When you look in a mirror, you see your reflection. You don’t see your physical body directly, rather you see a reflected image of your body. Even more than seeing the reflection of your body, you see you, who you are – at least, who you think you are. And it is who you think you are that matters the most.
The perception you have of the mirror’s reflected image isn’t pure. It’s a representation filtered by your thinking, by the mood you’re in, the beliefs you hold, the memories you have, expectations, and more. If you’re feeling positive, you will probably look in the mirror and feel good about what you see. If you’re feeling depressed or discouraged, the image of yourself in the mirror may appear to be very different.
What you see in the mirror isn’t precisely what’s there, it’s what you perceive to be there. The maxim, “I will believe it when I see it” is more often really, “you see what you believe.” What you see is affected by what you expect to see. You project onto the mirror. Your perception is your projection, and vice-versa.
SENSATION AND PERCEPTION
As human beings, we perceive through our senses and that works well for us to be aware of the physical environment and navigate it successfully. But our senses are limited and furthermore, the way that our brains and nervous systems process sensory information is prone to deletion, distortion and generalization. We end up in our minds with internal representations of the external world. And again, those representations are filtered by our language, memories, decisions, values, beliefs and more.
Our creative imagination also generates internal representations that do not relate accurately to physical reality. In fact, our imagination doesn’t have to relate to what is in the external environment at all, and often doesn’t. This is wonderful for creating and inventing when we create what we want, but not so pleasant when the world of our imagination becomes filled with inventions that cause us to suffer.
Take water and pour it through tea leaves and you get tea. Pour it through ground coffee and you get coffee. Get up in the morning well rested and feeling good, and you will probably have a good day. Get up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning, and the whole day might go wrong. Everyone you encounter – your spouse, children, boss, coworkers, employees, clients, friends, neighbors, strangers, anyone – will seem different depending on what side of the bed you got up on that day!
PERCEPTION AND PROJECTION
What is inside you is projected onto what is outside of you, from the perspective of your perception. You will attract to you that which reflects what’s going on within your consciousness. Everything that you experience is a mirror reflecting back to you yourself!
What you perceive in everyone and everything is what you project onto them. People are there, the world is there, that’s true. Other people and the environment exist independent and outside of you. It’s just that you can only perceive others and the world based on the filters that are within you. You can’t perceive anything outside of you that’s not inside of you. Your experience is filtered by your language, memories, decisions, beliefs, values, etc. Your perceptions can be reasonably adapted to the reality of external conditions in the world, or could potentially be quite distorted, maladaptive or even delusional.
For example, if you are used to safe, loving relationships, you are going to meet people in an open, trusting manner and expect the best of them, and that’s likely what you will get.
On the other hand, if you have experienced disappointment and heartache in your relationships, you will tend to perceive others with the expectation that they will hurt you and let you down, and it’s likely they will.
If you believe in your ability to accomplish what you want and feel you deserve to have it, you will probably experience success in achieving your goals.
If you doubt yourself and question your self-worth, if you think you are powerless over outcomes, then your experience will likely be that of failure, that if something can go wrong, it will. And even when you are successful, you won’t be able to recognize it or accept it.
The more something shows up again and again in your life as a pattern, the more you can be sure that you are projecting it and unless you change your projection, you can expect it to continue.
You get what you expect.
CHANGE YOUR PROJECTIONS
Obviously then, change your expectations and you will change your experience. Change what you are projecting. Easier said than done perhaps, but it can be done and you can do it. You can take charge of your projections.
How? By changing your filters.
First, become aware of your thoughts and language. What you think and say becomes true for you. So say it the way you mean it. Condition yourself to speak positively and constructively. Instead of talking about what you don’t want, reinforce what you do want.
Acknowledge your beliefs. What is true for you is what you believe is true. If your beliefs are limiting, then change them. Any belief you hold was preceded by a decision to believe it was true, and you can reevaluate that decision and change your mind. Update your beliefs so that they support you and what you want. Believe in yourself; believe in possibility.
Consider your values. What’s important to you? If something doesn’t matter to you, it’s not even going to show up in your universe. But when you value something, it will determine your motivation, what you care about, what is important and meaningful. Make sure your values are for the most part moving you towards what you want, rather than away from what you don’t want.
Process your memories. Recognize that memories change. The meaning you give to your memories is more critical than what happened. Learn from all of your experiences. Take the positive and release the negative.
Create your future in the way you want it. Use the power of your imagination to focus on what you want. Take action one day at a time and focus on what is good and right about each and every day.
LIVE AND LEARN
Focus on slowly but consistently implementing these changes and you will notice shifts taking place. As you make changes in yourself, your experience of the world will change. People and events will become different. Transformation will occur. You will begin to recognize the mirror of experience that reflects back to you yourself. Everything that occurs in your life will correspond to the thoughts and ideas that are predominate in your consciousness.
When something happens that you don’t like, something that triggers a negative response in you, ask yourself, “What is this experience showing me about myself that I need to understand, accept or change?” Don’t judge it as wrong or bad, instead be willing to learn from it and grow. How can you change so that the situation will become different for you?
And when something happens that you do like, when something triggers a positive response in you, be sure to take the time to acknowledge it as a reflection of what’s positive within you. A reflection of the good in you and the good in all.
Life is a school. Every experience is a lesson. Your relationship to everything reflects back to you yourself. The world is your mirror, offering you the opportunity to see, to discover, to know yourself.
Mirror, mirror on the wall …