One morning a mirror appeared in the town square of a small village. Like all other mirrors it could only reflect what was presented.
It was the mirror of Love and Free Will, a mirror that never lied and that allowed people to be seen by others exactly how they themselves chose to be seen. If you stood there as a labourer, a teacher or a student – that is what you would see reflected back. If you stood there as an orphan, a leper, a self-made millionaire, a sports star – that is what was reflected back. But if you stood with a willingness to look beyond the surface, the mirror reflected much, much more.
Some walked up to the mirror and saw the image they wanted to show the world and were happy to have this confirmed, others ignored its arrival altogether, but some stood wanting to look deeper.
Those who looked deeper saw that no matter how perfect their outer image was, they also saw sadness in their eyes, or hardness in their shoulders, or the extra weight that they carried. Some saw this and blamed life for these woes and went back to trying to improve the image they presented, some tried to build new ones; others were honest about what they saw and began to explore the choices they were making – what they were eating, how they were working, how they were relating to themselves and others.
The mirror was impartial to those who stayed and those who moved on. All it could do is reflect to the depth people chose. The choice to do something about what you saw was always yours. However, without this reflection, there was no way for people to see the possibility that things were not as they seemed.
Those who started making new choices both struggled and marvelled as each time they stood in front of the mirror it would reflect both the part that was the surface image and the possibility of something deeper. They still noticed layers of sadness, hardness, grief … and at times it was all they could see. Some felt guilty about their past choices and blamed the mirror for what they saw. They resented the growing possibility that they might need to let go of the façade, and they turned away. Some started shouting to others to remove the mirror from the town square, fearful of what they saw in themselves.
Some used these reflections to refine their choices – they took responsibility for what they saw and knew the only change worth making was to go deeper and become more responsible for their choices.
Over time, what was inside these people all along began to be lived on the outside. The more they dropped the façade, the more joy and vitality came to the surface. But it did not end there…
One day, enjoying the new (but really old) self they had rediscovered, some wondered if they could look deeper still. They stood before the mirror and saw that what lived behind the joy was a sense of their own divinity. They stood very still not wanting to walk away from the absolute sacredness they had just felt. The easy thing to do was to enjoy all they had felt, and keep it for themselves. They could stay with the joy and vitality they had uncovered for themselves, or go deeper still.
Some stayed basking in that joy for a long time, others knew that over time, without going deeper, they would just turn the joy into a new surface image; one that made them at best ‘comfortable’ and at worst ‘special’.
As always the mirror was impartial – the choice was theirs.
A few let go of the layers they had previously protected themselves with, appreciating the divinity that lived within them more than they feared how the world might see them. After all, they could not see this within themselves without seeing how this divinity lived in all equally.
In that moment they became a Mirror that Never Lies: others who looked into their eyes now had the chance to see that they too are much more than the outer image they project to the world.
By Joel Levin