The magic mirror in the tale of Snow White knew a thing or two. “Mirror, mirror on the wall: Who is the fairest of them all?” is not a question that is asked in our house. Our mirrors are not magic at all. In fact, as far as possible, we avoid them unless absolutely necessary. They don’t hide anything. They just throw back a reflection of “how it is”. But what about our internal mirror?
It is virtually impossible to describe consciousness in words, so the old teachers often used analogies. Consciousness is like a mirror, they would say, because it simply reflects what appears to it. A more modern analogy is that of a cinema or television screen. The screen does nothing. It is just the medium on which images appear.
So where do hate, love, anger and kindness come from?
There is far more kindness in the world than there is cruelty. But the message we keep seeing and hearing is that the whole planet is a disaster zone. Instead of seeing things as they are, we are influenced by what other people tell us or have told us in the past.
Our mirror is tainted. Smudges and scratches on the glass distort what we see. Not only do we see a narrow, partial picture rather than the whole, we become excited or upset at what we think we see.
Placing a judgment on everything is pretty exhausting. No wonder so many people become depressed. We need to work on it.
How do we clean the internal mirror, the one in our head? After all, if everything we see is wrong, surely it is just going to get worse?
Okay, it will take quite a while to have a highly polished reflector. But we can start the process right now. The immediate thing is not to add to the distortion and dirty marks that are already there. We simply interrupt the cycle of making judgments. (That may also necessitate changing our newspaper!) We stop shouting “hooray” or “yah boo” at everything we see or read about.
A mirror of peace
Eventually the liar will give up – because no-one’s listening. Accepting things as they are, and importantly not necessarily condoning them, we begin to develop a mirror of peace. And surely that can only be a good thing.
Thanks for reading this. If you liked it, you may enjoy my book The Art of Not Doing
Evening workshop 5th June 2017 in Staffordshire “Pacifying the Mind”. Details here.