Meditation and Mirrors

IMG_0902Meditation is a door that is open to all of us. The way in doesn’t require a brilliant mind, a strong body, abundant income or a special talent.  It demands only that you show up, however you happen to be that day, at that moment when you begin to meditate.  As difficult as it may seem, there is really an incredible ease and simplicity to it.

Some aspect of the experience of meditating often reminds me of h0w it is to look in a mirror.  Think about your attitude when you step up to a mirror. What are you expecting to see? Do you focus in on one aspect of yourself or do you take in the whole person looking back at you? How many seconds before judgments or stories set in and take up space in your head? In what way does it seem that this image in the mirror is you? And is it the “real” you?

We might ask the same questions when we sit in meditation. We incline towards attaching judgments or stories to the experience of the self that is showing up on the cushion.  Who is it we expect to meet there? Do we limit what we allow in, accepting only certain aspects and not others?  Is there a sense of disconnect between the image and who we “see” inside? Are we looking for a constant core that shows us who we really are, finding instead that it shifts and changes?

I, myself, seem to be at an age where the image I see in the mirror is constantly changing and in the most unexpected (and, to be honest, often undesirable) ways.  How is this like meditation? You take up the cushion and expect to meet the same person you were yesterday or even years ago, believing that there is some consistent self inside. It’s rather amazing that we assume such solidity in this “self” but not so different from the sense we have that our bodies will continue to have our familiar form each time we look in the mirror.

One thing I have noticed is that the more dissonant the mirror image compared to my sense of actual physical appearance, the more consonant is the sense of self inside with the shifting present moment self that simply shows up when I meditate.  An interesting divergence I would say…

 

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