Greetings fellow mindful travelers,
Happy September! This month’s newsletter is a bit more “spiritual” than I tend to write, but I trust you will find it helpful for your own growth and healing.
I wrote it as a talk for a recently meditation group I led and got lots of positive feedback from the audience.
The title of the talk is: The Universe is Your Mirror. Enjoy:
One of the biggest illusions that our minds play on us is that it tells us that we are separate from everything else in the world.
That we are alone. That no one else is like us or could understand us. That there is something wrong with us. That we are not good enough…
Fortunately, none of these statements have much truth to them at all.
In reality, you, me, and everything in the universe is interconnected and all acting together, as one.
We are all part of one big ocean of consciousness. And just like looking into a body of water, when we look at it, we see our reflection.
We think that “this person is bad,” or “that person is good,” but what if they were all just a reflection of you?
One of the most powerful lessons of self-awareness and growth I have learned (and am still learning), I call The Universe is Your Mirror.
Some people may refer to this as “the Law of Attraction” which essentially means that “What we are, we attract into our lives.”
Popular culture has hijacked this principle into saying that “you have to think positively in order for you to attract the things you want into your life.”
And this is only partly true, because we are much more than just our conscious thoughts.
So it is the entirety of what we are that is reflected back to us through the Law of Attraction. This includes our unconscious mind, emotions, past history, spiritual selves, and all parts of us.
In order for the Law of Attraction to work for you, we have to “change” many different parts of us, not just our conscious thoughts.
Anyways, the reason that The Universe is Your Mirror is such a powerful tool for self-awareness is because it shows us exactly where we need to grow to become more whole within ourselves.
One of the main ways we can see this principle is through Projection.
Projection means that what we see in others, we also have within ourselves. In other words, “you spot it, you got it.”
Inside of all of us we have the potential for all human characteristics, both “good” and “bad.”
However, we each have different aspects of ourselves that we have come to be conditioned as “acceptable” or aspects that are “unacceptable.”
So we each express, or repress, different aspects of our human potential.
What projection shows us is that what is unconscious, we project onto others.
What we reject in others, we reject in ourselves. And what we accept in others, we accept in ourselves.
Let’s see how this works with an exercise:
Think of one person that you admire or have deep respect for.
And then think of three characteristics or qualities that you admire about them.
Write them down.
OK, now think of someone that you deeply don’t respect or who you are repulsed by.
And think of three characteristics or qualities of that person that really trigger you.
Write them down.
The “positive” qualities you wrote down reveal something about yourself – they are your potential within yourself that you have not yet fully expressed.
Try saying them out loud with “I am….”
For example, I am committed, passionate, and charismatic.
You have this potential.
The “negative” qualities you wrote down also reveal something about yourself – they show you human qualities that you repress within yourself and have deemed “unacceptable.”
However, because you have repressed these qualities within yourself, you may be living your life in opposition to these qualities, which actually makes them stronger.
For example, if you wrote down “flakey” as a quality that really triggers you in others, you may try extra hard to make sure you are not flakey. If you are late to something, you beat yourself up and tell yourself you are bad. You don’t give yourself permission to own this aspect of being human.
But what happens if you own your “negative” projections?
Try saying “I am ….” with the “negative” projections.
For example, I am flakey, inconsistent, and avoidant.
This may be a tough pill to swallow, but there is also a tremendous amount of relief when you give yourself permission to have these human characteristics that we all share.
You are telling yourself that “all parts of me are acceptable and welcome (even the negative parts).”
Owning your “negative” projections is a very loving stance to have toward yourself, and opens yourself up to becoming more whole and complete.
You may want to think about the people that have come into your life that you had strong feelings for, both positive and negative, and ask: What was it about them that I was so attracted to?
Your answer will reveal something about yourself, your projection, that when you own, will bring you more into wholeness.
A common example is the people we fall in love with.
All the qualities we love about them are qualities of our own potential. And all the qualities we dislike, are also parts of us that we have disowned.
The reason you fall in love with them, on an energetic level, is that you are trying to become more like them. They are a reflection of both your potential and the aspects of yourself you tend to repress.
They may also be a reflection of unresolved childhood trauma that still needs compassion and healing.
So the universe is your mirror, and thank goodness it is. If we see it in this way we can know that it is a valuable tool for self-discovery and growing as a person.
Everytime we walk down the street, what would it be like to see the people you are passing as not separate from you, but AS YOU.
How might you treat others, if they were a reflection of yourself?
And how might you treat yourself, if you knew that yourself was so deeply interconnected with others?
We’ve got to realize that we are all in this together. If we can, what to do becomes quite obvious:
Loving ourselves, loving others, having compassion for ourselves, and compassion for others becomes the obvious answer to me.
If we truly knew that we were all just reflections of each other, how could we really treat each other, or ourselves any differently?
How might this transform our world, and our universe, if we all had this realization?
Until next time,
Ellis Edmunds, Psy.D.
P.S. I have a Free Upcoming Mindfulness Class!
Everyday Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety – Free Introductory Class on October 3. Click below to sign up: