Often, we are so stuck in our old beliefs and patterns that we aren't able to see the changes we need to make. Even when we feel frustrated about our problems, we may not recognize what we need to learn to change things. That is why we need to use the mirror of life.
Everything in our lives reflects where we are in the process of developing integration and balance. We can use everything that happens externally as a mirror to help us see the areas within us that need healing and development. Whenever we have a problem, especially a recurring or chronic problem, it is always an arrow pointing directly to some aspect of our psyche where we need more awareness.
If we accept that life is always trying to teach us exactly what we need to learn, we can view everything that happens to us as a gift. Even experiences that are uncomfortable or painful contain within them an important key to our healing, wholeness, and prosperity.
We may have difficulty understanding what the mirror of life is trying to show us, but if we sincerely ask for the learning and the gift in every experience, it will be revealed to us one way or another.
Relationships: The Mirror of Our Disowned Selves
One of the clearest reflections we have to work with is the one provided by our relationships. Everyone we attract into our life is a mirror for us in certain ways. All of our relationships -- our families, children, friends, co-workers, neighbors, pets, as well as our romantic partners -- reflect certain parts of us. How we feel with someone is usually an indication of how we feel about the parts of us that they mirror.
We all attract certain people into our life who have developed qualities opposite to the ones we are most identified with. In other words, they mirror our disowned selves, and we mirror theirs. These are often the most highly emotionally charged relationships. We either love them, hate them, or both! We feel very attracted to them, and/or very uncomfortable, judgmental, annoyed, or frustrated with them. The stronger the feelings, the more important a mirror they are for us. We have drawn them into our reality to show us something about what we need to develop in ourselves. The fact that we have such strong feelings (one way or another) toward them means that they are showing us a part of ourselves we need to acknowledge, accept, and integrate.
This does not mean we have to be with them or hold onto a harmful or inappropriate relationship. It just means that as long as they are in our lives, or even in our thoughts and feelings, we can use the relationship as a learning experience. It also does not mean we are supposed to become like them. They may carry an energy we need more of, but they may be too far to the opposite extreme, or they may express that energy in a distorted way.
The Opposite is the Message
Still, we can look for the positive essence in the opposite qualities they carry. For example, if you have been taught never to express any anger, you will probably at some point find yourself in relationship with a person who expresses their anger frequently and vehemently. Life is giving you a strong message that it's time for you to learn to acknowledge your own anger. It is not saying you have to become like this person and go around dumping your anger everywhere. Instead, you need to find the appropriate balance, learning how to assert yourself and stand up for yourself.
If you have strongly developed "being" energy but have difficulty taking action, you may find that someone important in your life is a compulsive doer who can't relax. Naturally, you don't want to go to that extreme, but this person is your teacher, to show you the energy of action that you need to develop. Of course, you are a teacher for them, as well, but it usually doesn't work very well to try to show the other person what they need to learn from you -- although we all succumb to this temptation. It works much better to concentrate on what we need to learn in the situation.
Once we use the mirror to understand what we need, and actually do the work to develop a disowned self, the whole pattern of the relationship will shift.
If we are strongly identified with power, we will attract vulnerable, needy people. This mirror is reflecting our need to recognize and accept our own vulnerability. If and when we do that, the needy people in our lives will either become more empowered, or will move out of our lives. If we are overly vulnerable and disown power, we will find ourselves in a relationship with someone who uses power one way or another. We will feel overwhelmed, controlled, or victimized by them until we own our power, at which point the relationship will either dissolve or become more equal.
Learning from our Opposites
We often seem to gravitate toward a romantic or business partner who has an opposite approach to financial management. If the difference is not too extreme, this can be a complementary and harmonious balance in which we appreciate and learn from each other's strengths. If we are highly polarized, however, it can be painful and frustrating, leading to a great deal of conflict and stress.
Still, it is a gift -- an opportunity to recognize how identified we are with one polarity and a chance to develop the opposite energy we need. Like any relationship issue, it requires that we communicate with one another, and be willing to listen and empathize with each other's feelings and perspective. If we feel stuck in our ability to communicate, it may be an appropriate time to call in a skilled third party -- a therapist, marriage counselor, or mediator -- to help us through. Personally, I find that most of us need help at certain times to get through the deep issues that are reflected in our intimate relationships.
The topic of relationships is a complex and fascinating subject, which I can only begin to touch on. Still, if you grasp the basic idea of how our relationships show us the next steps we need to take in our personal growth, you can begin to use your relationships as powerful guides on your path to true prosperity.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New World Library, Novato, CA 94949.
Creating True Prosperity
by Shakti Gawain.
Personal-growth pioneer Shakti Gawain presents her definition of prosperity: not bankrolls and material possessions, but rather a fulfilled heart and soul. Using a fresh approach, she challenges the Western tendency to equate money with happiness, encouraging readers to examine their longings honestly, follow them to their roots, and separate them from false desires or addictions. Writing with authority and warmth, Shakti Gawain shows readers how to create true prosperity in satisfying relationships and the kind of happiness not dependent on possessions or circumstances.
About The Author
SHAKTI GAWAIN is an internationally renowned leader in the human potential movement. Her many bestselling books, including Creative Visualization, Living in the Light, and Creating True Prosperity, have sold more than six million copies in thirty languages world. She leads workshops internationally and has facilitated thousands of individuals in developing greater balance and wholeness in their lives. For more info, visit her website at http://www.shaktigawain.com.