Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall … who’s the wisest man of All?
Why you, my king, if you believe it to be, All is all in the reflection you see…
In the ancient texts, it is often said that your reflection is your projection. I have properly been harassed for using the saying when illustrating a point. It does sound preachy. I know.
But, the point is really important. We cannot know anothers’ thoughts or experiences. We only can know our own experience – our own thoughts – because we are the ones living and breathing and seeing. So, we have to often ‘infer’ the perspective of others with the stories we create about their motives, the rationale for happenings and doings. So, we are all mirrors to one another. When we ‘assume’ someone feels a certain way or thinks a certain thing, then it is likely we feel these things ourselves. If we think someone is gossiping about us behind our backs, it is probably because we gossip ourselves. If we are being deceitful, we will suspect deceit from others. We only know OUR reality – and that’s why we get to experience life with our beloved partners, our friends, and our family, so that they can reflect back to us that which we may not see in ourselves.
Everything is perception. Your experience of reality is completely mutable. Thus is the nature of reality. We determine it.
The relationships you have in your life are there to teach you what you need to learn about yourself – they are mirrors to your projection habits. What you perceive can tell you a lot about what you believe.
This human tendency has been written about in the yoga doctrines for ages. Recently, science confirmed in a unique way.
When we perform an action, interpret a beautiful painting, sing in the shower, or even experience an emotion – our neurons fire. This makes sense to us. Here’s where it gets a little peculiar… when we see someone else perform an action or experience an emotion, many of the same neurons fire as if we were performing the action or experiencing the emotion. These are called mirror neurons.
We are also, it seems, hard wired to be mirrors for one another.
Taking this one step further, what we can imagine also can come true – and does. Whether you are creating hives or irritating your bowels, thought has consequence. When we imagine an event, neurons fire as though the event were occurring. And, we imagine a lot. About 50% of the time, our minds are wandering according to experience sampling research. And, a lot of that time, our wandering minds’ thoughts are about things that make us anxious.
So. What does this mean?
We must start by loving ourselves. When we love ourselves, we are able to see that within others that is also loveable. When we see ourselves clearly, we are able to see that within others that has never been touched by sadness, grief, or loss. We are able to see those around us purely, their actions innocently, and their intentions well meaning. We are able to see love. In all forms. In all things.
And, love is worth seeing.
Dr. Ryan Pride is the owner of the Moksha Institute, a firm dedicated to improving the wellbeing of individuals, teams, and organizations through culture transformation and leadership development. A profit-for-purpose company, the Moksha Institute applies Ancient Teachings for the Modern Time in order to transform striving into thriving.