Have you ever had someone tell you that life is a mirror of your consciousness? Or that we are each mirrors of each other?
Have you also noticed that even though you NEVER cut people off in traffic, some people still cut YOU off, and sometimes blatantly and intentionally?
Very often this mirror idea has been twisted from it’s original meaning to fit into a symmetrical understanding based on the Law of Attraction, namely that your consciousness actively creates the reality that you experience.
However, that is kind of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and one of the reasons it can seem so untrue sometimes is that the Law of Attraction is not really where this particular teaching belongs.
The idea that life is a mirror of our consciousness is often misunderstood and today I wanted to go back to the great traditions for some teachings that might shed some light on the true meaning of this common saying.
“It does not matter how many virtues a man may have, even if they are beyond number and limit. If he has turned from the path of self accusation, he will never find peace.” — St. Dorotheus
Now, this is true spiritual wisdom, though at first blush (and especially to the modern mind) it sounds like exactly the kind of thing we shouldn’t do.
Aren’t we constantly told by the golden gurus of the New York Times Best Sellers list that we need to take it easy on ourselves? Love ourselves and be gentle with ourselves?
How in the world could anyone find peace (of all things) on the path of self accusation?
St. Dorotheus goes on to explain:
The man who finds fault with himself accepts all things cheerfully – misfortune, loss, disgrace, dishonor and any other kind of adversity. He believes that he is deserving of all these things and nothing can disturb him. No one could be more at peace than this man.
The man who thinks that he is quiet and peaceful has within him a passion that he does not see. A brother comes up, utters some unkind word and immediately all the venom and mire that lie hidden within him are spewed out.. . He will see that he should have returned thanks to his brother instead of returning the injury, because his brother has proven to be an occasion of profit to him.
This explanation, especially the part about thanking someone who has insulted you or injured you sounds very reminiscent of eastern teachings.
A Buddhist Teaching:
“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.” — The Buddha
Both of these teachings, and many others, point to the truth that our irritations and sufferings are ours alone. These are teachings about self inquiry, and understanding our subconscious motivations and machinations. We may think we are easy going and non judgmental, but in the moment we are irritated, we assume the seat of self-righteous judgement and stand in defiance of the Truth.
The simple truth of what is.
An itch is simply a feeling, it only becomes an itch when we begin to think that we shouldn’t be experiencing that particular feeling.
All irritation is rooted in a personal disagreement with the simple truth of what actually is. Our irritation is essentially the result of a disagreement with reality, which is exactly why it is so irritating.
We assume that there is something wrong with the fabric of all creation rather than that there might be something clouding our own perception.
With the fundamental understanding that suffering is a disagreement with Truth, we can begin to see why we should thank those who insult us. The very fact that we have experienced something as an insult shows us how to proceed in our journey to Peace. Once we see this, the basis for the idea that this world is a mirror of our consciousness starts to be more easily understood.
Perhaps it is better to say, this world is a mirror FOR our consciousness. Irritation and anger shows you where you have work to do just as a mirror shows you when your hair is messy or your face is dirty.
To look into your own reflection in the world and see what ruffles your feathers with the same compassion and nonchalance that you might have about your hair in the morning is to be well on the path to peace.
Wishing you a gentle mirror with a sharp reflection,