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The Study of What If: Question of The Week
 

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▣ The Law of Reflection

posted by admin on January 9th, 2011 at 3:26 PM

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Wherever YOU Go!
“Wherever You Go, There You Are.”~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
 
The Law of Reflection
 
How often have you heard yourself or someone say, “I quit my last job because my co-worker kept harassing me and now I am in the same situation on this new job!” or “I moved out of state to get a fresh start; and now after the expense and trauma of moving here, I am still in the same circumstances!” and so on!

 

When one is trying to get a fresh start or trying to leave something/someone behind, but does not do the job of examining the underlying beliefs that created the circumstances that he/she finds him/herself in, you can bet that within a short period of time, he/she will be facing the same circumstances they thought they had moved away from (escaped). Oh, yes, the circumstances and people may have a different look/face, be at a different job, and may even be at a completely different location; but the challenge(s) is the same.
 
Why?
The Law of Reflection is a wonderful mirror into our subconscious (jar). It allows us to see our life continuously as it unfolds before us, both the comfortable and the uncomfortable.   If something is not working in our life, it is put right in front of our face; not to make us feel bad, but to show us what we need to do to progress.   By the way, when circumstances are working in your life, that too may continue to be put in your face; however, we just enjoy it without question because it feels good/comfortable. 
 
The challenge…Now, here is the really challenging aspect of the Law of Reflection. That which is not working for us is “reflected” to us by and through the people, home, job, etc., in our life.   The challenge is to get beyond the person or thing and look at the message they give us.   Most times, when someone in our life makes us feel bad or unworthy or whatever, we get angry at the person we experience as the culprit and defend ourselves - often to the point of breaking up the friendship, quitting the job, even moving away, etc. What would benefit us most though would be to examine
·         Why is this person able to make me angry or feel unworthy?
·         Why is my job unsatisfying or why is my boss a jerk?
·         Why do I feel the urgent need to run away from something/someone?
·         And, why sometimes do I feel the only way to fix the problem(s) is to physically relocate?
 
Where to start? 
·         First, relax for 10 minutes – taking the opportunity to rhythmically deep breath and then look at the person or circumstance that is challenging you. If you are religious or spiritual, you may want to say a prayer for the clearest understanding of the problem/situation.
·         Write down what has happened or is happening that is causing your discomfort. 
·         What is the discomfort? For example, did you feel bad about yourself; did emotions overtake you; did you immediately react in your defense; did you run away?
·         What emotions surfaced? For example, fear, anger, helplessness, fight or flight?
·         How did you handle yourself?
·         What does this situation reflect to you? For example, did you “see” a past experience repeating itself; did you “hear” a parent or authority voice through this exchange; did you “see or hear” one of your superstitions or fears (jar’s imprints)?
 
Then…After you review/answer all the questions, hopefully, you will be able to see a pattern(s) created by a belief(s) you hold in your jar. 
 
An example…When growing up, Mary’s Mother was extremely strict and her Father was away at work most of the time so he had very little input into Mary’s life at home. Mary’s Mother expected certain behaviors from her; for example, going to bed at 8pm and getting up at 6am, getting good grades at school, keeping her room cleaned, doing the dishes every night, etc.; planned out to the smallest detail.   Mary’s Father stayed at work a lot just to escape the strict routine at home; so Mary was, in fact, at the mercy of her Mother and her Mother’s rules.   Mary did not get out much socially unless it was planned and happened as planned and did not interfere with routine.
 
Let’s look at two possible challenges created for Mary…
 
Scenario 1: Mary is in a job where she has a boss who continuously operates on a last minute, by the seat of his pants, mode. It drives Mary crazy because routine is her middle name. Stress is her constant companion on the job.   As an example, this week, she has been waiting for days for the material she needs to make a deadline though her boss keeps promising to get it to her. Then, an hour before the job is due, she gets the material and has to do the work that should take a day or longer and get it done in less than an hour.   She has been ill a lot since she took this job.  
 
Mary accepted her Mother’s belief about “routine” and was willing to sacrifice in order to justify it. Mary feels as if her boss is unworthy of his position and because of his lack of order, she has trouble respecting him and his position. She was having trouble getting to sleep at night because of the ruminating about her boss/job; then had trouble getting up in the mornings; and was dragging by the time she got out of the shower; dreading going to work. She was finding that she was feeling fatigued all the time, and had colds often.   Because of her absent Father and lack of a social life, she has developed no skills at sharing her feelings with anyone, so her feelings just bottle up inside of her with no escape mechanism.
 
One day, she exploded at her boss and told him how she felt. Then, she went looking for another job. 
 
Scenario 2:  Mary is in a job where she has a boss who is meticulous, has every last detail planned to the minute, and explodes if anything falls outside his plan. Mary feels imprisoned. She has had a Mother who was just like this boss. She thought when she moved out of her parent’s house and was supporting herself, she would be able to escape the driven life of having every detail planned and finally relax; and, perhaps, even develop a social life.    She is constantly being reminded of her life growing up and hearing her Mother’s voice when her boss speaks.   She cannot sleep, is always tired, and even has digestion problems which keep her uncomfortable at work and keep her at home whenever she is not at work.   She has no escape from the constant timeline. No spontaneity in her life. Because of her absent Father and lack of a social life, she has developed no skills at sharing her feelings with anyone, so her feelings just bottle up inside of her with no escape mechanism.
 
One day, Mary decides her life is intolerable, there’s no escape, and has thoughts about suicide.
 
Consequently…
In each scenario, the baseline is the same – a strict Mother driven by details and timelines, providing limited social interactions.   Mary’s subconscious has these recorded memories.    The Law of Reflection will take these recordings and show them to Mary. Her life will give her opportunities to see her subconscious memories come alive through the relationships she experiences. In this case, she sees it through her boss.   Mary could also view this recording through other relationships, e.g., friends and/or relatives, significant other, co-workers, teachers, etc. And, she will most likely have to experience both of these extremes, though not necessarily in the same manner or to the same degree. She may experience the first scenario with a boss or co-worker and the second scenario with a spouse or child. BUT, she will need to experience her Mother’s imprint in her subconscious so that she can balance her understanding about it.  
 
In Conclusion:
What most often happens is that an individual’s first response is to blame the boss; he’s a jerk, he’s unreasonable, he’s …! Another reaction an individual can automatically experience is resentment (jar’s imprint); in this case, thinking, “I wouldn’t be so screwed up if my Mother had been more reasonable, more loving, more ...!” OR, “It’s my Father’s fault because I would have been better if only my Father had been there to defend me, talk with me, and console me.” When, in fact, the individual should be asking, “Why is this so bothersome to me and how can I resolve how I perceive it and preserve my energy?”   
 
A Parable:
There is a story of a wise nomadic traveler who was very kind and compassionate to everyone he met throughout his travels – anyone could ask him a question and get a valuable and correct answer.  One day the wise traveler is sitting down to meditate at a fork in the road – the split paths take the seeker to one of two large towns.  On this one day, a traveler named Mary has packed up all her belongings and is headed to a new location. Mary has not decided which town she is going to move to; she feels that allowing fate guide her to a new location will mean her life situation will improve immensely.
 
Mary sees the wise traveler sitting there at the fork in the road and decides that she will stop and ask for his advice. Greetings have been exchanged and now Mary asks the wise-man which of the two towns would be the best choice for her new start.  The wise-man in turn queries Mary, “What were the people like in the location you left; what were your living conditions like; and how did you relate to the people where you worked and how did you get along with your boss?”
 
Mary responded, “It was a gloomy environment, everything was so stressful and the people were mean-hearted and joyless.”
 
The wise-man upon hearing Mary’s analysis of her past relationships, then told her, “You should return to your old town because you will only find the same stresses, aggravations, and mean types of behavior in these two towns that you have described exist in your past location.”
 
Another traveler, Jethro, who was in the act of moving stopped and chatted with the wise-man and Jethro also asked the wise-man which of the two towns would be his best choice.
 
To keep it short, the traveler asked Jethro about the town and people he was leaving behind. Jethro said the people were great and joyful, his co-workers and boss were courteous and kind hearted and the city had many wonderful sites and lots of parks. The wise-man then told Jethro to pick, either, town as he would find wonderful people to make friends with, a boss he would honor and respect, and that both towns have many wonderful things to offer. These are the same two towns that the wise-man told Mary would be miserable places for her to live.
 
NOTE: This is a parable that has been written about in both Christian and Buddhist teachings – it is an anecdotal story about Saint Frances, the Patron Saint of Travelers; and another version about Guru and Mystic Bodaivic – so the knowledge of a mirror reflection of your behavior has been around for centuries.
 

 

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. ~ Helen Keller

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