I originally learned that meant whatever I saw in the world/people around me only reflected something within me. Specifically, whatever I rejected in others, in the world “outside” me, only pointed at the same quality within me.
At first, that pissed me off.
I despised my father’s obvious arrogance; there was no way I was arrogant like him. I despised my then-girlfriend’s shallow judgmental thoughts; I didn’t judge people like she did. In fact, I was awesome. Quite possibly saintly, even. After all, the only way I could see how judgmental and arrogant other people were was because I was so unconditionally loving and accepting.
So, saintly being that I was, I used “the mirror” as a spiritual weapon to vanquish the unseeing.
This came in handy when that girlfriend complained about me. I learned how to use “the mirror” to my advantage with blunt precision; I would simply smash it over her head (metaphorically speaking) at the slightest provocation.
It generally went something like this:
“Say what? You think IIIIIIII’M selfish, disrespectful and immature?? .... Weeeeell, what does that say about you??? ... After all, I’m just your mirror!!” [SMASH!!!]
It was basically the spiritual version of “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”
Obviously, I sensed the wisdom in the idea but struggled with it greatly.
One day, a friend reacted very angrily to a news report of a child being murdered. He refused to accept that his angry reaction to the story meant that he also was violent and could do such a thing.
I understood his objection. It seemed a solid refutation of the idea that the world is our mirror.
I went home and meditated on it. ... And then it popped.
It hit me clearly that perhaps he wouldn’t do actual violence to a child, but he would do violence to that violence. He would, with his own violence, eradicate violence.
It burst into my awareness like sunlight through an opened window that only arrogance can have a problem with arrogance. Only judgment can think less about another judging. Only aggression can tell aggression to “suck it!”
My mind was blown wide open.
During that 4 year romantic relationship, I had developed a long list of “intolerable ways that my partner was.” Now, I was face to face with the realization that all those things I swore she was ... somehow, I was.
Everything supposedly in her I had been rejecting - her shallow judgment of others; her rude arrogance and blind selfishness; her emotional cruelty - I was suddenly confronted with the realization that I was all those things.
Only my shallow judging could get stuck on the limited part of her that judged, refusing to see the depths of her wondrous nature as a child of the universe. Only my selfish desire that life revolve around me could upset me when she insisted life revolve around her. I was even emotionally cruel ... at least towards myself, for only a lack of emotional respect within me could have me continue living out such a painful experience.
Suddenly, there was nothing I could pin on her that I couldn’t pin on myself, too.
I would love to say from the moment of that realization life completely changed for me. It would be more fair to say this is a lesson that only continues to deepen in me every day.
Life continues to “offend me” in endless ways - aggressive drivers, cell phones at the movies, higher taxes on the poor, lack of romance, this body that just can’t dunk a basketball, etc.
Rather than blaming life for showing up as unkind, every uncomfortable reaction I have is a brilliant opportunity to go inside and see how I’m being unkind to myself ... to observe how my own arrogance would smugly vanquish yours ... to notice how my own shallow judgments diminish the miracle that humans are even capable of making judgments!
What’s so thrilling is now I’m able to welcome offense; it’s a juicy opportunity to bring awareness around the internal stuff that only gets in the way of being deeply, wildly in love with this amazing world ... and with you ... exactly how you show up.
To feel great, I no longer need to manipulate, force or beg you to be different than how you choose to be. You get to show up and be you. I get to be exactly me. And I get to love you for the miracle that you are, even if you judge me, curse me, cut me off, or unfairly tax the poor.
Because you’ve been sent to teach me something about myself. You really are my mirror.
QUESTION: What was your most recent strong, angry reaction to someone/something outside of you? Can you find the offense inside you, as well?
About Bryan Reeves
Bryan Reeves manages transformational music artists and blogs about his experience at www.ManagingTheMagic.com. Bryan was once a Captain in the US Air Force before becoming the worldwide PR Spokesperson for an Oprah-endorsed human energy research company. He currently manages pop-spiritual-fusion music band HERE II HERE (www.hereiihere.com) and electro-pop artist Ash Ruiz whose hot, lyrical music raises the volume of Your True Nature (www.ashruiz.com).