storm of the projections of the world.

Leaders as projection screens can be useful for us, if we’re willing to do the work of taking back our projections and looking at them as disowned parts of ourselves. Right now the country is so polarized that we probably only have to take back our negative projections or our positive projections—in the case of the President, we probably don’t have both. It’s not a pretty picture. 

If you don’t see the President as courageous, compassionate, and visionary, then think of someone you do see that way. That person is who you are, or who you are becoming. You wouldn’t see those qualities if they didn’t already exist in you. Is it possible you can acknowledge those qualities in yourself, and give the admired person a break? Admiration is a heavy burden.

“Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls.” (T-#573/617-29.VII.1)

Whoever we insist on putting on a pedestal will inevitably fall off. Then we weep, we feel betrayed, we feel abandoned, we lose faith in our ability to judge who is worthy of a pedestal. You are worthy of a pedestal! Not the kind that puts you above others for them to worship and/or hate, but the pedestal you have always previously reserved for those you see as better, more capable, more spiritual, more accomplished, more successful…in other words, “the one you gave the leader’s role.”

“You hate the one you gave the leader’s role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise, and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for, and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death, because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.” (T-#603/649-31.II.4)

Perhaps it’s time each of us took back the leader’s role and let our brothers and sisters fulfill the function given to them by God, rather than the one we give them. Perhaps it’s time we accept our true function.

Salvation is my only function here. 

My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors I have made. For thus am I released from them with all the world.

(ACIM W- #204/208-pI.rIII.115.1)

( I don't remember where I found this. It was off the internet, around 2004, probably off an ACIM site. If you know, contact me so I can make proper attribution.)

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