Mirroring in two ways 


When we use mirroring in inquiry, it can be done in at least two ways.

For instance, say I see someone as lazy, trying to get away with minimum effort, just going through the motions. How does he mirror me?

I can find what I see in himself in me. The easiest is perhaps to write down what I see in him, turn it around to myself, and then find specific examples of how it applies to me – in that situation, and other situations.

I am lazy. Ex1: I am lazy in the same way as him. I too sometimes go on the internet instead of doing my task. Ex2: I am lazy in how I see him and me. I put a label on both of us, and didn’t initially question it. Ex3: I am sometimes lazy when I do inquiry. I go to familiar answers, instead of looking afresh and seeing what’s really there. I sometimes am satisfied by just casually and intellectually finding answers, instead of letting it really sink in and change me.

What does it say about me? He is lazy, just going through the motions. What does it say about me? What person am I in relation to him, when he is that way? I am better. I am conscientious. I do the right thing. I am more likeable. More dependable. In this case, these may be inflated selves, and I can explore these in inquiry.

The first is a reversal of what I tell myself about him. It may help me see myself as the same boat as him. This is one element of The Work.

The second is exploring how I see myself in relation to him. This is an exploration of deficient or inflated selves. This is an element in the Living Inquiries. (A boomerang, used to find a self we can then look for through the Unfindable Inquiry.)

In both cases, I use how I see him – and me in relation to him – to find what’s more true than my initial assumptions. I get to see how I create these assumptions out of unquestioned and unloved fears.

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We are what we fear


In the classic cave scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, Luke Skywalker meets his nemesis and representative of the dark side, Darth Vader. After a brief sword fight, Luke decapitates Darth Vader, and sees his own face inside of Darth’s helmet.

Luke is what he fears the most. He is the dark side.

That’s how it is for all of us. We are what we fear. And that’s true in a few different ways.

It’s happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within my world. It’s happening within and as (my) awareness. When it’s here, in awareness, it’s what I am.

The world is my mirror. Whatever I see “out there” in the wider world or someone else, is what I know from myself. Whatever stories I have about the world and other people, I can turn them around to myself, and find specific examples of how it’s true. (It may not look the same, or be expressed the same way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find the same here as I have stories about in others.)

It pushes back. When I try to push something away in myself, and in the world, it tends to push back. It wants in. It wants to be acknowledged. Life is kinder than allowing me to reject something for good.

And why? Because life invites me to see what’s more real and true than my initial beliefs about it.

Life invites me to…. Recognize it as happening within and as what I am. Find in myself, as a human being, what I see in others and the wider world. Realize we are all in the same boat.

Life invites me to…. Meet it – the fear and what I fear – with respect, kindness, curiosity. Take a closer look and examine by beliefs about it, and how my perception of it is created by my own mind.

Life invites me to see that what I fear is not how it initially appears. (That doesn’t mean we become passive bystanders to injustice or cruelty, or approve of it. On the contrary. We are in a much better position to do something the more clear and mature we are in our relationship to it.)

How does it push back? We may find ourselves in situations where we encounter it again. We may replay a situation in our minds. We may have certain qualities or emotions surface in ourselves.

For instance, if I see anger as bad and try to push it away, I’ll still find myself in situations where people are angry, perhaps even at me. I’ll still replay memories of people being angry, or imagine someone being angry with me in the future. I’ll still experience anger, even if it’s pushed down and perhaps comes out as frustration or restlessness, or even feeling flat. It doesn’t go away.

P.S. I am aware that the usual interpretation(s) of the cave scene is slightly different. I imagine the more standard interpretation is that Luke has the potential to go over to the dark side, just as his father did. He has the anger. The impulsiveness. The restlessness. He is his father’s son, in that way. The cave experience is a warning, and also an invitation for him to recognize this in himself and take it seriously.

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In the same boat


Whether I work with clients or teach a group, or am a client or student, there is often a sense that we are all in the same boat.

The roles, there and then, are different. One is a facilitator, the other a client. One is an instructor, the others students. After the session or the class, the roles change. They even change during the session or class, sometimes.

Behind the shifting roles, we are all human beings. We are all exploring universal dynamics. What I see in you is what I know from myself.

When I work with someone, as a facilitator or client, it’s often with a sense of a shared exploration of universal dynamics.

Of course, it may be that the person in the facilitator or instructor role has more experience or skill in a certain area. But even that may not be the case.

This makes it much easier. We are in the same boat. I don’t need to pretend.

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Whose stuff?


Whose stuff is it?

When something appears in my awareness, perhaps something that feels uncomfortable, where does it come from? Is it all mine? Mine or yours? Humanity’s? Does it matter?

For me, it’s a yes to the three first and mostly no on the last.

It’s all mine. (a) It’s all happening in my world. It’s all happening within my awareness. It’s all happening as what I am here and now.

(b) It’s all reflecting what’s here in me. If I recognize it “out there” it’s because I know it from myself. It’s reminding me of what’s here in me, in my human self.

So it’s all mine as (a) what I am, that which all happens within and as for me, and (b) who I am, this human self.

It’s mine or yours. Some of it seems more clearly mine. It’s familiar to me. It’s from my own background, my own history. It’s familiar hangups, wounds, traumas. Some of it may seem more like yours. It’s familiar to you.

This is how we conventionally differentiate between mine and yours, and it can be quite helpful in some situations. It can, for instance, be used to prioritize.

And it’s all differentiated by my thoughts, somewhat arbitrarily, and based on my own assumptions. (And perhaps even fearful or wishful thinking, in an attempt to uphold a fearful or wishful identity for myself.)

It’s all of humanity’s. The more I am familiar with the dynamics in me, and also in others, I see it’s all quite universal. It belongs to humanity. It’s shared, and also personal since it appears here in me.

Does it matter? Not really, most of the time. If it’s here, I can take care of it. Can I find love for it? What do I find when I examine the beliefs responding to what’s here? Or even creating it? What do I find when I try to find the threat, or the deficient self, or the compulsion?

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It’s all here


Some spiritual teachers and teachings makes it sound either/or, or black and white.

The other side of it, is that it’s all here.

Whatever I see out there, in others or the past or future, is already here. What any concept refers to is already here. It may appear small, and take some looking, but it’s here. At least, that’s been my experience so far.

Both ends of any polarity is here. It happens within and as life, awareness, what I am.

Either of these ways of talking about it – as either/or or all here – are teaching strategies. Both have truth in them. Either one can be helpful for some people in some situations. Neither is, or even points to, any absolute or final truth.

And for me, the it’s all here pointers resonate the most, and is more interesting and juicy as an exploration. At least so far.



There are two ways of using situations and other people as mirrors.

What do I see out there? How would I describe it? Where do I find it in myself?

What does that situation say about me? What does it bring up in me?

For instance, I see someone as fearful and demanding. Can I find that in myself? Can I meet those parts of me with love?

And, I see someone as fearful and demanding. What does it say about me?

The first one is the typical “world as mirror” approach. The second is used in the Living Inquiries. And both can be very helpful.

Friends with mediocrity


It was so wonderful when I really understood I was mediocre.
– Byron Katie

A few ways that I am mediocre:

(a) What I see in others and the wider world is also here. The stories I have about the wider world also fits me, and I can find specific examples of how they do. The images and thoughts I have about the world are my world, and they are – quite literally – me. The world is my mirror. In that sense, it’s all balanced and I am completely mediocre.

(b)  Everything in this field of experience is awakeness, presence, love. It’s all made up of the same. What a thought may label the world, others, me, I, it’s all appearances of awakeness, presence, love.

(c) In very much in life, I am mediocre in a very ordinary sense. There are innumerable things I am not very good at. And in that, I am just like anyone else.

(d) What I don’t know and am not familiar with is, most likely, infinitely much larger than what I do know and am familiar with. In that, I am also like anyone else.

(d) Whatever is familiar to me is mediocre, in my experience. I may be very skilled in something, and yet, through being skilled and familiar to it, it becomes mediocre to me. There is always further to go.

In each of these cases, it’s a huge relief to find how I am mediocre. It dissolves the appearance of separation. It humbles me in a very good way. It shows me there is further to go.

Cleaning out the world


I keep seeing this:

The process of finding clarity is a cleaning out of the whole world.

It’s a cleaning out of my whole world, which is a cleaning out of the whole world – as it appears to me.

Everything I see in the world….

(a) Mirrors what’s here. Thoughts I see out there in others mirror what’s here. The tendency to take thoughts as true I see out there mirrors what’s here. The emotions I imagine out there mirror the emotions here, and so on. The clarity or confusion I imagine in others mirrors what’s here. The suffering or peace I imagine in others mirrors what’s here.

(b) Happens within my own world of images The world, as it appears to me, appears that way due to my own world of images, my own innocent questions about the world. My world is created by my own images, labels, assumptions and stories about the world, about everything and everyone.

(c) Happens within and as awareness. It’s all the play of Spirit.

So any thorough cleaning out is, in a very real sense, a cleaning out of the whole world. It’s a cleaning out of the whole world as it appears to me, since the world as it appears to me is me.

In one way, it’s an endless process. The world has an apparently endless supply of beliefs, suffering, confusion.

And in another way, it’s not endless.

Unraveling one belief may unravel several others. As I get more familiar with the dynamics of beliefs, thoughts in general tend to have less stickiness. As I find my way into welcoming emotions, and notice that any boundary between “it” and “me” is imagined, they have a way to be seen, felt, loved, release, and flow through with less or no (identified with) resistance.

As I find what’s more true for me than the most basic labels – emotions, pain, suffering, clarity, beings, the world, me, I – these too are less sticky, they find less or no foothold. And that also goes for very basic assumptions, such as clarity is better than confusion, peace is better than suffering, and so on.

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Cleaning out the whole world


What I am seeing is that the dark nights are a cleaning out of my whole world, which is – to me, in my experience – a cleaning out of the whole world.

All the suffering in my world comes up to be seen, felt, loved, to have it’s life. And that means – to me, in my experience – all the suffering in the world, any suffering any being has ever experienced, as it appears to me.

All beliefs in my world surface to be seen, felt, loved, identified, inquired into, and released from being taken as true. And that means – to me – all the beliefs in the whole world, every beliefs I imagine any being ever having had or being able to have.

The distinction between personal and shared/universal can be useful in some situations. And it’s also not really true. All I see out there in the world – in history, in movies, in mythology – every last bit of it is here. It’s all happening within my own world of images. It’s all reflecting dynamics, suffering, beliefs that’s right here.

It’s all what eventually, sooner or later, want’s to surface here to be seen, felt, loved, recognized as love, liberated from being taken as true.

So to me, the cleaning out of my world, is – in my experience – quite literally a cleaning out of the whole world. It’s a cleaning out of my whole world, including everything I see and imagine out there in the wider world, in history, in scenarios about the future, in this world in the present, in other beings whether historical or mythological.

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Individual and collective


I received an email from Barry where he suggests that much of what’s surfacing for me now is collective more than individual.

I can find where that’s true for me. It’s obviously collective in the sense of shared and universal. The emotions, experiences and beliefs surfacing here are shared by many, they belong to the human experience.

Also, what I see in others happens within and as awareness, it happens within and as my world. It’s labeled, interpreted and understood through my images and stories. And what these labels and stories refer to mirror what’s right here in me at a human level. It’s all Big Mind/Heart, and the wider world mirrors me as a human being.

So individual or collective doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter so much if what’s surfacing here can be labeled one or the other.

In either case, they are emotions and experiences wishing to be seen, felt and loved. Wishing to be met with and recognized as love.

In either case, they are thoughts taken as true, wishing to be inquired into and live more in clarity.

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I listened to The Psychiatrist and Rudolph Hess, a BBC Witness podcast, and it seems the British psychiatrist evaluating Hess was quite eager to label him insane and even weak. I wonder if this comes from a desire to see him as much as possible as “other”? It seems that some try to do something similar with Breivik.

It’s understandable, and yet, the drawback is that the normalcy of it may be overlooked. Their actions makes a great deal of sense from within their worldview. It’s quite logical, as it is for most of us. And both of them mirror each of us. When I turn around each of my beliefs about them, I’ll find examples of how I do the same. (Of course expressed, on the surface, in a different form.)

Feels completely ordinary


What happens here really feels completely ordinary.

The world is a mirror. What I see in the world is right here. It mirrors what’s right here, and this field of awareness it’s all happening within is right here. And what’s here is also a mirror for each other being. It goes both ways.

It’s also a process of healing, maturing and aligning with reality as a human being in the world, and a process of clarifying and identifications releasing. And that too is completely ordinary. It’s universally human.

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Knowing you know


Some teachers seem to come from a sense of curiosity, receptivity and shared exploration.

They know you know, even if you don’t always yet know it yourself. You just need a reminder, a pointer to rediscover it for yourself.

Adyashanti and Byron Katie are good examples of this, as are Douglas Harding/Richard Lang and more locally for me, Todd and Barry. The Big Mind process, along with The Work and the headless experiments, are also seem to reflect this approach.

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What I describe is myself


Whenever I describe anything – other people, world events, the universe, mythology, dreams – I describe myself.

I describe my own world of images and interpretations, my own mental overlay of what’s happening.

The world is a mirror for me and what’s already here – qualities, characteristics, dynamics. What I see out there is what’s alive here, and I place it “out there” through a story.

And I describe my own field of experience, what happens within and as what I am – awareness, capacity for experience and awareness.

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Mirror both ways


One of the reminders I keep returning to:

What I see “out there” – in the wider world, in the past or future – is right here.

And what I see right here is also “out there” – at least as a potential.

What I see “out there” is filtered through my own images and interpretations, my own mental field overlay. I can notice this when I close my eyes, bring attention to what’s in the other sense fields (sensations, sound, sight, taste, smell) and then bring attention to the mental field overlay, the images that organize, located and interpret what’s appearing in each sense field. I can also create images of the room, the building, the neighborhood, people, places, events, past and future – and see how these are all mental field creations.

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Two-way mirror


I keep coming back to this:

The world is my mirror, and it goes both ways.

1. What I see out there, is also here.

(a) The stories I have about the wider world, equally apply to me. Whatever qualities, characteristics and dynamics I see out there, in others and the wider world, are right here. I can find specific examples of this to ground it and make it more real for myself, and I can always find one more. Whatever story I have about someone else or the wider world, apply to me, and not only at times in the past, but right now in how I relate to the ones I have this story about.

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Release of others


Release of others through self-familiarity.

As I get more familiar with myself, there is a natural release of others from my expectations and shoulds.

There are several ways this happens:

I respond to my own images and beliefs, not to what others do or what life comes up with. I even trigger my beliefs through my stories of what is happening. And that’s how it is for others as well. I trigger my own beliefs. They trigger theirs. I take responsibility for my own choices and actions, aim at acting with as much kindness and wisdom as possible, and can be there for others. But how they respond and relate to it is their responsibility. Again, it’s their process and learning.

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Gifts of projections


There are many gifts in projections.

The most obvious is that projections allows us to orient and navigate in the world. Our world of images create a sense of space and time, places whatever happens in the sense fields in space. connects images of past, present, and future events, places boundaries to create the appearance of objects, filters, interprets, and makes sense of it all. This can most easily be noticed through simple sense field explorations. Without our world of images, we wouldn’t function.

This world of images also creates an infinitely rich world. We can place boundaries anywhere. Find connections anywhere. Look at any (imagined) object from any number of perspectives. Create any number of contexts which dramatically changes how we see something. We quite literally create our own worlds through the images we place on top of the sense fields.

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Creating a problem, selling the solution


It is one of the oldest tricks in the book: Create a problem, then sell the solution.

Or more often, create the appearance of a problem.

Christianity creates the problem of sin, and offer the solution of salvation.

Buddhism creates the problem of delusion, and offer the solution of awakening. (Of course, you can also say that the suffering is real, and awakening is one solution – but it is not by any means the only practical solution.)

The fashion and body industry creates an impossible ideal, and offers makeup, jewelry, clothes and dieting and exercise programs as the solution.

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Healing and maturing beyond the mirror


Exploring the world as a mirror is a great way to invite in maturing and healing. I see dynamics or characteristics in others, and see, feel and eventually find appreciation for it in myself.

The next step – going beyond the mirror – is equally interesting, and takes the maturing and healing to another level.

I notice that my world is my own world of images. The overlay of images on pure perception that makes sense of the world. The overlay that filters, interprets, sets imagined boundaries, imagined labels and so on. That is what creates my world.

So maturing and healing has to happen there too, in that world of images. It is, in a quite literal sense, a healing and maturing of those images.

As I notice that – in immediacy, as it happens – there is already an invitation for healing and maturing.

And as I work with it further – through inquiry, visualization, prayer and so on – there is an invitation for even further healing and maturing.

And even an invitation for what I am to notice itself more clearly, to become familiar with itself, for the center of gravity of what I take myself to be to shift into what already is.

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Don’t look outside of yourself


Don’t look outside of yourself for answers, or for something to complete yourself.

It is common advice, and can be understood in a few different ways.

First, in a conventional sense, it is an invitation to find in myself what I am looking for outside of myself. I may be looking for advice, and remember to (also) ask myself and find it in myself. I may be looking for something to complete me, and remember to give it to myself and find it in myself. It is a way to learn to trust what is here, see that it is already here, and that something outside of myself – teachings, people, situations – can remind me of what is already here. The world is my mirror.

It is an invitation to not get caught up in blind projections, in blind attractions and aversions. I may get advice from others, and enjoy things I am attracted to in others, but also remember to find it right here now. I can see it. Feel it. Find appreciation for it.

Then, I can notice that it is already happening. It is already that way. I may be looking for answers outside of myself, I may be looking outside of myself for something to complete me, and it may be outside of myself in a conventional sense, but is it really outside of myself?

It is all happening within my own world of images. The wider world and me that I see all this in is my own world of images. There is no outside and inside here.

The qualities and dynamics these images refer to are also here now. The wider world is a reminder, a mirror, of what is already here now. There is an inside and outside, but they mirror each other instantly and perfectly in this way.

And it is all happening as what I am and everything is. As that which all experience happens within, as and as an expression of.

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I can find wholeness as who and what I am.

As who I am, this human self, I can find wholeness by noticing here what I see in the wider world. I can see, feel into and eventually find appreciation for it, whatever it is. The world is my mirror.

And when what I am notices itself, I find that there is already a wholeness there. It is that which all happens within and as.

To the extent I find the first form of wholeness, there is less neediness, less looking for something to complete me, less being caught up in attractions and aversions. This is an ongoing process before and within what I am noticing itself.

Life as is invites such a reorganization, it invites us to grow up. And when what I am notices itself, the invitation is even more pronounced.

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All for me


A few ways it is all for myself…

Whatever I do, I (already) do it for myself. I only need to notice.

When I help others or live in a way that seems good for the larger whole, I see that I do it for my own satisfaction. It feels good. It gives me joy. I do it for my sake.

Even when I follow a belief I have, I do it for my sake. A story seems true for me, so I act as if it is true because it seems right. As I find what is more true for me than the initial belief, I may change my actions or not, but I still do it for my sake. (The Work.)

And when I complain about something I am doing, I can do a simple inquiry.

For instance, I can make a list of things I do that I complain about, in a “have to” format. I have to pay taxes. I can then go through the list and change it to I want to… because. I want to pay taxes, because… I don’t want the consequences of not paying. (I am actually happy to pay taxes, but it is an example.)

So here I am seeing that I am already doing it for myself. I thought I was doing it because the government made me do it, but I now realize I am doing it out of kindness to myself – I don’t want the fines and possible jail time for not paying taxes. As I become more clear in this way, I may continue to do what I am doing, I may change the strategy, or I may decide to not do it anymore.  (This inquiry comes from Marshall Rosenberg.)

Also, any advice that comes up for me is for myself, even if initially a story tells me it is for someone else. He should be more open hearted > I should be more open hearted. That feels more true. That is what I want for myself.

This goes for advice I tell myself comes from myself, and advice that comes from someone else – even if it appears to be for yet another person. It doesn’t matter. It it all for me. I can always find how it is true for me, and how I want it for myself.

And anything happening is an invitation for me to grow and wake up, it is for myself. For instance, anything happening is an invitation for me to investigate my beliefs around it, and find what is (already) more true for me.

It doesn’t matter what it is, where it is, or who it apparently is happening to. It is still all for me, as an invitation to grow and wake up.

And finally, all is the play of God, for God. All is the play of what I am – that which all happens within and as, for what I am.

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