Is the mirror an exact reflection?

One of the popular concepts in New Age thinking is that of mirroring — the idea that whatever you see in someone else or in others reflects something about you.  It’s usually discussed as if that mirror will be a direct reflection of you.  I often found the application of that idea confusing and in my life I’ve found it to be a bit more complex.

For instance, some years ago I had a roommate who constantly belittled me, broke my dishes, poured water on my furniture, mistreated my cats, etc.  and treated some other supposed friends to betrayal so nasty it took my breath away.  I kept looking at her behavior and worrying about her as a mirror — was I that mean-spirited?  I asked some friends whom I trusted to at least give me a watered down version of the truth and the unanimous response was a vociferous “no that is not you”.

I kept asking myself, “well then how is she a mirror?”  Eventually I realized that her behavior mimicked the way my aunt treated me pretty well.  I also monitored my thoughts, checking to see whether I thought that way about other people which led to realizing that she talked to me the way I talked to myself.  So the roommate was a mirror who reflected those two things back to me from my inner world but I had to dig a bit to get to them.

As I’ve become more able to keep myself separate from other people and to identify more clearly what is me and what is them, I sometimes see patterns in others that I don’t think mirror my behavior or thoughts and I’m able to view them dispassionately as “what is”.  Or do I need to dig some more to find how the pattern relates to me?  Maybe as we detach more and more from “self” we can see things “what is” without having it relate to our own lives?  I have a ways to travel before I find out.

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