The nature of reflection

At one time – years ago – I knew someone, a member of a religious group, whose ordinary greeting was “I see myself in you.” As much as I appreciated it then, these days I appreciate the notion even more.

nature of reflection (22 Sep 10)

nature of reflection (22 Sep 10)

On some level, or in some some sense, we are all mirrors for one another.

And yet, it is the nature of reflection that every mirror reflects an image that is, inevitably – in some way, and to some degree – distorted.

Speaking about “the mirror of your perception”, the Persian poet, Rumi, suggests that “When empty of forms, all forms are contained within it.”

Elsewhere, Rumi advises, “Let the waters settle, you will see stars and moon mirrored in your being.”  

In another poem, he takes that idea a stage further: “I look in your inmost self and see the universe not yet created.”

Some people chant as a means of polishing the inward mirror. Others meditate … put themselves through rigorous self-examination sessions … talk to a priest, a counsellor, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Deepak Chopra sums it up neatly: “Look within and face the world. In the mirror of relationships are secrets to be unfurled. Wherever you go, there you are. You are fearless.”


6 thoughts on “The nature of reflection

  1. Rumi says also “this is not a sheep barn, rub your eyes!”.
    Sorry, but I can do sometimes with a bit more robust humour when it gets too “dancing with too small delicate shoes fragile on subtle eggs” in the “spiritual scene”. I think warm-heartedly that reality can handle it and is made out of more than “good noises”.
    I don’t apply on everybody a ready made formula, I would even find offensive to do so. The effort to “smell”the situation and the vis a vis, and to react accordingly in many ways, is in my eye of a greater acknowledgement of “the other who I meet”. Confluence is NOT respectful awareness of the interaction in common.

    • Thanks for commenting. I enjoy reading your take on things. The most significant element of my piece on “The nature of reflection” was, in fact, NOT the text but the image — in which the criss-cross patterns on what must be one of the world’s ugliest buildings (the Wellington Central Police Station) are reflected and distorted rather nicely in the glass panels of the building opposite.
      Please don’t think me too serious-minded. In future, if you see me “dancing with too small delicate shoes”, look for the hidden humour. 😉

  2. I very much like this post. But then I often find that your posts makes me think, reflect, and go back to a more easy frame of mind. And I thank you for that. (I have not been blogging much of late…)

    When we see the distortion, the crookedness, we see the source – often ourselves.

    In folk music and folk art some patterns have been repeated so often, the songs played so many times for hundreds of years that it is just the distortions that we listen to, the crookedness, that shows the artist; when we know the image by heart, we see in the reflection, the self, the surface of the mirror itself.


  3. I just feel the warmth of your comment allowing me, my humorous way of thinking in your company. I am very great full for this generosity of heart&mind.

    Strangely enough, I see the distortion already in the rigidity of this cubic monolith building, as life energy is about waves, and the illusory rectiline concept is distorting the deeper reality.

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