Magic mirror on the wall, tell me I’m the greatest of them all
I’m not sure if I have written about the magic mirror in the past, so forgive my possible senility if I have.
But for many years now, I have told people that I have a personal philosophy about people’s self-image. That I think we all have a magic mirror, and when we look into a mirror, we see a younger and more attractive version of ourself than what is likely realistic. Now I know that some of you might have lower self-esteem, and disagree about this. But the truth is, even if you do, it is still likely an inflated version of yourself that you perceive in that mirror. We all tend to see a loving, kind, compassionate and generous being in that reflection. And possibly a damn good-looking one too!
Regardless of your self-esteem or possible humility, I have come to understand that this analogy of the magic mirror is more profound than I ever imagined. I am beginning to understand that this self-view is actually with each of us, all of the time. With each conversation and observation that we make, we also form opinions and judgements based on how we see ourselves. And it becomes very obvious to me just how very delusional this is. And the delusion begins with this ego of self-perception. Who I am, how I am, what I believe, think and feel.
So how do any of us destroy this mirror, and begin to see things just as they are with compete acceptance? Without any fetters of self, like desire, beliefs, attachments or aversion. Well the first step I believe is in gaining awareness of this process taking place. By observing our own minds as these things arise and paying careful attention to our physical and mental reactions. Perhaps asking ourselves how this is mine, and seeing the roots of our thought process. What past kamma may be creating these reactions for us to replay over and over again only to obtain the same result. Gently, all of us can begin to see these unwholesome patterns that we have been repeating for so long. And in seeing this habitual behavior, we can allow that to be present without trying to push it away or eliminate it, but loving understand it. At that time there is an opportunity to develop a new and lighter kamma which is more beneficial to yourself and others.
Perhaps you can see how with gentle awareness, acceptance and determination, that each of us can begin to destroy the mirror. This moment is just this moment; not the past one or the next. These thoughts that arise are equally transient, with no need for attachment or story development. None of these have substance unless we make them our own by way of the reflection that we think of as the self. Remembering – this is not me, this is not mine, I am not this.
And while some may become enlightened in the blink of an eye, for most of us I believe it is by putting one foot in front of the other. Patience is a virtue that is best developed for ourselves before we make another step. Be kind and gentle, and remain focused on peace.