Hello on day four of the five-day meditation in a mirror challenge,
It is already after noon yet the house is very quiet today, after yesterday’s tornado of family conflict, stress and strife, during the “birthday dinner.”
Today’s setting: the downstairs hall mirror–a full-length mirror ca. 1910–and the downstairs bathroom mirror–another heavy, gilt-framed antique that came with the house. I opened the closet door to allow the full-length mirror to reflect the bathroom mirror, and as I stood there I moved it slightly to see how they reflected each other and the things in between.
We think mirrors are “true” reflections yet look how easily I distorted “reality”: by slightly moving the door and camera’s focus, it is easy to create doubles. The camera shows doubles: doubles of the mirror, of me, of the Picasso print of a girl (Head of a Woman in a Hat, 1962): all those doubles are merely reflections created by the border in the glass of the full-length mirror.
So what is real? right now, cold feet and thirst are real. My ears resound in silent static and my intellect feels wary and weary of things social.
As Alan Watts writes about awareness, “This very simple ‘opening of the eyes’ brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure illusion. […] Because awareness is a view of reality free of ideas and judgments, it is clearly impossible to define and write down what it reveals. […] The truth is revealed by removing things that stand in its light, an art not unlike sculpture, in which the artist creates, not by building, but by hacking away.” (Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity, 76).
Letting go of a past “Identity” is scary. This applies to adults who must let go of one Identity, of being PARENTS–law-and-order border agents, battling evil to keep their children safe–and undertake a different Identity when those tykes grow up (anywhere from 18 to 35 years later).
From PARENTS, we must accept to exert less power and control over our children. We must let go of our PARENT domination and accept a new role as a kindly, non-invasive partner–merely a fellow human on a chronologically-defined journey we share with those people from birth (theirs) to death (ours, if the chronology works the way we hope it will).
That letting go is scary and hard. Words may help:
if in our anger, we realize
the other person is suffering,
we can free ourselves
and from suffering,
which also helps free the other.
–Shi Wuling, Path to Peace, Feb. 8
Sometimes abstaining from action and thought, what the Chinese call wu-wei, is the best action.
Especially when we’re all so tired of each other. Maybe we should all just tread lightly and remain silent for a while, like Honey Girl here.