What do you see when you look in the mirror? A reflection of yourself? It is said that the greatest reflection of our true selves is in the judgment we make of others. Everyone is our mirror. That realization has been my greatest spiritual teacher.
We are reflected back to ourselves in the way we see the world, and the judgments we make of others. Stop and think about that for a moment. It can be a difficult teaching to grasp and yet, if practiced, you will see yourself in a different light.
Now, when I catch myself judging the actions or appearance of another, I stop myself. I center myself in the present moment and look again, through awakened eyes. Often, I am filled with empathy and compassion for the other person. A simple shift in my perception and the whole world changes.
Years ago, I attended a lecture on spirituality. We were pondering the age old questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” An older woman in the audience raised her hand and proclaimed, “I have added a third question to the queries of our existence.” She paused for emphasis and then asked, “So who the hell are all of you?”
The room erupted in laughter, and then silence. What a profound question! But she had an answer, at least the truth, as it had been revealed to her – we are each other’s teachers and students – fellow travelers on the path. That was an “ah-ha” moment for many in attendance that day, myself included. It is true that some of the most difficult people in our lives provide us with the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth.
They say that true awakening happens when you can see yourself in all of humanity. Consider being a light in this world, so that when others see their reflection in you, they see goodness, grace, compassion, and humility.
I want to leave you with a poem from an angel that lived among us for a short time. I spoke of this amazing young man in an earlier post, Mattie Stepanek. He wrote this poem for the world after 9/11. If you’d like to hear it read in his own words you may do so here. I have also provided the written version below.
For Our World
We need to stop.
Stop for a moment.
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
~Mattie Stepanek 1990 – 2004