The Mirror

cpkumar's picture

Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

One of the hardest things is to see yourself as you really are. A most telling way to see yourself is through the eyes of others. Watch how they respond to you. This mirror image will not be totally objective because they will colour it with their own patterns. The same applies to their reflection from you. We learn about ourselves by relating to each other. Problems in relationships are due to emotional turbulence. Waves of conflict reflect from one to the other and meet in the middle like a storm in a teacup. One upsets the other. The one upset reacts through fear or pride. The whole thing escalates and builds up with each reflection.

To find calmness, avoid speaking from fear or ego. It is easy to say but hard to do. We seek to control each other to avoid humiliation and prevent those things we fear. Most of us tell lies or play games. Seeing this is a step on the way to a more peaceful life. You cannot expect to overcome fear and ego totally because you are a 'shadow being' (a reflection in the mirror of consciousness).

Fear and ego are two sides of the same coin. They exist because your body desires to live forever. Evolution has programmed it this way. Fear can affect the toughest of people. For example, a soldier who has experienced battle might be afraid of public speaking. Violence and other extreme control patterns often spring from an attempt to cover up an inner fear, if only of loss of face.

When criticised, we feel a need to justify ourselves. This sets off reflections. It is hard for the ego to take criticism without reacting. We feel smaller in the eyes of others, less loveable or more vulnerable. When you get into an argument, try to see your own motive. Imagine that it is somebody else going through it. Learn from criticism whenever possible. If it is undeserved, why bother to defend yourself? On the other hand, it is better not to be judgmental and critical. To progress, learn to take it and avoid dishing it out. (I hope I'm reading this!)

I realise now that I am still the frightened child I always was. I felt the fears of my parents even in the womb. Life has taught me new fears. I have led my life in fear. We all do, more than we realise. This is why spiritual teachers say we should live in the present moment. There is no tomorrow, only today endlessly recycled. If you are OK now, why worry? Imagination can be a valuable attribute but it comes with a price tag - fear. In the same way, the price of love is rejection. I feel the pain but fail to see the lesson, the ever-present silver lining above the endless storm.

In the heat of the moment, think before you speak. In conflict, analyse whether you speak from love or fear. All men and women have fears. Some deal with it better than others do. Some cover it up better. Fear can be a motivation for controlling others. We control people we are afraid of losing. In doing so we bring about the very situation we dread. Possessive love can sometimes seem like hatred and often leads to it.

The true self is beyond ego. I would love to find it but the way is not easy. I notice how problems start when I talk about my fears to those involved in them. My face reflects back unhappily in the mirror of their eyes. Fear is contagious and damaging. I need to think before I express the feelings it inspires. Be direct. Name the fear to yourself rather than talk of it endlessly to others.

There is always something beyond fear. Death is just a release back into the light of the infinite, the end of a session in the game. If someone you love wishes to leave, why hang on? You can do no more than give love for love. The past never really existed and the present is ever changing. The good times are still happening. Something new will always turn up. Be nostalgic for future pleasures. We may not get what we want but we always get what we need.

Each object in the universe creates its own space in the physical sense. All people in relationships create a joint space in a metaphorical sense. A home is a space like any other. What you do in your space becomes part of the fabric of its meaning. What do you put into the meaning of your space? Is it a place of ease, of joy, of beauty? What we do in our spaces adds to the 'emotional ambience'. An unhappy house will carry that memory and its influence for ages to come. Happiness can overwrite unhappiness - given a chance.

Conversations are a mirror. You speak; they reply. Life is the mirror you have fashioned to look at yourself; exploit it. Look into the light. What does it tell you? Do you see truth or people playing games? You are not what you appear to be. You are a remote game player in a very realistic simulator, a virtual reality. Loss of face means nothing if you have integrity. Conflict happens 'outside'. You live 'inside', safe and secure in the ever-loving infinite.

What should you do if you do not like your life? Fight it, struggle and the pattern grows stronger. Accept it and ask the light for a solution. You cannot change the pattern so change yourself. People, systems, organisations, governments, businesses - they treat you badly. Keep the peace - bide your time. Do your best to be straightforward and patient and, eventually, the tide will turn in your favour. Your unconscious mind has created all this for a reason. Put yourself on the other side of the mirror. Be the watcher not the watched. If you play them at their own game, you will never be free of the shadow. If you duck out now, the pattern will return in another way. You will never be free.

The spirit grows in meaning as your light reflects from other people, from the life of this planet and from the entire universe. You seek to know your place in the pattern of universal consciousness. You are a universal mirror for other people. We see ourselves reflected in each other. I try to put out light but some people see me as gullible and naive. They 'take me for a ride' if they can. It happens quite often. They would not do this if they could see the effect on their infinite selves. In terms of the universal game, these petty victories simply prolong their stagnation in the darkness. Humility is of the light but humiliation is a shadow, an illusion. Humbling experiences teaches. In the end, all deception is self-deception.

I am nothing. I do not even exist. My physical being is just a pattern of space and time. Fate is mere co-incidence, a flight into the face of belief. Co-incidence is part of the illusion, a clue from the dreamer to the dreamt. It is as unhelpful to be over positive as it is to be fatalistic. Find balance, look to the centre where all is calm. What is past is past. The legions of embarrassment are not a reality. The past has gone. It was just an echo in an empty room. Things can change. Be patient. Be trusting. Make the most of opportunities that arise but do not play games to change things. Accept help but do not use people.

If you are unhappy in your work, are you doing your best? Are you giving value for money? Are you involved in other people's power games? Are you out of work? Are you creating a spirit worthy of a being of light? Think of your true role as a player in a sophisticated virtual reality game. Are you making enlightened moves or are you only appearing to? What sort of luck are you cooking up? The secret is not to play good games. It is to play no games at all. Live by the principles of light. The evil we do lives on as shadows in the soul. The light seeks it out and creates illuminating experience. We learn, we grow and, sometimes, we appear to suffer. There is no injustice - only learning.

The path to enlightenment is not about the self. It is very tempting to think that we can enlighten ourselves. We can only seek to enlighten others. What we do for others reflects back to us. Helping others to help yourself diminishes the achievement. (If you are going to be sincere, you might as well mean it.) Serve for the sake of serving. We are not real. We do not exist. Spirit is the only true reality. What we are is infinitely greater than what we appear to be. Each one of us is no more than a reflection of all the races of humanity and all the species of life. What are you reflecting? Are you the object, the image or the mirror?

Why live up to the expectations of others? There is a difference between being somebody and appearing to be somebody. Reputation is no proof of integrity. If you are content with what you are, why let others spoil it with false ambition? Whose respect is more important than your own? Are you really doing the best you can? You are in a game well worth the winning. The desire to improve the character can open all sorts of interesting doors. The real game is inside. All the fame and fortune in the world will be worthless if you do not grow in spirit. Do not limit your possibilities. Take care of the details and the big picture will look after itself.

Most games of strategy rely on the other person responding in a predictable way. Some people are very good at 'pressing the buttons' that upset you. Do you reward them by giving them what they expect? Try stepping outside the game altogether. Be original. Understand each other. Desire an enlightened solution. Seek compromise. Can anybody really win an argument? Is it so wonderful to have a rigid mind that is unchangeable?

Do not pressure people that are upset. If there is something you need to know, they will tell you in their own time. It may seem that you are scoring points when you get the advantage of somebody else but remember your score card in the universal game. Forget what you have to lose and remember what you have to gain. Enlightenment is more than just a win on a lottery.

All too often, I am disillusioned with myself. The word 'dis-illusion' is interesting. It means disappointment. It can also mean to strip away illusion to see the reality beneath the surface. Disillusionment with oneself is painful. It is also a necessary step towards enlightenment. I am the sum total of my experiences. My comfort is that the whole is usually greater than the sum of the parts. After all, the spirit is infinite. We are all on the journey across a foreign landscape (life's experience). We navigate by making our choices but we are not to blame for the route. We are all in the dark together. We share collective responsibility for creating the scenery.

Enlightenment is not something we can achieve by setting management objectives. I find it sad that politicians are no longer interested in 'Civilisation'. They speak of family values in the hope that this will solve their problems cheaply. The spirit of love is absent from their policies. The smokescreen of morality is less significant than personal integrity and honesty. We all know that politics is a game. We will never trust politicians as long as they play it.

I have looked into the mirror and been appalled by what I have seen. Now I must learn to put out into the universe what I would like to find in myself. Enlightenment is the destiny of us all. No one can buy it or possess it. Enlightenment is not something we can force, something to do. It is a gradual unfolding of understanding - of seeing ourselves as we truly are and then realising that we are not that at all. We are infinite beings in disguise.

Omkaradatta's picture

Look in the other direction...

"My face reflects back unhappily in the mirror of their eyes."

There's only one problem with this. You're looking for yourself in other people's eyes. They're looking for themselves in your eyes. Who is seeing what? People see past each other.

Look for your Self within. Until then you will be lost, seeing only illusions and reflections, mirages in the desert. You will never find yourself in others -- this is the hardest thing to accept, but it must be accepted in order to make any real progress on the spiritual path.

Turn around and look directly within. There is no other way.

Omkaradatta | Fri, 01/09/2009 - 02:51
mayasurfer's picture


this is sooooo true. And sooooo hard. It's the hardest thing there is, giving up and letting go of this trying to find yourself in other's eyes or in the world, giving up your desires, attachments, your wanting and needing, your searching, your clinging, your hopes, your dreams.... but it is the ONLY way. The ONLY way. Turn away from Maya by surrendering and accepting it as it is and then leave it alone and let it fade, leave the dream alone, every little bit of it, go within, more and more and slowly awakening dawns...and this notion that there is an "other" in whose eyes you can find yourself is gone. But then, when I look at the eyes of Ramana Maharshi in that famous photo, they are so empty and so full. There is no more "I" and "you", just....

mayasurfer | Fri, 01/09/2009 - 06:41
Gilana's picture

The Mirror

I don't know -- I'm very skeptical about using "others" to function as mirrors to inform me as to what I am.

Aren't "others" full of all that stuff (desires, attachments, wanting and needing, searching, clinging, hope, dreams)? How can I know what is their stuff?

What I do is stop and watch whatever is coming up (emotions, thoughts) and consciously realize that they are hot air balloons, floating separately from me. Then turn to look at what is constantly functioning, what doesn't change. It's dismaying, but it's not that hard once you develop a knack. And it instantly stops the game.

Maybe I'm wrong....but seems to work for me. What do you think?

Gilana | Wed, 08/18/2010 - 07:41
MAI's picture


Another person's opinion of you is but a reflection of their concepts. Your opinion of yourself is also a reflection of your mind made concept of who you are.
When the mind is busy spinning these yarns,there is the reflecting surface (MIRROR) -THE MIND,REQUIRED TO GIVE REALITY TO IT !!! The moment conceptualization stops the reflecting surface (the mind-the mirror )disappears too...and THE REAL SHINES THROUGH IN ALL ITS PRISTINE GLORY !!!
Do "yourself" and "others" a favour. Stop THINKING about who or what they or you are....


MAI | Mon, 04/23/2012 - 02:05