The moon reflects the sun as we are all mirrors of each other. How I love metaphors. I wanted to dig deeper into the idea of mirrors so I looked into how they work. When two mirrors are set up at a ninety degree angle, you would see the reflection of two complete images. As the angle decreases, the number of images reflected increases. When the two mirrors are set up at zero degrees, that is facing each other, the number of images reflected goes into infinity.
I thought about how much closer to our emotional lives this metaphor is than I originally considered. Many of us for most of our lives are afraid to be seen. For whatever reason, we believe ourselves to be flawed, and we hide our secret selves, showing only an angle, feeling safe in the limited view others have of us. We dodge questions that may be too revealing. We even avoid venturing into meaningful conversations or paths or relationships not because of what we may find but because we may be found. To stand completely stripped of our fears in front of another seems unthinkable, and yet the law of physics says that if we do just that, become a mirror reflecting another mirror, we do find and we do merge into infinity.
Everyone we meet is a teacher, a mirror, a reflection of some part of us that makes us whole. Every situation we find ourselves in is a teacher. But there are teachers we choose, whom we openly acknowledge and honor as our teachers. They may or may not hold the title of a teacher in what they do. Who they are is whom we love. They are our spiritual family, our yoga teachers, our meditation teachers, our families, our partners, our friends, our companion animals whom we have named.
I chose my teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life in the Jivamukti lineage. They reflected back to me a value I hold very dear, which is kindness and compassion towards nonhuman animals. They chose their teachers too, among them Swami Nirmalananda, who reflected back to them the same values. I love hearing stories of Sharon-ji's early teaching days. She taught at a fitness center, talked about veganism and received complaints in return. I applaud her courage in being unattached to popularity or what is considered mainstream. Ordinary people do not change the world. Radical people do.
My teachers David-ji and Sharon-ji also talked about the activism of their teacher Swami Nirmalananda. Swami wrote letters to many world leaders about peacefulness. What inspires me about Swami was his practice of non-attachment. He wrote the letters regardless of whether those letters were considered or acted upon or not read at all. Results were not the intention; intention was the only intention, and he was guided by the purity of his heart.
At first glance, we may think we chose our teachers because of the positive qualities they have that resonate with us. I believe that as we progress in our practice, we start to peel away the layers of delusions we have about ourselves. After all, the Sanskrit word for teacher is guru, and it means remover of ignorance. Then we understand that we chose them precisely because the highest values they represent are the highest values that are already inherent in us. And when the highest in us is acknowledged, we rise up to the occassion. We become the compassion that we always were. We serve the same mission in the world. We become the mirror. We become the reflection. We become the moon that shines bright at night when all the clouds hide the luster of the stars.