To save the world, break the mirror!
Since in her last fabulous post my queen/ travelmate/ girlfriend/ yogīni/ spiritual advisor Joy wrote about how she perceives me as a mirror I am reminded that i have not looked into one to check my body/face for weeks. So the philosophical me says hi and explores the relationship between full body awareness and absence of mirrors.
Mirrors can contribute both to our well-being and to our ill-being. Not having seen how my face looks for others i am prone to get a different perspective on who/what i am. For instance, I fail to notice a bad hair day or a pimple above my eyebrow, and a piece of pakchoi between my teeth slips my attention as well. That’s what I have my beloved queen/ travelmate/… for. She points these things out to me. And she does so in a loving way. She helps me get rid of what part of the lunch got stuck in my beard. What would i do without her?
Talking about the beard. Let’s face it. There is no concern about my hair because the ‘self for others’ has vanished. I remember Fidel Castro makes a point in Oliver Stone’s documentary ‘Comandante’ that he saves at least 15minutes every single day by not shaving 😉 Time is precious. Better not waste it in the bathroom. Only the essentials: soap the body, rinse with water, brush the teeth. That’s it. No big fuss about looks. It’s liberating. It feels wonderful because important needs are fulfilled: independence, clarity, and ease. Independence because i am no longer in a state of slavery, trying to make my face look attractive to others. Clarity because it is so obvious that skin-deep beauty is not what makes others want to spend time with me anyhow. Ease because how i feel inside the body becomes more apparent.
If only people knew the advantages of living without a mirror or at least not looking into a mirror every day! I am certain they would be happier and less worried. They would not identify so much with the mask they’re wearing. Eventually, consequentially the world would be a much less artificial place to live in. It would be a place where masks (latin: persona) would not be mistaken for real and we could live life in a much more natural way. Nowadays, ‘natural’ is a trademark to render consumer goods more attractive instead of what it ought to be: a way of life.
Since Joy mentioned in another post of her marvellous blog the art of looking, the filosofa in me awakens yet again to say salaam aleikum, peace be with you.
I am thinking about Lost Arts. Joy remembers how pictures were taken with old-fashioned cameras. The number of pictures per film roll was limited and development of the photos took time.
If you grow up nowadays you are probably equipped with a cellie before you go to school. Taking pix is what you do. Check 1,2 and if you like it – spread, if not – delete. A matter of seconds. Children do not know about this process film rolls had to go through to develop.
Another lost art might be the one of becoming familiar with oneself. Please forgive me if this sounds rude but the only thing most of us are familiar are our likes & dislikes. It starts at school when we fill in our classmate’s friendship book. I am… My favourite colour is… I like… But to be completely immersed, totally focused sothat we lose all sense of ‘me’? Taking pictures can have that effect if you are a professional photographer, and if you are, I’d be delighted to read about your experiences of flow during your work. If you’re not professional, what makes you unprofessional – is it just because you are not earning your livelihood with taking photos or you haven’t found a niche yet? Again, let me be blunt: if this is your only criterion you are giving money far too much credit in your life.
As Pico Iyer states in a TEDx talk about the Art of Stillness it is really about how you perceive that makes the difference between a wonderful and an awful experience. I agree.
Being totally immersed in a sunset, for example, there is no one there to say ‘I like it. I want it. I want to keep it.’ If you are fully present, there is only delight at the sight of it. Ayya Khema eloquently describes what happens “once the sunset is over and the delight has vanished… the ‘me’ returns, and with it the idea that ‘I’ should go looking for other sunsets because they bring such pleasure.” If you are mindful of what’s going on in your inner life you will be able to notice: It is not the quality of the sunset but “in fact it is the quality of our own immersion… that brings us delight.”