Have you ever bumped into someone, perhaps in the street or at an event and thought that you knew them? Your mind searches frantically through your personal history trying to find a memory to identify them. You scan their face for inspiration – Those eyes, that smile, the way those lines track their knowledge and wisdom. You know that you know them. Yet to no avail. You smile an uneasy grin of acknowledgment and they reciprocate and you pass on by.
Sometimes the memory returns and you are able to place them, at an event or on a particular date. “That’s it, of course!”, you whisper to yourself. But sometimes not. Sometimes the moment passes and they are gone, soon to be forgotten and strangers once more.
Do you remember me? Perhaps we haven’t formally met but I feel like I know you. I don’t mean I know the you that goes about your daily business. You have many friends, family and colleagues who know those aspects of you. I mean at a deeper level. Because fundamentally, we are all intertwined. The energy that creates worlds and makes up you also flows through me. So when I look at you, I see the reflection of all of me radiating back.
This is what we forget. We mistakenly believe that we are separate individuals in a random world rather than energy beings deeply connected in a perfect universe . We fail to remember that in each and every interaction, each person mirrors back the essence of the other. When I see aspects of you that I don’t like, I find my shadow that I am denying. When I experience deep appreciation of your best qualities, these are the parts of me that I am repressing. All of these reflections are really just ways of pointing us back home.
Sometimes I falsely believe that when you say and do something that causes me pain and suffering, it is because you have something against me. Perhaps I seek to defend and protect, rather than looking within to all the many ways in which I hurt myself every day. And should I try to control the people around me to fulfil my wants and desires, ultimately I am the only person who feels manipulated.
Here is a an exercise to play with:
Step # 1 Think of someone that you don’t particularly get on with. Let your ego run wild and come up with a list of all their worst qualities. Don’t hold back, this is for your eyes only. When you have finished the list, read each of the words and ask yourself whether in fact these words could be used to describe you. Often we see in others the parts we don’t like in ourselves. This is our shadow. There is no blame or criticism here, just take on the roll of the witness and be present to your own judgments.
Step #2 Take each of those words and look for the hidden benefit. Every aspect exists on a continuum. For example, on one end you might have difficult and obstinate whilst on the other you might have persistent and tenacious. There is dark and light to every quality. We need to embrace the whole of who we are.
Step # 3 Now, think about someone that you truly admire. Write down everything that you like about them. We gravitate towards people who exhibit our values. So look at your list and realize that all of those qualities and strengths also lie in you. Come up with an example of a time when you have demonstrated that strength. It’s time to own all the parts of you.
When we treat the world as a mirror, we take learn to responsibility for our interactions. We let go of blame and guilt because we realise that no one has any power over another. We are creating our own experiences, just as others create theirs. We take time to reach out and connect more deeply with those around us, in order that we can experience more fully the truth of who we are.
PS if you want to strengthen your connection with yourself, with others and with the universe, I have just uploaded a connection exercise that I did as part of the Your Life Two Programme and you can watch it here: