There is an old Chinese Taoist story of a farmer in a poor country village. He was considered wealthy because he owned a horse which he used for transportation and ploughing. One day the horse ran away. All his neighbours said how terrible it was, but the farmer simply said, ‘Maybe!’ A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbours were amazed at his good fortune, but the farmer just said ‘Maybe.’ The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. The neighbours offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer just said ‘Maybe.’ The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. The neighbours said he was lucky, but once again, the farmer said ‘Maybe.’
Everything that you perceive outside of you is a projection from your thoughts, from inside of you and at the unconscious level; your perceptions of events, your perceptions of people, your perceptions of people’s motivations is projected from inside of yourself, mostly at the unconscious level. Actually, when you describe another person, it often says more about you than the other person!
Psychologist Carl Jung said that whatever you perceive outside yourself in other people, situations or events is a projection of yourself. That means that there is never a problem with a person a situation or an event, it’s simply your perception of the person, situation or event.
Perhaps you’ve had the experience of going to a party with a couple of friends, only to find out the next day that they each had a very different experience. One tells you how great the party was while you’re other friend found it boring, yet it was the same party. How come they had such different experiences?
Well, your perception is coloured by your values, beliefs, culture, upbringing, language, memories, experiences etc. So are you the sort of person who see the glass ½ empty or ½ full?
The late Steven Covey said ‘we do not see the world as the world is, we see the world as we are.’
Just for a moment, consider what does your life look like right now – are you happy? Is it the way you want it?
Your outer world acts as a beautiful mirror to what you choose to think.
Your outer world is a good indicator that you may need to change your thoughts.
Here’s a good example of how understanding the mirror effect can enhance your understanding and relationships with others. Rajesh was complaining and told me that his father was arrogant and disrespectful and this was the reason for not allowing his son to meet his grandfather. The ‘mirror effect’ allowed Rajesh to realize that he, himself, was being arrogant and disrespectful too, by blocking his sons wish to build a relationship with his grandfather.
Let’s take this deeper from a quantum science perspective. Neuroscientists Karl Pribram and David Bohm postulated that the universe is a hologram. The question then being ‘what is the universe a hologram of?’
First, a hologram is a 3-dimensional photograph manufactured with the aid of a laser. In additional to being 3-dimensional, the image recorded differs from a conventional photograph in a very important way. If you cut a normal photograph in half, each half contains half of the image from the original photograph, are you with me? Now if you cut a hologram in half and shine a laser through one of the sections you will find that each half still contains the entire image of the original hologram. Each tiny section contains its own information and every other bit of information as well.
So what is the universe a hologram of? The answer that Karl Pribram and David Bohm came up with is that the universe is a hologram of ‘YOU!’ The universe is a waking dream of your projection and you are a living hologram.
This is insightful because when people say things that are a little bit odd, unusual, out of context, or in your opinion unrealistic, it is worth asking yourself, who are they really talking about? Are they talking about the person or situation they say they are talking about, or are they really talking about themselves? On the other hand there might be some things that you look at in the outside world and you go, wow, that’s my projection, that’s really good
I have seen this so often in our personal development sessions when a student may be describing a friend or parents’ problem. Actually, what the student is describing says more about them than the friend or parent!
The good news is that this means the place to solve a problem is inside you. When you push the problem away from yourself onto other people, events, circumstances and situations, you are also pushing away the solutions. It’s just another form of making excuses. So stop making excuses, stop projecting it outside yourself. Bring the problem back inside you, and there you can tackle it and change it.
And I also want to encourage you to be a quality shopper. What do I mean by that? Most people tend to look for the worst in a situation, or what is wrong, rather than what is right. Just consider that at work, you may tend to get noticed when you’ve arrived late, or made a mistake, rather than when you’ve arrived early and produced exemplary work. Now if you go to the supermarket you look for the fruit and vegetables that are ripe and healthy rather than the ones that are bruised, battered or over-ripe. So in life, make a habit of looking for what is right in yourself and others. Give yourself and others regular compliments.
So let me ask you….
The correct answer is YES!
Understanding the mirror effect can help you change how you observe your world as well as the people and situations in it.