Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daily Mirror

"...leaning over the mirror of our acts, our souls will recognize what we are."- Andre Gide

For nearly all of us mirrors play a role in our morning rituals. Whether for shaving or make-up, fixing one's hair or straightening one's tie, the mirror is a useful tool, presenting to our eyes a true reflection of what is there.

On other occasions, a reassuring glance in the mirror before a job interview or an important date gives us confidence that at least the external things are taken care of - our hair isn't mussed, collar turned right, no food crumbs on our chin or the corners of our mouth.

At the end of the day there is another mirror which is equally valuable to us, and perhaps even more so once we practice using it. We can call it the mirror of our acts. As we quiet ourselves and reflect on the day, we discover that our actions reveal our souls as surely as the bathroom mirror reveals our faces.

The mirror of our acts reveals us as we truly are, giving a more precise picture of ourselves than we may wish to see. For it will reveal not only our strengths, but also our limitations; it will show not only our inward beauty, but also the defects that mar that beauty. When I look back on my day, with honesty, standing before this mirror of my soul, what do I truly see reflected there? Thoughtfulness and sensitivity? Selfishness? Duplicity and deceit? Laziness? Industriousness? Courage? Courtesy? Insensitivity? Foolish pride? Pettiness? The character defects we see need not leave us discourage. Recognizing one's shortcomings is the essential first step to the cure. Or, as they say, no pain no gain.

Taking time for reflection at day's end can be a most wonderful tool to help us grow to our full stature as human beings. Keeping a journal where we record and analyze these insights is even more helpful. As they say, "The weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory."
It's an oft neglected truth that if we wish to make the world a better place, there's no better place to begin than in ourselves.

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