A mirror meditation is exactly what it sounds like: a meditation that you practice in front of a mirror. Yes! You heard that correctly.
And while that may sound a bit daunting or different from a typical meditation, gazing at yourself in the mirror is a powerful way to connect to your true self. Guided meditations have many powerful benefits for your mental health and mindset. Read on to learn more!
Every year on Halloween we get to play dress up. Little ghouls and ghosts and superheroes traipse from house to house and grownups exclaim over the much-sugared, happy kids. Truth is, this concept of disguising ourselves is most certainly not relegated to late October . . .
First, It’s Important to Experience Your Own Disguises
In fact, when you begin to pay attention to how you present yourself to different people, you might be surprised at how quickly and constantly you are altering your “self.” Enter: a guided mirror meditation to help you get back to self.
Here’s a quick and informative thought exercise you can do to experience this:
Imagine you are attending a business or professional event. Before you left the house, you probably considered what to wear and how others might be dressed – already, you are donning a specific disguise.
When you arrive at the event and stand in the doorway of the meeting space, you might gather yourself and then begin to wade into the sea of faces and bodies. Who are you now? Feel into how you might be presenting yourself and how your body feels in the moment. Really imagine yourself in this situation: what is your facial expression? How is your posture? What would be typical thoughts?
Let it all play out and take note.
Now, imagine that you see a co-worker across the room. This is a person you like but don’t know all that well – still – a familiar face! You head that way and you and this person talk for a bit. Have you changed your demeanor at all? How do you think you might present yourself to this individual?
Really explore the difference from your first presentation to this next one.
Imagine that from across the room, you see a dear friend whom you have known for decades. You excuse yourself and head that way. Now you and your friend are ensconced at a high top table, snagging passed hors d’oeuvres. Feel in your body how this new interaction feels and how you are in it.
Just with this simple thought exercise, you can see how differently we present ourselves depending on our surroundings and our situation. This is not, in itself, a problem. In fact, it can be very smart and thoughtful to change our mannerisms according to our environment.
Where it can create difficulty, however, is when we begin to believe in one or another of these personas. This is when we can turn to a mirror meditation practice to stay grounded in our true nature and identity beneath the disguises.
Who Are We Without the Labels?
Some years ago, I was president and CEO of a local media company with all that came along with that – board positions, exclusive business associations, interesting interactions with local civic and business leaders.
More recently, I stepped away from a high-level position in our local government to work in a less structured, advisory role and to deepen my Life Coaching work.
Giving up the titles and the concomitant prestige and power has been interesting for sure. Now as I work with others in transition points what I often hear: “I don’t know who I really am,” “I am afraid of what might be ahead of me,” and similar fears.
“Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.” – Pema Chodron
Unfortunately, we can get so used to fitting into our expected roles and the positive feedback we get from succeeding at them, that we lose sense of our deepest selves. When the titles and prestige drop away, who are we?
The good news is that we don’t have to wait for a big shift in our careers or personal lives to better understand our true nature. It is possible to both explore our deepest self and, without being disingenuous, also be out in the world with whatever modicum of protection we feel we need at the moment.
Use This This Guided Mirror Meditation Find Your True Nature
Pema Chodron said, “Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.”
One of the best ways to discover and interact with our deeper nature is by looking in the mirror. Think about it: observing our reflection in the mirror is a daily habit, one that we don’t think much about. But truly observing your reflected face offers valuable insight.
You might think it a bit narcissistic to stare at yourself for any length of time, but this exercise isn’t about standing back and either criticizing or admiring the reflection; it’s about coming face to face with who you really are.
Follow This Step-By-Step Guide to Experience the Power of a Mirror Meditation:
1. Find a quiet place (and a mirror!) where you won’t be disturbed for a bit. Leave your devices off or out of the room.
2. Settle into a comfortable seated position, one where you won’t be tempted to shift and alter your posture. Close your eyes and breathe gently and naturally for a bit. Notice how your body is feeling. Are you feeling tension? Fear? Uncertainty? Curiosity? Whatever it is, just note it without judgement. Allow the breath to flow naturally.
3. Now, open your eyes and look at yourself in the mirror. Note immediately what you see and think. Most of us look at ourselves in the mirror without really looking. Or if we are looking, there’s generally a running narrative that goes along. Notice the first impressions and then let them drop away.
4. Continue to gaze into the mirror. What is your experience? Some people are saddened by the very critical nature of their thoughts, others are surprised by the expression of their face in response. Still others experience the face as fluid, or see shadows passing across the face, almost like a weather system.
5. Whatever your experience, stay with it and note it in your mind. Your gaze may soften and become less focused. How does that affect your perception?
You might want to bring a sense of compassion to your reflection, to note the places that your face reflects tiredness or sorrow. Sit with compassion with this face and self that looks outward at the ever-changing, often difficult world.
6. Is there any sense of self as you look deeply? Or are you experiencing a deep shift in perspective?
Instead of using the mirror as a tool for looking critically and figuring out ways to make your disguise more palatable for the rest of the world, can you spend quiet, reflective (pun intended!) time with yourself and uncover the jewel residing within?
7. Once you’ve sat with yourself (and your reflection, figuratively and literally) for 5-10 minutes, your final step is to take a moment to process the experience and any insights that you may have had during.
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Return to This Mirror Meditation Often
Done regularly, this practice can offer insight into the ways in which you judge yourself. It can offer ways in which you might be able to truly accept and live in your skin.
Perhaps with this deeper sense of yourself, you might feel able to drop a layer or two of your brilliant disguise.
How did this guided meditation go for you? Have an experience or insight you’d like to share? Questions about the process? Please tell us in the comments below – we love hearing from you!