I have been watching a series about life in prisons and in one episode a 3 year old boy is brought to visit his father. Since physical contact between inmates and visitors is forbidden, visits occur in booths with the inmate on one side of thick glass and the visitors on the other side with a telephone handset for talking. The little boy is brought into the booth. Seeing his daddy on the other side the little guy reaches out and touches the glass, turns to his mother and says, “Daddy is stuck in the mirror. Get Daddy out!” Just as the little boy thought that his father was imprisoned in a mirror, so too we sometimes become interiorly imprisoned through repeated mistakes. When we have made the same mistake and bad choices over and over again it is not unreasonable for us to ask ourselves, “Why do I make the choices that I make?”
Sometimes unexamined issues within our inner life run in the background like a default program influencing our choices. For example some people today seem to be primed for outrage. Something happens and their response is disproportionate to the incident. Why? Is what looks like rage actually an expression of fear? If we simply resort to “That’s just me” then we will never really come to know what’s at work deep within. We need to go beyond the same old easy answers in order to understand ourselves.
Everything that is alive grows and changes. If we are still reacting to people and events in the same old life-complicating ways then perhaps some taking stock of our inner life is needed. Our feelings and thoughts are the parents to our actions. Even if our inner life frightens us we have to be willing to sit and listen to what at first seems like chaos inside ourselves. We needn’t sit with prepared answers… sometimes just sitting and listening is enough. Being still and being focused sometimes allows amazing insights to come gently forward into our consciousness… insights about ourselves which enable us to come unstuck and to step out of the mirror.