The Reflection in the Mirror
"Why are you unhappy?
Because 99% percent
of everything you think
and of everything you do,
is for yourself -
and there isn't one."
Wei Wu Wei
Life begins like a wonderful stroll through a garden of earthly delights. Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we touch is filled with wonder and surprise, as it spontaneously appears before us to enjoy and find delight in.
Then one day, carefree and open, we walk past a mirror that appears out of the corner of our eye, and we spy a reflection of ourselves for the very first time. Amazing! Who is that in the mirror? Fascinated, we take a closer look, drawn in by the shape of our bodies, the color of our hair, and the contour of our eyes. Instantly, we lose awareness of the one who, just a moment before, had been looking into the mirror, carefree and joyful, and are now completely identified as the reflection looking back at us.
So enamored are we of this image of ourselves, that we give it a name, and begin to compile a story of what it does and where it goes, as if it were a real person. This story includes the joys and struggles of life, as well as all of the ups and the downs we have gone through. We find great happiness in telling this story to anyone who will listen, yet, no matter the tale we tell, there always seems to be something lacking in the 'story of me', something missing that can only be filled by doing and having more in our life.
As the years pass, as we wander in thoughts of past and future, we find that this story begins to feel heavy and burdensome, and the very weight of having to continually uphold and feed it with more doing, gives rise to a feeling of exhaustion and disillusionment. This burden continues to grow with every passing day until we find ourselves wanting desperately to be free from the sorrow and heaviness of this reflected 'me', a 'me' that now feels like a dead weight on our shoulders.
Then it happens; in a moment of grace, when we least expect it, a longing to return home to the carefree joy and ease that we once were, arises like a distant memory - comes like a crack of lightening through an open sky. Through this instant of piercing grace, the image in the mirror suddenly shatters into a million pieces, and the refection we have believed ourselves to be, can no longer be seen clearly. In that moment, we wake up from the trance of being the reflected image, and are pushed back into the one who has been looking in the mirror all along - the one who got lost in the reflection all those years ago.
With the illusion now shattered, we find we have returned to who and what we have always been; and always will be. We come naturally to our original nature as the pure awareness of being; the awareness that is seeing, the awareness that is hearing, the awareness that needs no thought to define or encase it. We stand, once again, in the joy and freedom of our own awareness, and find ourselves home again.