The Soul Mirror

Without a mirror of some sort none of us would know what we look like.  We could hear descriptions from others, or get an idea from drawings of how they see us.  But with the exception of photos or film, getting an idea of our own image comes down to seeing it in a mirror.

Similarly we can’t get a picture of what we’re really like as personalities, our human make-up, the shape of our nature except that others see into us and somehow feed it back.  They can get a picture of us better than we can, because we live inside our nature, just as we live inside our heads and look out through our eyes, so we need that mirror.

But no one else actually sees us that clearly either, because they look at us through the lens of their own personalities.  They are influenced in their judgement on us by our impact on them.  If we have qualities that annoy them, or take actions that they would have taken for entirely different reasons, then their assumptions about us are loaded by their starting place – they probably won’t see us clearly at all.  Unlike their ability to see our physical bodies, their judgement of our personalities is inevitably coloured in some way.

So if we would choose to know what we are like as people – we need the equivalent of a mirror for our souls.  Something that reflects back our reality to us.

And that mirror has to be true.  Just as there are trick mirrors that can make us look thinner or fatter, so there could be ‘untrue’ mirrors to the soul.  Ones that similarly flatter or insult. Now if we didn’t know through measurement which mirror had been crafted as a true one, we would have an open choice as to how we might see ourselves.  We could continually choose the flattering mirror and call it ‘true’ in order to avoid some hard realities about ourselves.

Similarly, when looking for truths about our inner selves we have choices of flattering mirrors to the soul, or even insulting mirrors, should we be so programmed that we’re at home with humiliation.

So we are in need of 2 things in order to create a ‘true’ soul-mirror.  Firstly, someone who lived a ‘true’ life, i.e. a true example of how our humanity should be; someone who did not acquiesce, flatter or insult in order to manufacture unwarranted social status and so gave us the scale by which we can measure ‘true’.  And secondly some kind of living soul-mirror into which we might gaze and see the truest representation of our current state of being as is possible.  

And just as it is virtually impossible to stand in front of a physical mirror and not hear a cacophony of voices passing judgement on our physical appearance (from our childhood influences to social pressure to be a certain shape, colour, complexion etc) so similarly it is going to be incredibly difficult to sit in front of a soul-mirror and not hear innumerable claims on our perception of what we are like: other voices, claimants, invaders and obligations that distort and undermine our capacity to stand alone, unprotected in front of the soul-mirror.  What’s more, any desire that we might have for social status from outsiders will similarly undermine our desire to stand in front of that soul-mirror.  They predispose us towards choosing less true mirrors, or turning away from the image that we see, as it might not feel acceptable to the group.

But what if there is a way to stand in front of our soul-mirror, alone, and be at peace with what we find?

Well, here’s my pitch – there is a chance to find such a true mirror.  It is offered by One who has unconditional positive regard for us, just as a physical mirror is unconditional and unflinching in our presence.  So the soul-mirror that is God waits for us to turn to Him and know His truth, Her love for us.  And waits for us to be able to withstand our own truths in God’s presence, because without His soul-love for us we cannot accept our own truths – they are too painful to look at.  Because as we grew up in a world that does not love us as we need, we all became reconciled to the unconscious compromises and second-bests that now form our being.  Reconciled to never having enough space to be me, to being unfulfilled, not wanting enough out of life, reconciled to the limits of our own environment that cannot be resisted, negotiated, overcome by the infant soul.  So we are reconciled to the world around us – it’s limits, our disappointments, our half-living.  Not to God.  

But that God is still there, ever present, but not present where we are living our lives.  That God waits for us to turn around and discover Him/Her.  To come and be reconciled to a different reality – to our possibilities when we know our truest selves, when we live authentically to our truth, when we live in loving partnership with God.

That means turning around (the literal translation of the old religious word ‘repenting’) to face God internally, and then representing that authentically externally, socially.

That takes some doing – that standing in front of the mirror and waiting and wanting to see the truth.  It takes time to know that it is safe to see the truth, because it takes time to become convinced that God really does love us.  But it is the core of our life’s journey, the place from which all transformation emanates.  The place where the eternal life of love breaks through.

And in case I forget – the True Human who brings into history the validation of this ‘mirror’ was crucial to the formula.  Because somehow we need convincing that God is of a certain nature.  Firstly: within reach, present and loving. Secondly: all-knowing and fair – asking us to stand alone in complete vulnerability in order to know acceptance.  And thirdly: desirous of reconciliation and restoration through our own truth becoming present to us and God’s truth lighting up our lives with the dazzling potential of what being human really is.

So Jesus, the True Human, comes to us through History, inviting us to turn and inhabit the Realm of God.  To be reconciled to the God to whom we turn such that we are ready to stand in front of that God as our soul-mirror, showing us who we really are, how deeply loved and lovable we are, how we might manage our limitations as we allow the Truth to set us Free – our truth and the truth of God eternal welcoming us into the life of forever.