The Mirror Exercise

J.C. LaCroix Darkworking, Motivation

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"Mirror", Gioia de Antoniis, Creative Commons License

“Mirror”, Gioia de Antoniis, Creative Commons License

I wish you would love yourself.

I see you at night, in my mind, when the world is quiet and still.

You are like Gods who have had their eyes sewn shut, tossed into a prison.

Some of you are smiling. Some of you are faking it. Most of you are not. I see some of you freaking out and pounding on the walls, or sitting blankly and staring. Every so often one of you will scream for help. I respond, but you can’t hear me because I’m outside, talking to you through a crack in the walls. Sometimes, you do hear and I tell you to walk over and come outside. Of course, you ask me, outside of what? I try to explain but you just blink and stare. You don’t understand. All of you wander blindly in Plato’s cave, a prison of your own creation, mistaking it for the world above. And why not? It is all you have ever known. Well, so you believe.

You see, you weren’t born there. You emerged first into the upper world, full and bright. Inside, you understood the perfect, infinite nature of yourself, and rejoiced in your own divine glory. Then the jailers came. Allready in their caves, they whispered to you of their world – a mortal world in the earth, filled with self-doubt, limitations, rejections, and most of all, self-loathing.

You believed and trusted these people. Being divine, you wanted to love perfectly.

So, over time, the lies took deep root. The jailers weren’t trying to hurt you – long ago, they had forgotten their true nature, just like you. But, in the beginning, this was a choice, and the dissonance between their loving lies and the truth before your eyes caused you pain. You chose love over truth. Deep into the earth, you created a cave, to be mortal and be with your mortal companions. Understanding your true nature, you instinctively knew the only way for a God to become mortal was for the God to come to totally believe in that mortality. Thus, you had to reject yourself. You surrendered, and released your inherent self-acceptance, your self-worth, your self-confidence, and your self-reliance. In their place you put layers of earth and illusion – in the form of self-rejection, self-loathing, self-consciousness, and self-doubt.

The problem was, you could still see, and you could remember the world above, seeing glints of it through the entrance. So, you wove thread out of special lies – limitation, rejection as failure, failure as worse than death, not being special. Stripped of your sight, you crawled through your cave by touch, and eventually, you forgot about the world above. In time, the cave was all you knew – you became the jailer for yourself and others.

This part of the story makes me weep, because as you well know, I was once in my own prison, screaming.

But, if you are here at this website, this makes you different from the others. It means something amazing has happened. Part of you did not forget, and is still struggling for freedom. It doesn’t know how or why, it just remembers that there was something more.

It means you have loosened the threads, and a small, narrow window of vision has arisen.

And, much like Plato’s allegory, you’ve probably tried to crawl to the surface. But, your eyes weren’t used to the light, your ears unfamiliar with the sounds, your mind becoming fearful of its original home.

I reached for you, but you ran, down, back, hiding. Just like I did, once.

You know that in order to be free, you must remember your true nature, divine self-love, and return to your first home. Yet, to simply run to the surface is too much.

There is a better way.

In your cave, in the back, is a waterfall with a pool that laps around in the earth. You drink there every day. The gentle falling, the coolness, is soothing to you.

The ancients knew this well – water is the element of the soul, of spirit in almost every spiritual tradition. It is mutable and imperturbable, always shifting. It has no true form or limitation. It can eventually overcome any obstacle, including your self-imposed prison. It is credited by old traditions as allowing us to see the future and the past. Most of all, it is credited with being your link to your inner divinity. To understand why, you have to remember that, for our ancestors – before electricity and cell-phones, before self-help and fast-food – it was the only way they could see their own reflection, was to gaze into water.

And, that is precisely what you must do.

You must first gaze at the reflection of the upper world, in that little pool of water, and then walking out into truth becomes easy. But remember, its image is your image. You need to strip back the lies about yourself to come to your true self. After all, Occam’s Razor illuminates that once all falsehood has been stripped away, what remains must be truth. Of course, you know you need self-love: Confidence, acceptance, esteem, and inner-strength. But how do you do that, exactly? Well, what if you want someone to know you love them, what do you do? You tell them! You talk to them and express it! And, as those who have proceeded us well knew, the closest you can come to experiencing yourself is your reflection.

The following is a very simple exercise in terms of mechanics, but it is very complex and powerful in the actual execution.

Stand in front of a mirror in a space where you can be undisturbed. Briefly touch your eyes (this is to remind you that you’re trying to see clearly, and make you still inside), and breathe for a moment. Just like water, the stiller you become, the clearer the reflected image.

1) Open your eyes, stare into your own eyes for a moment.

2) Then simply say to yourself, “I love you”.

3) Repeat as desired.

Now, I can hear you going – that’s lame. Well, maybe, but try it. What the hell do you have to loose but 3-4 minutes of your life? I’m willing to bet a load of money on the fact that when you’re looking at your own reflection, all quiet and still, that you will feel uncomfortable. Why? All that squirming is self-rejection. Then, when you do tell yourself that you love yourself, you will probably feel self-conscious. All that self-consciousness is self-rejection. And that means, there is a problem.

What you are doing at first is just making yourself complete the process. As time goes on, you will stop, as you stare into your eyes, and begin to refute the negative self-judgments that happen into your head. Out loud, with feeling. Of course, you can’t do that until you stop being a self-conscious pussy. You’ll also begin to praise yourself for what you did that you are proud of during the day. As your self-talk begins to change, your feelings toward your own image will change. Eventually, you will generally feel the “I love you”, and when you see your own image, you will get a quickening warmth of joy. That’s when you know you’re getting close to the goal.

Eventually, the pressure from all this positive thought (in relationship to yourself) that you are creating will build up. Then, it will bring the walls of that prison right down. I’d describe this experience, but its ineffable at best, and besides, I want you to see it for yourself. At that point, be prepared for a little bit of looking weird to those who still have their eyes sown shut. Case in point, I was walking down the street the other day and I caught my own reflection in some glass. Without breaking stride, I smiled and kissed my reflection. There was a brief moment where I thought it might have been a bad idea to kiss a public surface, but then I just praised myself for having a uber-stomping immune system and moved on. However, some girl smoking outside on her break noticed me, and was looking at me like I was nuts. I just winked at her and kept walking.

Hope she likes the way that cave floor feels – but I’ll be here, smiling with a mirror in hand, when she gets tired of it.