The Reflection in the Mirror:
I was mired in some conflict with myself the other day and spoke with a dear friend about it. She listened very carefully, and because she gave me that loving attention and reminded me of her love and admiration for me, I left restored, full of hope again. She also gave me a quotation from the Sufi master Hafiz: “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the Astonishing Light of your being.”
That good feeling remained the next day, and I was off and running to my next venture, vowing to not allow those disempowering feelings to “get me” again The truth is that each day , I struggle with those feelings. My friend Nancilee wakes up each day full of vim and vigor, happy to greet the day. She thinks her cheerfulness is congenital; I’m inclined to agree. I think I was programmed in the womb, no small surprise having had a very sad and anxious mother. The difference is after many years of therapy and spiritual life I refuse to buy into the mindset and work at improving that initial mood overlay every day. For me, it has become as routine as the regular brushing of my teeth that I attend to every day. And sometimes the toothpaste I use might be Sensodyne for the very sensitive or regular Tom’s if I feel hardier.
After my conversation with my friend, I wrote to her that in her radiance I could see my reflection without the ordinary confluence of clouds. And thus began a metaphor of mirrors and reflections that dominated me last week. Coincidentally (maybe not) during that same week I had been searching for a perfect mirror to hang next to the picture of Ramana Maharshi, my favorite Hindu saint, and found a wonderful round, antique mirror which, placed to his side, reflected his picture.
All of this led me to reflect on how we choose people who reflect back to us our own images of ourselves. For those trying to become aware, we spend a lot of our lives striving to become conscious of the reality of these reflections. Many of us have families that continue to reflect back to us an unfavorable view of us, no matter how much we have changed in our lives and grown. Likewise, we do the same to them also; we mirror back our projections. The sad thing is we continue to hold onto these relationships no matter how disempowering. It is difficult to disengage especially in those relationships that are longstanding. We find ourselves arguing with our relatives as to how we don’t possess those qualities that they have projected upon us, but doubt ourselves at the same time because we buy into the supposition that they know us better than we do.
As I was looking for a new reflection via the mirror, I began to extricate myself from one of my relative’s projections and to continue the analogy, got a clearer picture of myself. As I grow more into self-love and walk away from the self hate, I am able to see myself much clearer. I don’t seek this other person’s relationship as much as I used to, realizing that sometimes I am vulnerable to their projection when I don’t have my own protective shield up and running.
One night after finding the perfect mirror, I dreamt that my antique mirror had fallen, but was quickly replaced by something larger, sturdier and clearer. I could then see a larger and clearer reflection of myself. And not only I, but my beloved Ramana Maharshi, were both reflected in this new mirror. What an amazing journey consciousness is!