The Law of Reflection

“The more a characteristic in someone else bothers you the more your soul is trying to draw a reflection to your attention.”  - A Little Light on the Spiritual Laws by Diana Cooper.

I have read this Law many times and had always failed to see the logic in this premise. How can a characteristic that annoys me be reflecting back an aspect of my own personality?  The reason it irritates me is because I don’t behave in that way – at least I didn’t think I did.

What is it that piques you most?

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Do grumpy people irritate you? Are you just a little bit more grumpy than you think? Picture courtesy of Pixabay

On reflection (no pun intended) I realise that I am increasingly irritated by those who are so strongly opinionated that they refuse to listen to anyone else’s views. On the radio and TV everyone talks over each other, determined to assert themselves. The ego demanding to be heard because of ’the need to be right‘.

Our opinions are formed by our life experiences and no two people see things in the same way. Some have privileged lives and others have difficult lives. Even those who share common experiences view them differently, so how can our perspective be the same? Yet often this is not taken into consideration. How often do we take the time to listen to others and try to understand why they believe what they do?

The ossification of our ideas leave us as brittle as our old bones; and as inflexible. We can become hard and uncaring, discarding any form of compassion. I heard someone talking in a café the other day about those fleeing Syria. The woman was adamant that ‘those people are just leaving to have a better life on benefits’.  This was her opinion (and that of many) and she would not shift from this view. I’m sure, if asked, many of those fleeing would provide a different perspective.

Many of those escaping war ravaged countries know the risks when they leave but are trying to keep their children and families safe. It is desperation that drives them to take their families on a dodgy boat, or trudge miles across land, leaving behind everything they own. I’m sure some are economic migrants but I’m sure most aren’t (my opinion for what it’s worth!) How does it reach the stage where, after seeing a few programmes on TV about benefit cheats and migrants sponging off the state, that our opinions become so entrenched that we lose our humanity?

I’m ashamed to admit that I can finally see the logic behind the Law of Reflection because –  and I’m reluctant to admit it – I do exactly the same as the people who annoy me. I often have strong views and am not shy to express them. I have even been know to talk over others and interrupt (yes it’s true!).

thoughts-101033_1280We have all been blessed with the gift of thought and our thoughts are free. We have the opportunity to change them at any time. I will use this Law to change my way of thinking by ensuring that my opinions, which can be very forthcoming after a glass or two of wine (culminating in full eruption after three) are not forced on others. I will  shut my mouth and open my ears and ask myself: Do I really believe this or do I need to re-evaluate the judgements I’ve held close for so long?…And then I’ll give my opinion!