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Are you the “man in the mirror?” Many years ago I was out with a friend and trying to get information from a service person who didn’t have what I wanted. This person wasn’t interested in looking deeply into the matter and in my frustration I became curt and condescending. Later, my friend asked me how I could behave in such a way and claim to be nonviolent? How could my walk stray so far from my spiritual talk?
I had no excuse, no justification. I could only agree that I’d behaved badly and regretted it. This wasn’t enough for my friend. She was angry. She became curt and condescending to me. I quickly got a much stronger dose, and much more personal dose than I’d given out. Spiritual Grace magnified my behavior and brought it right to my doorstep and IN MY FACE!
In that moment I was given the opportunity to practice what I’d forgotten earlier. I had to work to remind myself of the truth: that my friend was my mirror and my teacher. She was not my enemy even though it felt like she was attacking me. She was simply mirroring my own behavior. I took responsibility for my choices and for the reflection.
I was the “man in the mirror.” As the song says:
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
I’ve had a chance to ponder those experiences many times. I’ve realized that my friend was articulating things that I’d often thought about myself. I felt how hurtful her words were. I felt her sense of betrayal at watching me stumble in walking my talk. And what I learned was to be more loving with myself.
Today, I choose to be in relationships with people who, when I fall, will help me up, and not yell at me for falling. Because what I know about myself is that I only fall when I’ve lost sight of the truth. If I’ve lost sight of the truth, even for a moment, then I need a hand to help me. I deserve compassion. I choose to keep company with people who understand that, and most importantly, I desire to be the company that I wish to keep. This is my responsibility. Today I own it and my practice is powerful.