Soul & Spirit
Published on March 4th, 2019 | by Catherine Tingey0
Magical Mirror Gazing
I try to stay mainstream here but today I want to talk about an incredible practice that I’ve found to be as powerful, yet different, from meditation. If it sounds a little woo-woo, just keep an open mind and please read on.
The practice is called Mirror Gazing and it has nothing to do with selfies, narcissism, or IG culture. It’s one of the most potent self-love practices out there!
Mirrors have a long association with psychoanalytic theory and attempts to measure self awareness.
This practice is a short-cut to your deepest and highest self.
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We know that staring into someone’s eyes for four minutes triggers brain chemicals associated with love.
In the 1970’s, UC Berkeley social psychology student Arthur Aron pioneered a set of 36 questions designed to foster interpersonal closeness. These questions, followed by a four minute stare, provoked heightened feelings of connection and euphoria. [More here.]
So if we know that gazing into the eyes of another is powerfully connective–
Why haven’t we tried this on ourselves?
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When I started working with this mirror gazing practice, it made me uncomfortable.
Perceived flaws like freckles and asymmetry impaired by ability to focus solely on my eyes.
But I stuck with it and those critical voices that we all have, faded.
Something magical and effortless took me by surprise.
I was suddenly able to connect to the ‘observer’–a short-cut to the observer state. I didn’t have to spend an hour in yoga followed by a body scan meditation; I could access this observer place instantly! [For someone obsessed with time management, this is very appealing!]
More specifically, I suddenly had a memory of my first experience of the witness. I was on a stage in a fifth grade spelling bee and I could see my body from the POV of my parents in the audience.
That mirror gazing could heighten the sense of the witness made me love this practice even more.
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The observer, also called the witness, is a place we reach in meditation and when my yogis tap into this for the first time, I get really excited for them.
Ram Dass calls the witness state another level of consciousness.
“The witness coexists alongside your normal consciousness as another layer of awareness, as the part of you that is awakening. Humans have this unique ability to be in two states of consciousness at once. Witnessing yourself is like directing the beam of a flashlight back at itself.
Witnessing is like waking up in the morning and then looking in the mirror and noticing yourself — not judging or criticizing, just neutrally observing the quality of being awake.
Along with that self-awareness comes the subtle joy of just being here, alive, enjoying being present in this moment. Eventually, floating in that subjective awareness, the objects of awareness dissolve, and you will come into the spiritual Self, the Atmān, which is pure consciousness, joy, compassion, the One.
The witness is your centering device. It guides the work you do on yourself. Once you understand that there is a place in you that is not attached, you can extricate yourself from attachments. Pretty much everything we notice in the universe is a reflection of our attachments.
So your first job is to work on yourself. The greatest thing you can do for another human being is to get your own house in order and find your true spiritual heart.
I urge you to try this daily for a week – just aim for 1 minute. All you need is a hand mirror.
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How to Practice Magical Mirror Gazing
Position yourself comfortably where you can see your face closely in a hand mirror.
You want to isolate your face in the mirror, and the eyes in particular.
The first time you do this, you may find many critical thoughts arise.
Then begin to focus solely on your eyes. You can focus first on one eye and then the other, or both at once.
Stare into your pupils.
Try to be present for whatever thoughts arise.
Try this daily for 1-5 minutes.
Once the practice feels comfortable, try chanting affirmations while mirror gazing.
I am strong.
I am healing.
I can do all things through spirit/God/fill in the blanks.
Everything I desire is already on its way.
Write your own.
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