mirror, mirror on the wall.......

Svadhyaya -- "Self-study. Spiritual self-education. Contemplation and application of the scriptures or sacred texts of our chosen path"

I obviously have a lesson to learn that I'm not learning because I keep encountering the same situation over and over again.  During a recent Bhagavad Gita study the teacher reminded us that if we don't learn the lessons, we'll be doomed to re-live the challenges again and again.   With this in mind, I've decided to do a little Svadhyaya.  Now the challenge is what the heck am I suppose to learn here??

The challenge for me lately is dealing with people who have a huge ego.  These people are practically wearing a neon sign that is blinking "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!"   I find myself so frustrated by this type of behavior.  I want to tell these folks that the object of the game is to transcend the ego NOT FEED IT!

But I must remind myself:

*  Non-judgement
*  Compassion
*  Seeing God in everyone (yes, even the people I want to smack!)
*  These challenges are opportunities to learn something about myself

So I pause, I practice SD's little exercise of mirroring..... My first reaction is always "This is a ridiculous exercise!  I don't act like that!!!"   Maybe that's the point.  Maybe that's why it bothers me so much.

No!  I'm not saying I want to wear a blinking neon sign but it would be nice to have the guts to wear one if I wanted to!  But maybe, just maybe, what I envy is their self-confidence and their ablility to get the attention and validation that they need.  Maybe, just maybe, I see a little of myself in the person behind the sign. 

Maybe, just maybe, they wear the neon sign to hide the fact that they are insecure about themselves.  Underneath the neon sign are they hiding who they really are for fear of not being accepted? Don't I worry about not being accepted?  Underneath the neon sign do they feel insignificant? Don't I feel insignificant at times? Underneath the neon sign are they afraid that no-one will notice them? Didn't I write a post about feeling invisible? Underneath the neon sign do they feel alone? Don't I feel like I'm out in left field sometimes?

From this new perspective, I no longer want to smack these people.  From this new perspective, I feel compassion.  I recognize the person hiding behind the neon sign and I see myself.  (don't tell SD, but I have to admit this mirroring exercise isn't as ridiculous as I first thought!)

Mirror, mirror on the wall........ Wouldn't it be so much easier if we had a magic mirror to tell us what to do with this new found information?  Well, if you've watched any Disney movies with magic mirrors you know that they don't actually give you a straight answer. (much like our dear yoga teachers and gurus) There's always a riddle to figure out. 

I'm going to spare you the riddles and just tell you what I think the message is here:

*  I shouldn't smack people because if they are just like me they might smack me back!
*  Never judge a person by what they are presenting on the outside.  Take the time to get to know the person behind the neon sign. (Then decide if they deserve a smack -- Just kidding)
*  Everyone needs to be validated but some need it more than others.
*  Maybe we are not so different after all.

The more we learn about ourselves through the practice of svadhyaya, the less scary it is to look in the mirror.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


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