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of your face and body. But it is not a true and perfect reflection because it lacks the dimension of depth. However your ‘perceptual habits’ will automatically add that dimension as you receive the flat image on the screen of your mind.
Relationship is also a mirror in which we can see our self. However when you look at a reflection of your self, your invisible spiritual self, in the mirror of another person, you can never get a true reflection of yourself because the mirror is less than perfect. What comes back is what the other person sees in you. A more accurate reflection of yourself in that moment can be found in how you see them. To a large extent you will see them not as they are but as you are. How and what you see in them is a reflection of what you are in that moment. This means that you project yourself onto the other and it’s the projection itself that is more clearly describing the ‘ I’ that is the self.
For example: “I hate you”, means I am a hateful self – in that moment it’s the self that is full of hate “You are a stupid fool”, means I am being stupid and foolish about you – in that moment I am a being of stupidity and foolishness “The world is a frightening place”, means I am a person filled with fright and fear
When this inner dynamic is understood it becomes obvious you are only ever seeing and describing your self. Everything you see is a reflection of your self. You are surrounded by symbols of your self. But instead of seeing your self reflected in those symbols you have come to believe they are independent and really are as you see them!
All this is further complicated by the fact that ‘we’ flit between three self images a) how you think others see you, b) how you want others to see you, and c) how you actually see yourself at that moment. When two people meet and look in the mirror of the other what they see and feel is often simply…. utter confusion! It may be a meeting of two but six are often present!
When you meet someone who does not think of how others see them, who does not think of how they would like others to see them, but who is entirely comfortable in themselves at that moment, you feel at ease in their presence immediately. The power of their self-ease may induce the same in you… for a while at least …until … after a while, you may become uneasy because they are not confirming to you how you want them to see you, or they do confirm the image that you worriedly thought others see
you as (which you don’t like), and you then project your uneasiness in the form of a negative judgment (about them) on to them, not realising it’s just your own uneasiness at not getting what you want from them or getting what you don’t want from them!
All inanimate objects just are as they are, empty, meaningless shapes until we bring their image into our minds and then invest them with meaning. Animated objects, like flowers and trees, are as they are, and do as they do. And what they do is grow and decay. Animated, conscious and self aware human beings are as they think and do, which means ‘they are’ and ‘they do’ according to how they see themselves. If you do not see yourself as anything, if your self-concept is non-existent, you are what is known as completely innocent. In that innocent state everything is a wonder to be-hold, in other words you hold the world in your being, but you do not lose your ‘self’ in the world that is in your being. Get it? When innocence is lost it means you have lost yourself in the world, which is really in you! You see yourself as the world, or other people, or objects in the world. You are not aware of this inner mistake, but you now think and act from an illusory self, and you then project that illusory self into the world seeking confirmation of your illusory self. This is known as ego!
To take this one step further, it means you ‘make’ the world, you ‘create’ the world, and therefore you create the other person, ‘in here’, (in your consciousness) according to how you see yourself, which of course is as the other! Follow? Another way to say this is, “What are you doing with me in your head? How are you creating me?” Seeing (perceiving) is creating. How you see the other is how you create the other, is what you will then project onto the other which, unless the other knows themselves as they truly are, will then influence the other to be how you see them, which they will reflect back to you, as if to confirm you were right. If it doesn’t reflect back, you will either go into denial, and put it down as an aberration and say something like, “Ah they are not feeling themselves”…. or …. you yourself will become disturbed and uncomfortable, because your conscious and sometimes unconscious projection is not reflecting back.
In summary so far, as you perceive so you create and as you create so you project and what you project is likely to reflect.
We see this happening mostly at an individual one-to-one level. For example if I see you (create you) as a stupid person, not only am I being stupid (about you), I project ‘stupid person’ on to you, which means I have thoughts and an attitude towards you as stupid. You will likely (but not guaranteed – it depends on the power base of the relationship) enact for me certain behaviours which conform to me I am right, you are stupid, and I will then feel happy (because I am right!). If you don’t enact my projection of you as stupid I will still try to interpret what you say and do as stupid, searching for the slightest sign of your stupidity. Why? Because I am afraid to be wrong. Or a shift could occur. I could start to see you as a victim instead, which is really how I see myself, and therefore just another projection on to you.
What is your response to me calling you stupid? It may be one of the following. 1 If your self awareness levels are low, you may take it very personally, and react emotionally to what you perceive as an insult. 2 If you have no awareness of this dynamic, or you are an innocent, you may believe my judgement of you is true, and start to see yourself as stupid (parents and children come to mind here!) and then do what seems to be expected of you in order to make me happy, because when I am happy then you can be happy, because you will think you made me happy… phew ! 3 If you have done a little self awareness work on yourself, and you have learned not to react to others judgments of you (i.e. you are in your power) you may simply disagree and walk away. 4 If you fully understand this perceiving/creating/projecting dynamic you will understand my judgment/vision of you is really a statement about myself, which I am not aware of, in which case you will have a certain degree of compassion for my ignorance about myself, and the obvious pain I am inflicting on myself. In your consciousness you are consciously creating me as you are, which is understanding and compassionate, (love in action) and then transmitting that image into me which, in time, will help me to raise my own self-awareness… thank you!
Seeing and understanding these subtle exchanges reminds of how simple the ‘art of relationship; could be and how complicated we can easily make them. In something similar to those well known words, “Oh what a web we weave when not aware how we self deceive. Oh what pictures we conceive unaware it is the self perceived”.
Question: In which relationship do you see the above dynamics the most clearly?
Reflection: What difference do the above insights make to the way you view your relationships?
Action: List the your three key relationships and note down how the above could/would change the way you interact
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