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The Positive Approach - Lesson 25

Look in the Mirror

By Peter Shepherd

Listen to the Lesson:

It is a psychological truth that we often see in others what we don't like about ourselves. When there is an aspect of ourselves that we find unacceptable it is human nature to hide it from ourselves, even to pretend the opposite, and instead project those feelings we have about ourselves onto others. It is easier to think that a friend is lazy than to accept we are lazy ourselves. We may even assume that another person is lazy even if there is no objective evidence for that.

If you have the belief that who you are is not good enough in some way then the likelihood is you will put it off onto others, thinking they are not good enough, or feeling smug and believing you are better or smarter than they are, instead of doing the inner work you need to do and taking responsibility for it being YOUR issue. When you are willing to take responsibility for your issues, and own them, then you have the power to change them. Owning them does not mean judging them. Healing requires release of judgment.

We have much more power, in a spiritual sense, then is usually recognized. For example, if in your mind and heart you resolve an upset with a family member, e.g. you find understanding and acceptance where before you had none, which will be "picked up" by the other person and he or she will likely write or phone you, even if they hadn't for years before. They respond differently to you, not because they have changed, but because you have changed your outgoing vibration that attracts your experiences.

And negative things, too, are mirrored in this way. If you feel resentful much of the time for the hardships you have faced in life, you are likely to attract more reasons to be resentful. And you will attract other people who are resentful themselves, perhaps toward you. And you will see people being resentful even when in fact they are not.

What you focus on, even subconsciously, you create. You didn't make that person resentful, angry, argumentative or whatever, they are responsible for themselves, but you did "pull them in" to your space. Like attracts like. In this way, life acts as a mirror to what is going on inside you.

The issues you have in life are never about another person, in truth they are about yourself. Think of all the troublesome people in your life - the ones who make you miserable - and create a one-word description for each of them. It might include words like 'mean' for your friend who refuses to lend his CD's, or 'confrontational' for your antagonistic colleague at work. You may think of 'demanding' for your perfectionist squash partner and 'humorless' for that frowning assistant at the computer shop.

Once you have your list of negative characteristics, give consideration to the possibility that these traits may actually be your own qualities, which are denied and rejected. Those around us may serve as mirrors for what we won't accept. Just think about the ways in which you may be mean, and are you sometimes too confrontational? Can you also be demanding and show a lack of humor?

You can use this information to help you see yourself more objectively, to bring to the surface issues that you have previously buried.

It's important to recognize that the opposite is true as well, so repeat the above exercise with the people in your life whom you admire and create a list of your positive characteristics. People also reflect our positive aspects that we may not recognize or acknowledge in ourselves.

The beliefs and resulting feelings you have, whether conscious or suppressed and denied, map out the course of your life. This includes the relationships you find yourself attracting into your life. Can you look back at some of your most significant relationships and see patterns? Many times we attract the same type of person over and over again because of our unconscious need to work out past emotional issues. Each person serves as a mirror, a reflection of the energy we emit into the world.

To move forward we need to change the energy we put out so that we attract the people and circumstances that match our true goals, our true self, rather than the suppressed and unfinished business of childhood or the decisions we made as a result of painful past experiences. Placing blame on others only sets the stage for that situation to reappear until we acknowledge the life lesson and evolve as a person. Healing comes from taking self responsibility and changing our perception of the event or person.

Until we become spiritually and emotionally (fully) conscious, we will attract conditions that feel familiar, even if they are destructive to ourselves. The key is to recognize the lessons that the situations of our life are mirroring to us, so we can become conscious of our hidden erroneous beliefs and feelings, primarily about ourselves, and then move forward from that stage. If we grow to genuinely love and value ourselves, that will be the energy we put out into the world and it will be reflected back accordingly.

Power is recognizing that you are the source of your life - that you create in your subjective reality (your beliefs) and this is mirrored in the physical world through the power of God, of which we are each a part. The vibration and energy of God's power is Love. If our creation is not of love then it comes back and hits us in the face and from that we learn. That's Karma.

To be able to create with the vibration of unconditional love, we need to be clear in the area in our minds. If you attempt to manifest a belief that is not entirely congruent in your belief system, i.e. you have suppressed counter-beliefs and identities, then this can lead to a dissociation from reality - an upset with the world that it is not following one's wishes. One can become confused as to what is mental and subjective, and what is objective physical reality.

Effective and soundly-based techniques are needed to obtain a truly congruent and clear mind from which to create "at source" - connected and one with God. This is a tricky area as the concepts of creating reality are a high-level spiritual viewpoint and at odds with the way our culture has taught us to think. At source one simply "knows," whereas from a viewpoint within the game of life one "wishes" or "wants" or very often "needs" and "fears."

As a part of God one is responsible for all that is; as an individual person one is responsible simply for one's self and for behaving in an ethical way that does not harm the freedoms and rights of others. One is also responsible for fulfilling one's agreements and obligations - for this reason it is important to make these consciously so that one is happy to do one's part.

So we are both a Games-Maker and a Games-Player and I feel it is important to recognize these complementary but differing aspects of our being - the spiritual Higher Self and the human being (physical body-mind personality) identified with and intimately involved with the game of life.

What we can best do is live more consciously. For example, when a person does something that harms others, whether deliberately or in error, he can either take responsibility or he can make himself right in the situation, rationalize to justify his action so that it wasn't actually wrong but justified. Self right, the other wrong. It's a human need 'to be right' but not a very aware one. This justification provides a motive for the action and is expressed most commonly as criticism of the one who was originally wronged. It is a 'child' viewpoint as opposed to a responsible 'adult' one.

Criticism and gossip is nearly always a projection of suppressed guilt or shame. Therefore it very often occurs that one is criticized and that criticism is not accurate. Maybe the criticism is too generalized, maybe it is partly true and partly false, or maybe completely wrong but rather it's how the other person sees things through a fixed idea of their own (such as resulting from justifications of their own actions). But anyway, the criticism causes one to compulsively introspect and wonder - could that be true? Is there something to that? In doing so it may press a button, some insecurity or fear, and maybe re-stimulate a past painful experience that has similarities to the present situation or in which a similar criticism was made (maybe one that in different circumstances was accurate).

So, the criticism has pressed some buttons for you and these are indeed things you can learn from. But it is important not to identify with the criticism and you need to separate that from the actual facts of the matter, i.e. what is going on for this person, his or her actions, thoughts, feelings and further actions. And what is the right thing for you to say and do in response.

If you are clear within yourself about what is right, and you are not taking on board the other person's projection as if it were your own, then you can relax and deal with it from a viewpoint of love and compassion - which is certainly not the same as to be soft or irrational. Heart and mind work together, they need each other, in order to get things done - the right things - effectively.

Often there are conflicts between people. Remember the conflict - for you - is only one if you make it so. The other has a different view from you. OK, maybe you can introduce him to a different view, maybe not. He may see it as a conflict but you don't have to. As long as you do, probably he will too. So the goal is for you to have acceptance of his different point of view - not to agree with it necessarily but to grant it the right to exist. There's room in the universe for all points of view.

If you don't feel you can have compassion for the other, consider: what threat does he pose to you? Why do you feel a lack in that area? What need corresponds to that lack? What belief underlies this and where does it come from? Can you change it to a better one?

Often we have to deal with frustration - all that love we've flowed and that's built up like a big wall because it hasn't been received. Relationships deteriorate when communication breaks down - when viewpoints are withheld because of fear about what the other will think. This is frustrating and the charge (that is always frustration of love not received) builds up and is suppressed, but is still there like a wall between you. Only realization that we create the wall can bring it down and only honest communication can restore the relationship.

Again we may feel an obligation to help another who has wounds to be healed. This is a belief that needs clearing, because it leads to a co-dependent relationship and that's good for neither you or the other. We need to be clear that our feelings about the other person are not colored by our feelings about ourselves (projection). And also to discriminate between a loving empathy for the other person and his feelings (that are the result of his own frustrations and distorted beliefs) and sympathy, which is usually an identification with the other that is of no help to either person. The only person who can heal another is that person him/herself. We can be of assistance if that person wants and requests it, but that's all, and if they don't want that then that's very much their right.

The suffering that is ingrained in our hearts and minds from earlier times is not actually a barrier to the resolution of our conflicting beliefs in the present. It's only still felt now because it's being continually recreated in the present, subconsciously (somehow it must represent a safe solution to us, a justification or explanation of our problems). When we finally learn the lessons of our past experience - now - and release the beliefs that are not really our own, that's the end of ties to the past, because we will no longer be recreating that stuff. It's conscious now and we don't consciously create anything that's bad for us.

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Next Lesson: 25. Creating Your Reality
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