The reason for more posts lately – I am having a sense of urgency about how I can help with things going on right now in our world. For much of my life I have felt like a distant distress beacon on a faraway planet…beep, beep, “can you hear me now?” chirp of crickets…nope….try again! I will keep trying!
My drawing this afternoon:
I wanted to share some wisdom from an author who I credit with a large part of my still being here with you today! Her books The Path of Transformation (How Healing Ourselves Can Change the World) and Creative Visualization are some of the very first books I read that taught me personal empowerment was possible. Thank you Shakti Gawain!
http://www.shaktigawain.com/ – her main website
Are Relationships Our Mirrors? – By Shakti Gawain
they are, revealing to us where we need to go with our own inner process, we can see much about ourselves that we would otherwise have a great deal of difficulty learning.
One of the biggest differences between the path of the material world, the
path of transcendence, and the path of transformation is in how we view our
On the material path we see relationships as an end in themselves. We form relationships of various kinds in order to satisfy our needs for love, companionship, security, stimulation, sexual fulfillment, financial stability, and so on. Our focus tends to be on the external form of the relationship and on what is being exchanged, be it friendship, work,
affection, respect, money, or security. Because we view relationships primarily in the light of getting needs met, we tend to try to control them, to try to make them the way we want them. Consciously or unconsciously, we try to manipulate other people in order to get what we want from them. The control we assert limits how we experience our relationships.
On the path of transcendence, relationships are often viewed as impediments that keep us from evolving beyond the physical form. Because our relationships bring out all of our human feelings, needs, and emotional attachments, they are seen as distractions and thus detrimental to our spiritual journey. People who are seriously committed to the transcendent
path try to stay as unattached as possible. Since sexuality is such a strong force physically and emotionally, involving our animal instincts and human feelings, it is often looked upon as the opposite of spirituality. Therefore, many devotees of the transcendent path either take a vow of celibacy and try to avoid sex altogether, or they try to transmute it into a”higher” energy, following sacred disciplines that keep the experience focused on its spiritual aspects.
Embracing Our Humanness
On the path of transformation we embrace both our humanness and our spirituality. Instead of attempting to escape or ignore them, we honor our human needs for relationship, and we learn to be more conscious of how to communicate those needs and how to take good care of ourselves and each other in the process. We also recognize that we are spiritual beings, not
limited to our human form and emotions, but connected to the unlimited oneness of the universe. Rather than denying our sexuality, we embrace it as one of the most important expressions of our life force.
On the path of transformation there is a further vital step we must take, one that allows us to have a different perspective on relationships than we would if we followed a material or spiritual path. On the transformational path we need to recognize that our relationships can be powerful mirrors, reflecting back to us what we need to learn. When we learn how to use these
reflections, our relationships can become one of the most powerful avenues we have for becoming conscious.
Our primary relationship is really with ourselves. Each of us is involved in developing all aspects of our being and bringing them into relationship with one another — becoming whole. Our relationships with other people continually reflect exactly where we are in that process. For example, for many years I yearned to find the right man to be my life partner. I created
many relationships with men who were unavailable or inappropriate in certain ways. Eventually, I realized they were reflecting my own inner ambivalence about committed relationship and the ways that I didn’t truly love myself. It was only after I did some deep emotional healing work, learning to truly love and be committed to myself, that I met a wonderful man who is now my husband.
If we learn to see our relationships as the wonderfully accurate mirrors they are, revealing to us where we need to go with our own inner process, we can see much about ourselves that we would otherwise have a great deal of difficulty learning. Any and every relationship in our lives — with our friends, co-workers, neighbors, our children and other family members as
well as our primary partners — can be a reflection to us in this way. Even an encounter with a stranger can sometimes be an important learning experience.
It’s very difficult to look inside ourselves and see what’s going on in there — particularly to see what we’re unaware of. That’s why it’s important to look at our relationships as mirrors of our inner processes. Used in this way, relationships become one of the most valuable sources of healing and teaching in our lives. To understand how this works, we need to remind ourselves that we each, through our individual consciousness, create and shape how we experience external reality. This is as true in our relationships as in every other area of our lives — the relationships we
create and shape reflect back to us what we are holding within our consciousness. We draw to us and are drawn to people who match and reflect some aspect of ourselves.
Generally, we find that the easiest people to get along with are those who reflect aspects of ourselves that we feel comfortable with and accept — reflections of our primary selves, or complementary energies that we appreciate. These are usually people who we consciously seek out or are drawn to in everyday friendship. If you are primarily a physically active
person who loves sports, you may feel most comfortable with people who are similarly athletic. On the other hand, you may also enjoy a relationship with a friend who is somewhat more intellectual and less physical than you because it stretches your mind in a way that you accept and enjoy — it stimulates a less-developed aspect of you in a way that is comfortable and
non-confrontational. Your friend is reflecting your intellectual self, and you may be reflecting his or her physical or athletic self. In this case, you are both comfortable with the reflections you are receiving, so the relationship is a harmonious one.
Do Opposites Repel or Attract?
The people in our lives who make us uncomfortable, who annoy us, who we feel judgmental or even combative toward, reflect parts of ourselves that we reject — usually aspects of our disowned selves, the shadow side of our personality. If you are a gentle, soft-spoken person, you may be very irritated by a person who seems loud and pushy. Or if you are a direct,
outspoken person you may feel uncomfortable with those who hold back and seem overly timid. The fact is that in both cases you are mirroring each
other’s disowned energies. The quiet person is being shown their undeveloped assertive side, and the aggressive person is being shown their undeveloped reflective side.
Oftentimes we find ourselves attracted to our opposites — people who have developed opposite qualities from the ones we most identify with. In these relationships, we are unconsciously seeking to become whole, and drawn to people who express those energies that are undeveloped in our own personalities. On some level, we recognize that they have the potential to
help us become more balanced.
People who express our opposite aspects can be our most powerful teachers if we allow them to be. But first we must acknowledge that they express what we need to develop in ourselves. Early in a relationship, we often sense that the other person is bringing us exactly what we need. It is, in fact, their differentness that is so attractive to us. However, unless we are able to acknowledge that this person is offering us a reflection of something we need to see in ourselves, the differentness that drew us to them can become a major source of conflict. After a while, we may begin to resent them for the ways they are different and begin trying to change them to be more like us!
Of course, it’s important in any relationship to learn constructive ways to communicate honestly about our needs, our likes and dislikes, and so forth.
However, along with letting the other person know our feelings, including ways we might wish they would change, we need to remind ourselves that we brought them into our lives to teach and inspire us to develop new aspects of ourselves. Our challenge, then, is to be open to discovering the parts of ourselves that they mirror for us, and to learn how we can express those
parts of ourselves more in our own lives.
Difficulties we are having in our relationships often mirror parts of ourselves that we need to heal. Such difficulties may involve a family member, a close friend, a coworker, or even people with whom we have only a brief encounter, such as a clerk in a store. If you are having difficulty with a present relationship, or if you frequently encounter certain kinds of difficult people — for example, a needy person or a person who doesn’t respect your boundaries — take a moment to look closely at what they are reflecting.
Begin by closing your eyes and relaxing for a few moments. Then bring to mind a difficult relationship. Think about what, exactly, bothers you about this person. What quality or trait does this person have that makes you uncomfortable or that you judge?
Once you have identified the quality or qualities that bother you, ask yourself what the positive aspect or essence of that quality might be. For example, if you see them as lazy, what could be the positive aspect of laziness? It could be the ability to relax.
Ask yourself how it might benefit you to develop a bit more of that quality in yourself. Could it help you find more balance in your life? If you are judging someone as lazy, for example, chances are you are a very active, driven type of person who could benefit from developing a greater ability to relax. This person is a mirror, reflecting the disowned quality of
relaxation to you, so that you can become more aware of what you need to develop.
Here are some other examples: If you find someone too needy, they may be reflecting the disowned part of you that has emotional needs. You may be too identified with strength and self-sufficiency and need to get more in touch with your vulnerability. If you find someone too domineering, perhaps you are overly timid and need to develop more assertiveness. If you judge someone as selfish, it’s possible that you are too giving.
Remember that you don’t need to become like this person. They may be too far to the extreme or expressing themselves in a distorted way. However, you can use the discomfort of this relationship to help you discover the essential qualities you need to develop in order to feel more whole and fulfilled.
Once you have identified what quality this person is reflecting to you, imagine yourself having integrated more of that quality in yourself. Imagine yourself more able to relax, for example, or more able to show your vulnerability in close relationships, or more assertive, or more able to receive.