Using the Mirror of Life
by Shakti Gawain
are so stuck in our old beliefs and patterns that we aren't able to see
the changes we need to make. Even when we feel frustrated about our
problems, we may not recognize what we need to learn to change things.
That is why we need to use the mirror of life.
Everything in our lives reflects where we are in the process of
developing integration and balance. We can use everything that happens
externally as a mirror to help us see the areas within us that need
healing and development. Whenever we have a problem, especially a
recurring or chronic problem, it is always an arrow pointing directly to
some aspect of our psyche where we need more awareness.
If we accept that life is always trying to teach us exactly what we need
to learn, we can view everything that happens to us as a gift. Even
experiences that are uncomfortable or painful contain within them an
important key to our healing, wholeness, and prosperity.
We may have difficulty understanding what the mirror of life is trying
to show us, but if we sincerely ask for the learning and the gift in
every experience, it will be revealed to us one way or another.
One of the clearest reflections we have to work with is the one provided
by our relationships. Everyone we attract into our life is a mirror for
us in certain ways. All of our relationships -- our families, children,
friends, co-workers, neighbors, pets, as well as our romantic partners
-- reflect certain parts of us. How we feel with someone is usually an
indication of how we feel about the parts of us that they mirror.
We all attract certain people into our life who have developed qualities
opposite to the ones we are most identified with. In other words, they
mirror our disowned selves, and we mirror theirs. These are often the
most highly emotionally charged relationships. We either love them, hate
them, or both! We feel very attracted to them, and/or very
uncomfortable, judgmental, annoyed, or frustrated with them. The
stronger the feelings, the more important a mirror they are for us. We
have drawn them into our reality to show us something about what we need
to develop in ourselves. The fact that we have such strong feelings (one
way or another) toward them means that they are showing us a part of
ourselves we need to acknowledge, accept, and integrate.
This does not mean we have to be with them or hold onto a harmful or
inappropriate relationship. It just means that as long as they are in
our lives, or even in our thoughts and feelings, we can use the
relationship as a learning experience. It also does not mean we are
supposed to become like them. They may carry an energy we need more of,
but they may be too far to the opposite extreme, or they may express
that energy in a distorted way.
Still, we can look for the positive essence in the opposite qualities
they carry. For example, if you have been taught never to express any
anger, you will probably at some point find yourself in relationship
with a person who expresses their anger frequently and vehemently. Life
is giving you a strong message that it's time for you to learn to
acknowledge your own anger. It is not saying you have to become like
this person and go around dumping your anger everywhere. Instead, you
need to find the appropriate balance, learning how to assert yourself
and stand up for yourself.
If you have strongly developed being energy but have difficulty taking
action, you may find that someone important in your life is a compulsive
doer who can't relax. Naturally, you don't want to go to that extreme,
but this person is your teacher, to show you the energy of action that
you need to develop. Of course, you are a teacher for them, as well, but
it usually doesn't work very well to try to show the other person what
they need to learn from you -- although we all succumb to this
temptation. It works much better to concentrate on what we need to learn
in the situation. Once we use the mirror to understand what we need, and
actually do the work to develop a disowned self, the whole pattern of
the relationship will shift.
If we are strongly identified with power, we will attract vulnerable,
needy people. This mirror is reflecting our need to recognize and accept
our own vulnerability. If and when we do that, the needy people in our
lives will either become more empowered, or will move out of our lives.
If we are overly vulnerable and disown power, we will find ourselves in
a relationship with someone who uses power one way or another. We will
feel overwhelmed, controlled, or victimized by them until we own our
power, at which point the relationship will either dissolve or become
As I mentioned in the last chapter, we often seem to gravitate toward a
romantic or business partner who has an opposite approach to financial
management. If the difference is not too extreme, this can be a
complementary and harmonious balance in which we appreciate and learn
from each other's strengths. If we are highly polarized, however, it can
be painful and frustrating, leading to a great deal of conflict and
Still, it is a gift -- an opportunity to recognize how identified we are
with one polarity and a chance to develop the opposite energy we need.
Like any relationship issue, it requires that we communicate with one
another, and be willing to listen and empathize with each other's
feelings and perspective. If we feel stuck in our ability to
communicate, it may be an appropriate time to call in a skilled third
party -- a therapist, marriage counselor, or mediator -- to help us
through. Personally, I find that most of us need help at certain times
to get through the deep issues that are reflected in our intimate
The topic of relationships is a complex and fascinating subject, which I
can only begin to touch on. Still, if you grasp the basic idea of how
our relationships show us the next steps we need to take in our personal
growth, you can begin to use your relationships as powerful guides on
your path to true prosperity.