The world ever mirrors back to us what we put out. That’s the law and the great opportunity for everyone.
“Know thyself” was inscribed on the entrance to the temple in Delphi. It may sound simple. Inadvertently simple. Laot Tzu said: “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” The problem is, we are not able to see ourselves without a mirror (or a reflection in the case of Narciss). And in a spiritual sense, the world is our mirror.
We are not able to hear our own cry without an echo from others. Everything around us reflects back to us our identifications, shadows, our emotional and mental attitudes. We need that mirror – the outside world – to know who we are. To know what we believe and how that attracts and creates our reality. And – if we don’t like what we see – to change. It is our patterns and psychological imprints that determine how we evaluate, categorize and make sense our life experiences more than objective reality. And for better or worse (or in its deepest function and meaning) our most intimate relationships provide the most accurate mirror.
I recently had the example that a person close to me said: „I don’t have time“. And for him, it meant just that. He didn’t have time. No hidden agenda or emotional charge. For me, it pushed my “abandonment button” and my internal litany went off with a vengeance: „He doesn’t care. I’m not important. I don’t matter. I always come last.” The little girl within me felt so hurt and rejected. Still, while this was happening, part of me was able to stay out of the drama and observe. I could hear my defences shout: “Fine! Don’t have time. See if I care!” And “Next time I’ll be the one who doesn’t have time.” Followed by “Who do you think you are anyway!” I knew I was overreacting (without being able to completely stop myself) – always a cue that I am not responding from an adult, self-loving place. But seeing my reaction and understanding my pattern helped me to recognize that today, at this moment, it is ok for him not to have time for me.
I think the challenge is that when we are born we rely on others to take care of us. Love then is a primal necessity and not having it threatens our survival in a very physical sense. But I am not a child anymore. Today, I can take care of myself. I can give myself the attention, care, and compassion that I craved when I was a child.
Being rejected is hurtful. Seeing that pattern repeated in my intimate relationship is frustrating. Looking into that mirror and realizing that I am just seeing myself is difficult. I can’t blame or shift responsibility anymore.
However, I can lovingly and with compassion accept what I am seeing and take one more small step towards enlightenment.