Finally, they cornered me so that I couldn't go in any direction. They folded their arms and laughed meanly – like the evil characters in Disney movies. Then one at a time, looking into my eyes, they each said: “I am you.” As they spoke they disintegrated into a million particles which flew in my direction in a current and my body absorbed them through my head.
A feeling of absolute terror took over me -- ten times worse than the fear I had experienced when I was being chased in the parking lot. Though I had been fearful as I was chased, at least I felt innocent. I was an innocent victim and they were the evil perpetrators. Now I had no one to blame but myself for the situation. The guilt that I had unconsciously projected outward in the form of evil motorcycle riders, I now experienced within me. The feeling was so awful it woke me up abruptly. As I write this, about fifteen minutes later, I still feel my heart beating against my chest.
After a few minutes of sheer terror, and of my asking “What is this for?” over and over again, I understood why we, as separated beings who identify with the ego, must project our guilt and fear. The Course explains that guilt had its origin in the belief that we chose to separate from God. As One with Him, we had everything, but we chose to give up that perfect existence for a life separate from Him. Though we don't have any memory of having made this choice, the guilt that we experienced is still with us. We must project it outward because we can't live consciously aware of it. The psychological pain, as I experienced briefly as a result of my dream, would be too much to bear.
By unconsciously projecting our guilt, we are able to live the illusion of being innocent victims subject to external forces beyond our control. We thrive on blaming others for everything that goes wrong in our lives. When we are unhappy we believe that external circumstances like the economy, political situation, our spouse, our children, our job, or our financial situation, are the cause of it. Like the Course says, not once do we think guilt has anything to do with it.
Our experience of the world is so real that we can't conceive of it being our own creation. We have no memory of our choice to project so we perceive our projections as external to us. The Course refers to the world as "an outside picture of an inward condition." Our guilt shows up in the world in the form of whatever causes us distress: two mean guys in a parking lot, a driver cutting us off in the freeway, a friend treating us unjustly, a repairman ripping us off, an employer taking advantage of us, a corrupt politician, a religious fundamentalist, etc. etc. etc.
As long as we look at the world through the eyes of the ego, we go about our day unconsciously looking for situations in which we can re-affirm ourselves as separated beings. We justify our anger, our moods, our attacks by always finding some external person or reason to blame. As long as we focus our efforts on all that appears to be external, we are prisoners in the ego's thought system with no chance of release.
All I'm asked to do is shift my perception from the ego to Love. I invite the Christ to look at the situation with me. He reminds me that all the anxiety and fear I'm feeling does not come from outside, it comes from my choice for the ego. In reality, I am safe and at One with Him.