Who Am I?

20 Comments »

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We all reflect the world and are reflected back. 

The more we seek this reflection from outside, the more distorted our own mirror becomes. If we ourselves are not clear, every angle reflected back upon us becomes distorted – distorted not only by the events, people, and surfaces we are bouncing off from, but distorted from the outset by the fact that what we are putting out is not steady, not contiguous, not clear.

By getting in touch with our core – through meditation, silence, and prayer – what we put out toward the world slowly starts to come into focus. The inside begins to match the outside. This is a process. Some days will have more clarity than others. This is neither good nor bad. It just is.

The longer we put off knowing our inner selves, the more we avoid looking in the mirror of practice, the more we will continue to try to know ourselves by seeking out reflections in the world. The overculture is happy to tell us how we should look, act, buy, and be. Our friends and family will come forth with their agendas. Whom do we believe?


Sun Mirror by digitallatina

We can learn to trust ourselves.

We can learn to become our own best mirror. In cultivating internal clarity, we see what is reflected back at us more clearly. We also reflect others in the clearest light we can.

20 Responses to “Who Am I?”

  1. Lyssa Heartsong

    No greater act of love have I done for myself, to reclaim this power. Not always an easy process, but a worthwhile one. This is how you find your love.

    Reply
  2. Samara

    I think the reflections of others can be a good growth tool in many ways. For one, pointing out my blind spots. And for another, having friends and family who see me as my best self. Although this self is imperfect and not fully formed, their generous view of me reflects the “me” that I want to give being to. I think this is not in disagreement with what you are saying. Maybe this can only happen in a real way when you know who you are–the beautiful and the ugly–and you are clear who you are choosing to become. That’s where the friends’ reflections can help call you into being. You know they only see part of you, but the part they see is what you want to cultivate anyway.

    Reply
    • Thorn

      I agree that the reflections of those who have my best interests at heart can be very helpful. But/and if my internal mirror is highly distorted, I’m still going to receive their reflections in a twisted manner.

      That said: Good friends can be excellent mirrors for one another! The more work we do to know ourselves, the more help we are to each other.

      Reply
  3. Samara

    Oops. I meant I can see where sometimes I act out of desire for approval rather than from my inner knowing.

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  4. Jocelyn

    I have wondered (recently) what is it like to be a person who has never socialized ever, yet has no mental disability at all. Like, what would it be like to have been born into an environment in which there is no one else to communicate with. It’s a philosophical approach to the thought, does every social interaction from invitro and on shape the human being or the consciousness that we describe as mind? If so, would it be the sole manager of the mind? I’ve also have channeled a great amount of word about or relation to mercury, and how we are mercury spinning in space, using each other to see the rest of the Universe around us, within the reflections of our shiny smooth mirrored surfaces. We have to spin at just the right angles, and dance a magical dance around every other human, celestial object and celestial being in order to understand the big picture (eventually) if we’d only use each other to mirror who we are. It was a very good piece of writing that spoke to me, and convinced me it is possible. (Yet I also think we can look within… but then again, when I look within I use the words that my environment taught me, and the simulacrum evidence my mind makes up to simulate what I have experienced.) Basically, I do believe we are all mirrors (similar to that of what mercury looks like and how mercury represents wisdom), as well as sole/soul microcosms of the vastness that Source, which creates us all.

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  5. Cath

    I was granted the gift once, when I was at a low ebb and barely pulling myself up by the edges of my fingernails, of having a hundred different people tell me how they saw me. (A website we had all shared instituted a ratings system which enabled comments, and they all used it the very first day.)

    You’ve never seen anyone so blown away in all your life as I was. My inner mirrors were badly distorted, skewed toward every negative quality in my life–but that’s not what my hundred friends saw. Comment after comment said “you changed my life” “you saved my life” “you helped me when no one else could.”

    I think that’s the point where I finally stopped buying into the social teaching that we are not allowed to acknowledge the goodness of our own selves. After that kind of overwhelming input, I had to accept that I really AM a good and decent person. After that it was much easier to see myself honestly, as I truly am, rather than through the distorted vision a lifetime’s negative conditioning had taught me.

    It was a couple years after that before my life finally got back on the path I wished to travel, but that was the key point for everything that has followed. That was truly the Goddess at the Crossroads, working her healing magic in my life.

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Cath, thank you *so much* for sharing this experience. How powerful. That is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about. What a great illustration. Thanks for this teaching, I’m sure many could stand to read and be nourished by it.

      Reply
      • Cath

        You’re welcome, Thorn. It’s amazing how spontaneous feedback can polish those distorted mirrors right into shape! I was truly lucky… well, that’s my first thought, “I was truly lucky” and then this Voice speaks in my mind, “And I was truly tired of seeing you stagnate on the Path, dear…” *sheepish smile* I bet She was!

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  6. Lise

    Thank you, Thorn, & the other commenters.
    Without lessening these powerful truths about self-awareness and integrity, though, may I turn them on their heads in question? I may have a solid internal sense of who I am — but if other people experience me as someone else, that person is real, too. If my actions are interpreted differently than I intended them to be, if my words are perceived with different meanings, if someone projects onto their perception of me all sorts of characteristics that I’m convinced are not me at all — those exist, in other people’s perceptions. And when they react in response to that very different version of me, then it becomes even more real. We can’t control other people’s actions, but (I think) we have a responsibility to be as clear as we can in our interactions, and to try to bring our internal perceptions of self into congruence with how others experience us.
    That’s awkwardly put (and this interface is hard to edit postings); I hope some sense comes through. This question looms large for me, right now, as I move into a more solitary practice. The value of sharing spiritual practices with group is that they offer us mirrors to reflect ourselves back to us – and to adjust / reevaluate when the image reflected back doesn’t match what we perceive. To bust us on our shit, to keep us honest. But how can we discern true, when that reflection seems – to us – to be badly distorted?

    Reply
    • Cath

      Hello, Lise. I had a really harsh lesson about that recently; I hope you (and Thorn!) don’t mind if I share it. (The reason I think it’s relevent here is that Thorn was part of the resolution; I responded to her post about setting an intention for the year and the results were immediate and extremely surprising.)

      Please understand that I’m not talking about simple feedback in Circle about whether a person manages to send energy or not; my thoughts are more about the intersection–or not–of perception and truth. Here’s the part of your post that triggered my thoughts. You said, “If my actions are interpreted differently than I intended them to be, if my words are perceived with different meanings, if someone projects onto their perception of me all sorts of characteristics that I’m convinced are not me at all — those exist, in other people’s perceptions.”

      Yes, they do. But they are NOT you, and I believe it’s a mistake to accept them as some sort of truth. Falsehoods exist as well as truths, and while it might be another person’s reality to believe that you are the way they see you, it’s important to realize their reality is distorted.

      Here’s my experience. I poured energy and money into a friend I considered my sister without asking for return–energy both in the form of constant healing and protection work on her behalf, and in the form of a tie between us (that I allowed when she repeatedly placed it) to keep her own energy steady. I shared not just material goods but also much teaching about energy work, and I even asked favors to get her help from other Pagans on many occasions.

      She had confided in me multiple times about a family problem. After much work, I finally saw the dynamics of the problem very clearly and told her how to solve it. She responded by writing to my partner about how she really sees me… as a totally contemptible person: a master manipulator, a liar, a drama queen and hypochondriac, a user and abuser, incompetent and spiritually vacant.

      When people who know me hear this, they laugh, sometimes hysterically. It isn’t the way ANYONE else sees me, nor could I bear to go on living if any part of it were true.

      Does she truly see me this way? Yes indeed. It is her distorted reality, just as it was my distorted reality to see her as a good person, a person much like me. And after much agonizing and begging the Goddess to tell me how such a thing could happen, I saw on facebook one of those memes that instantly burned its way into my heart: “People see us not as we are, but as THEY are; when they call you names and heap you with insults, they are looking not at you but into a mirror. They are showing you who they are.”

      It goes both ways. My ex-friend saw me the way she really is herself (I had been ignoring a lot of her behavior for a long time, and was just plain flat baffled by the rest), and I saw her as I am. We’re opposites. I saw good in her that wasn’t really there, and she sees bad in me that isn’t really there. So yes, our perceptions about each other created our worlds–mine a world with a beloved chosen sister, hers a world with a manipulative lying user–but neither of our perceptions created truth, nor have her beliefs about me changed who I really am.

      Reply
    • Thorn

      Lise,

      you write: “We can’t control other people’s actions, but (I think) we have a responsibility to be as clear as we can in our interactions, and to try to bring our internal perceptions of self into congruence with how others experience us.”

      This is true. This is very true. I agree with you. And: All we can do is discern to the best of our abilities whether or not we are being as clear and clean as possible and whether or not we are being taken in good faith and whether or not the person in question is able to be a fairly accurate reflection.

      We need to do this work from the core out, not the outside in. We need to trust ourselves from the core out. Trust our perceptions from the core out. This doesn’t mean that sometimes we won’t be mistaken. It doesn’t mean that sometimes we won’t mispeak, or act. It just means that every day, our being has a chance to grow more congruent – in and out. That tends to help others’ perceptions to be more consistent with what we are putting out, indeed. But not always. Someone is still going to be in a state of insecurity or anger and read us completely wrong. We can’t change that. All we can do is return to our center and try to maintain our integrity.

      Thanks to everyone who contributed to this conversation, I was on the road for several days and that is why I’m late in some of these replies.

      Reply
  7. Cherie

    Who am I, Wow. I am just now coming to grips with that. I have always avoided mirrors and hated to have my picture taken because I couldn’t resolve this issue. It was until I accepted my ability to read the Tarot and hear voices as a gift that I began to see how I actually am and what I was in previous lives. That make me what I am today.

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Cherie,

      So many things can be gateways to self knowledge, can’t they? How wonderful that the tarot is an ally for you. May you continue to grow in self knowledge and self acceptance. May we all.

      Reply
  8. P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Hello Thorn!

    Wonderful as always…reflection is such a powerful metaphor (and so much more than just a metaphor) for our spiritual practices, so thank you for this reminder!

    My e-mail isn’t working at present, so I thought I’d try and get a hold of you this way instead. It was great to see you at PantheaCon two weekends back, even though it was only in passing, and I hope that your sojourn in this neck of the woods for FaerieCon West was good as well! If you come up for that again, perhaps you can spend an extra day up here, and I can show you some of the sights on the islands here up north of the Emerald City, which is my native territory.

    I will likely be coming down to the Bay Area once again in late March/early April, and wondered if you might be around and be up for doing Communalia with the Ekklesía Antínoou and Solar Cross. I’m also hoping to give a few workshops as well, so we’ll see what can be done in that regard. But, I wanted to at least put the word out there for the moment, and see what your schedule might be like for that timeframe. Feel free to e-mail me, or respond to this comment, and we shall take it from there!

    Thanks, as ever, for all the work that you do and all of the beauty you bring into this world by being who you are!

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Hello,

      I will likely be around when you are here. Let me know dates. And once your email is up and running, please send me more information on the Communalia.

      blessings to you – Thorn

      Reply
      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        E-mail is restored–will contact you further in a few moments…

        And, meanwhile, I just finished reading your latest book. Wonderful! I wrote a review that will appear at Patheos early next week, probably…congratulations on a very excellent project, and many thanks and blessings upon you for having done it!

        Reply

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