How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

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How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:56 am

Hello, Dhamma Wheel

I've noticed on different spiritual forums that lots of people hold this view that everybody is a reflection of "us".

Here's what I think it means:

— What confuses me is that this seems to imply that our perceptions are false or misleading; the person we see is not arrogant or hateful, we are.

— When we see arrogance or hate in others, it's because we know by our own experiences that that's what those things are. For example, I know the grinch is hateful because I've been hateful in that same way.

Are these the proper understanding of this? If not, what is? How does this work? How can I contemplate this? I understand that the Dhamma teaches anatta, but this is probably something that can be valuable. If not, please elaborate.

Thank you.
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:23 am

I think it has more to do with reminding ourselves about reality.
For instance, when seeing death, aging, sickness and misery of others, one can reflect ME too is subject to all this.
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:06 am

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:I've noticed on different spiritual forums that lots of people hold this view that everybody is a reflection of "us".


I can't say I've come across this view.

Probably more correctly our perception of others (or anything we experience really) is filtered / coloured /distorted by our interpretations or views.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Mkoll » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:11 am

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:Hello, Dhamma Wheel

I've noticed on different spiritual forums that lots of people hold this view that everybody is a reflection of "us".

Here's what I think it means:

— What confuses me is that this seems to imply that our perceptions are false or misleading; the person we see is not arrogant or hateful, we are.

— When we see arrogance or hate in others, it's because we know by our own experiences that that's what those things are. For example, I know the grinch is hateful because I've been hateful in that same way.

Are these the proper understanding of this? If not, what is? How does this work? How can I contemplate this? I understand that the Dhamma teaches anatta, but this is probably something that can be valuable. If not, please elaborate.

Thank you.


Hi EmptyCittas1by1,

I don't think there's a proper understanding of such a vague statement beyond what barcsimalsi mentioned.

In terms of contemplation, IMHO just stick with the Dhamma. There is no need to add anything further.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:52 am

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:— What confuses me is that this seems to imply that our perceptions are false or misleading; the person we see is not arrogant or hateful, we are.


I think sometimes its a lot easier to look outwards and judge others without understanding that one could improve ones own attitude in terms of understanding the causes and conditions which have influenced them.

These verses of the Dhammapada might be of interest :

158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.12.budd.html




:anjali:
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby no mike » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:05 am

Your question makes me think of the Satipatthana Sutta; contemplate internally, externally, or both.
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:54 am

To me it sounds like projection - seeing in others qualities that are not actually there, which says more about us than them. I guess we do this quite a lot, don't we?

Saying that what we see is always about us, is taking it too far, IMO.
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby binocular » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:33 pm

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:I've noticed on different spiritual forums that lots of people hold this view that everybody is a reflection of "us".

Yes, I've seen this too.

An example from Cheri Huber's "Be the person you want to find" -

Projection

(not from a camera, from our head)

Everything is a mirror of ourselves. We always see ourselves when we look out at the world and other people. It is not possible to experience and label anything that is not part of ourselves.
Is this always true? Always.

When we are unaware of this process, we believe we are correct in our assessments. We believe there is an objective reality "out there" from which we are separate and about which we can know something.

In projection, this is what we tend to do:

We project the worst and best of ourselves.

1) I project the worst of myself onto people I dislike, don't respect, and can't get along with. -- "She is narrow, closed, humorless, and irritating."

2) I project the best of myself onto people I admire, love,, and want to be around. -- "He is open, generous, kind, and compassionate."

What I do not accept in myself,
I do not accept in another.

What I accept in myself,
I accept in others.

/.../

pg. 22-23
(there's more, but I didn't quote everything)



Are these the proper understanding of this? If not, what is? How does this work? How can I contemplate this? I understand that the Dhamma teaches anatta, but this is probably something that can be valuable. If not, please elaborate.

You could read this and other books by Cheri Huber, she talks about this a lot.

On the other hand, you could also read up on assertiveness (I can recommend some books).

If, for example, the difference between saying,
"This is a bad film"
and saying
"I didn't like this film"
strikes you as relevant, then reading up on assertiveness may be useful in providing further insight.
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:48 pm

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:Hello, Dhamma Wheel

— What confuses me is that this seems to imply that our perceptions are false or misleading; the person we see is not arrogant or hateful, we are.



I think that sometimes we're projecting these qualities onto other people, but sometimes that's really the way they are. But as no mike said, mindfulness is the path to seeing these things more clearly
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby binocular » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:31 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:but sometimes that's really the way they are

For how long?
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:20 am

Thanks all for your input :D
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: How are others "reflections" of ourselves?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:50 am

binocular wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:but sometimes that's really the way they are

For how long?


Character traits tend to persist over time - it doesn't mean they're permanent though.
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