‘Mirror mirror on the wall who is the most beautiful of all?’ ‘Anyone but you!‘ came the sarcastic reply. In one fell swoop, an emotional nuclear bomb blasted pride and sanity the way of the dinosaurs. Just like the vain queen from Snow White ‘everyone’ had more of everything than I could ever hope to have. Yet I also didn’t want to take it out on anyone else either.
Trapped in the leftover wastelands of addiction, nothing grew because nothing died, and nothing died because nothing ever grew. Still the Crone reached out her hand in compassion, but I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to understand her true nature. Instead, I searched frantically for my true self in a house of mirrors. Yet every mirror distorted reality into warped configurations. Some were obvious to see; other not so. The problem was figuring out what was real and what wasn’t?! Sure I could’ve caved into fears of my futile game, but the fact that I was there at all held the key. I had to trust the Universe had put me there for a reason. I had to, I had no choice.
One day, maybe one day, I’d find my one true mirror. Even if I didn’t know what the real me looked like, I searched each and every reflection hoping to find some clue. Krishnamurti had said it could be done through negation of who we weren’t. Ultimately, I had to trust my real self – supposed or otherwise – knew what he looked like. Besides, putting trust and faith in something I knew so little about was what trust was all about.
At first, giving into self-deception seemed easier, but that only served to prolong the agony. What was the point of trying to find peace of mind and heart if in the end I couldn’t take it with me? Or was that just another deception? While the pharaohs had sought to take the material world into the afterlife, who said they were wrong or right? Who said any of them knew at all? So what could I take with me when I died? What if love and not the material was the key? ‘Seek and ye shall find’ Jesus had said. If it worked for Him, it just might work for me too.
While hungry ghosts fed to satiate insatiable appetites on perceptions, misconceptions and misconceptions of perceptions, one glimmer of truth prevailed: perseverance. Trapped like a fly in a spider’s web, I knew one strand had to lead back to the weaver of webs, to the spider. But what if it wasn’t what I thought it was? What if it was actually me? What if the fly was me? And the web? Was the deception I was all of the above and, therefore, doing it all to myself? Now that took a leap of understanding. Yet, if I chose a side and actually was that spider, then every struggle of the fly would send vibrations back along that one strand to the fat bloated spider. If it could never be full no matter how much it ate, maybe all I had to do was stop struggling? But then what? Did I even need to know? A line from Sir Walter Scott‘s epic poem Marmion rang out: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.‘ And what were my deceptions? My beliefs, feelings, interpretations and interpretations of beliefs, thoughts and feelings?
According to my meditation teacher, the ultimate deception was denial of self. If mirrors reflected things non-judgmentally, then the reflection wasn’t me, but a reflection of the seer, the one doing the seeing. Was that person under the tree my true self? It felt like it. Yet reflections also contained what lay behind me, my past. Cleaning that up meant awareness on a scale I’d never known unless I kept my mirror small or skewed. I felt like the driver from the MADD commercial whose vision became increasingly blurred for placing empty glasses in front of one another.
From this simple yet poignant metaphor all I had to do was remove those glasses I’d put there in the first place to see more clearly. Yet if everything I did reflected back who I was, then maybe everything was a mirror – the world, people, animals, hopes, desires, desperation – everything. If so, every day could be seen as new opportunities to polish my mirrors and see myself more clearly. Then maybe I’d know my true purpose in the world. Sure I still had to follow it, but it’d be clearer without costly schools, rigid timetables, stuffy lecture halls, professors, exams or grades.
And so, learning became organic and even fun again. Life itself was like one gigantic multi-dimensional mirror reflecting back perceptions, thoughts and feelings. While the pay wasn’t as good as a ‘regular’ job, it had benefits that no job could match. No wonder I’d had such a hard time leaving it all behind. But turning back was not an option. Thank God for song.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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