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What if everyone and everything around you is just a mirror?

I like running thought experiments from time to time, and then challenging myself to see the world through the lens of that experiment for at least a week or two to see how it plays out, and if there is any value to incorporating it into my life.

One of my recent thought experiments has been, "what if everyone and everything around me is just a mirror?"

We own a beautiful property in Scarborough right near the beach, and for various reasons we are in the process of selling it. I've been deeply attached to this property in the past, and have often referred to it as my Spiritual HQ. When I go there, the inspiration I find is just magical. Now that we are selling it, I'm worried I will lose the experiences I get from that space.

In the past I’ve found that when I go to that physical space, I get to have a desirable experience as a result of the space. As part of this thought experiment, I've dug deep to try and figure out exactly "where" this Spiritual HQ exists, and whether the physical space in Scarborough is as important as I think it is to access that experience.

As I've worked through this thought experiment, something that has become clear is that there isn't a straight line between being in the space and the desirable feelings I want from the space. When we were there over lockdown, I was extremely stressed because of some hard things that were happening at work. I was in the space every day, and yet I was stressed, and certainly not experiencing the Spiritual HQ vibe I associate with Scarborough. The logical conclusion is that it can't just be about the space, so where exactly do the feelings I desire exist? What if the feelings I desire from being in this space are already inside of me, and like a mirror the external stimulus just has the potential to alert me to what already exists inside me?

To continue the thought experiment, I've asked myself why is it that two people can sit in their respective cars in the same traffic jam on the same morning, and have a totally different experience when a car races past them in the yellow lane? Why is it that one person can sit there calmly, while the other person is in fits of rage and hysterics? It's the same external stimulus, so where exactly is the experience taking place?

To take that a step further, what if it's not possible for someone to ever say something that upsets me? Is it possible that the upset I feel is already inside me, and like a mirror this person has just helped to reveal it?

What if it's not possible for someone to ever say something that offends me? Is it possible that the hurt/offence/insecurity I'm feeling is already in me, and like a mirror this person has just helped to reveal it?

What if it's not possible for someone to do something that brings me joy? Is it possible that, like a mirror, their actions have just revealed the joy that exists in me already?

What if the feeling of having a "Spiritual HQ" is already inside of me, and regardless of whether I'm in the physical space in Scarborough or not, I'm still able to access those feelings?

This thought experiment starts to run out of steam at a certain point, but what I've found immeasurably helpful is the ownership I feel for my experience of life in every moment with this world view. If Ash and I are arguing, it's too easy to jump to the conclusion that I'm feeling poorly because of something she said, and it's her fault. The alternative is much harder, but I would argue far more powerful: what are her words revealing in me that is already there? If there is a wound or an insecurity, only I can ultimately resolve it, and her gift to me is helping to mirror this back to me.

When we look in the mirror, we might not like what we see, but running away from the mirror doesn't change what we look like. The alternative is to stare deeply into the mirror, and from that place to do the hard work to love, change or accept what we see. In this experience we move from helpless recipient to empowered creator of our experience of life.

How would you live your life if you experienced everyone and everything around you as a mirror?


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