The Eternal Quest

MAI's picture

Average: 4 (4 votes)
mirror image.jpg

Mirror, mirror on the wall….

…the soul’s unending quest, to find it’s reflection, without distortion.

As kids, I remember, on our birthdays, my mom, performed a ritual, first thing in the morning, as soon as we woke up.
She’d take us out into the sunlight, bringing with her a thali { stainless steel plate/platter } filled with normal cooking-oil from the kitchen. In the other hand she clutched a fist full of coins, which she transferred into our palms joined together, like an offering.
She would then tell us to look into the oil at our reflection for a minute, and then gently release the palms full of coins into it without taking our eyes of our reflected face.

When I had kids of my own I ritually carried out the same little, early morning ceremony with them, kissing them on the forehead and blessing them on their birthdays.

Somehow, I never asked, and my mom never volunteered an explanation for this little ritual.

Just a few years back, my kids asked me about it.

If they’d asked me earlier, I myself would not have been able to give them any satisfactory answer. I would have had to ask my own mother, what it meant.

“Like water, which can clearly mirror the sky, the moon and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is still, tranquil and wholly relaxed.”

~~Indra Devi

I guess the water being replaced by oil, is because it is an indication of somewhat more stability, less easily disturbed, and even if disturbed, as when the coins are poured into it, the image reflected is hardly disturbed, with a bare ripple.

Unlike water, which is more “chanchal”….fickle…a loose translation.

What a beautiful little ceremony and what a great blessing my mother passed down.

The trials and tribulations that one passes through in life are indicative of the ripple effect of thoughts, and mental agitations that distort the true reflection of ourselves.
And the ripples are only on the surface. Superficial.
The depths remain still.

As there was a deepening, and greater understanding, as the soul touched the very source of its beingness, eventually even the reflected image disappeared.

Leaving no traces of any visible identity.

I understood that consciousness had released it’s grasp on any and all identification….on any definition.

The next time the kids celebrate their birthday with this little ceremony, I can tell them….

You are not this image you see reflected in the oil that is the consciousness.

You are the very consciousness itself that reflects the image.


As the image slowly falls away…

As all images fall away….

Any and everything your mind has told you, you are…..

As all identities dissolve…..

What remains is….

Ever conscious…

A mirror…mirroring itself…..

Perhaps its time to let even this little ceremony to go....

Asanga's picture


This is a lovely story. Thank you.

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:24
MAI's picture

A shift in perception

You're very welcome, Asanga.

The point of transformation is when "dekhne ka nazaria badal jaye" {a shift in perception, or way of seeing, changes}.

From the images in the oil, to the oil itself, with the images in it...!!!! Paradoxical...???

A quote to illustrate:

As all waves are in the ocean, so are all things physical and mental in awareness. Hence awareness itself is all important, not the content of it. Deepen and broaden your awareness of yourself and all the blessings will flow. You need not seek anything, all will come to you most naturally and effortlessly. The five senses and the four functions of the mind -- memory, thought, understanding and selfhood; the five elements -- earth, water, fire, air and ether; the two aspects of creation -- matter and spirit, all are contained in awareness.

— Nisargadatta Maharaj


MAI | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 02:04
Luz76's picture

Mind wants to find some reflection

I suspect that in most cases it is the mind and not consciousness that wants to find some reflection, and the motives are not spiritual but at the end of the day are simply mundane, escapism. After all the "consciousness seeking its reflection" is just a theory in the mind, it is something we read in scriptures and hear from Advaita gurus but that by its very nature cannot be verified in experience.

Luz76 | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 09:14
corsia's picture


That's a cute little simple ritual. Mama also taught me some rituals her mother taught her but when I try to ask her about it she cant explain why.

corsia | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 09:31
MAI's picture

Nothing, Is Everything There Is

Dear Luz76,

It is the mind that feigns ignorance and knowledge.
Yet without consciousness, the mind would not be there to dance its dramatic dance.

I've often wondered though, what this internal pull to seek is...!!!
Even if one hasn't read any scriptures, or know or heard anything about all's still there.
Looking for that ephemeral something that will cure humanity's woes :-( ???

What a jolt it is to find that nothing, is everything there is, and that a "me". and all "my" problems, are that too.

Ever conscious…


MAI | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 12:29
MAI's picture

Are we home yet ?

" Just like exhausted children in the back seat of a car on a long drive to a new home, our thoughts keep on asking, 'are we there yet? are we nearly home? how soon can we rest?', and life, in its infinite patience, keeps on reminding us that we are already home, that we never left home in the first place, that even when we move home, our true home, the ever-present inner stillness, never moves. In the midst of movement, total calm."

~~Jeff Foster


MAI | Tue, 07/02/2013 - 13:17
MAI's picture

Clear of all images

Sometimes :

"People are scared to empty their minds fearing that they will be engulfed by the void. What they don't realize is that their own mind is the void."

~ Huang Po


MAI | Wed, 07/03/2013 - 12:23