In my book, The Book of Virtue: The Mystical Path to Self-Transformation, I discuss the idea that karma can be thought of as a mirror. Further in the material I mention how we can conceptualize our life as a giant magic mirror, reflecting back to us all our thoughts and actions.
In this way we can see our life as not something “out there,” coming at us and affecting us… rather life is a mirror of what’s “in here.” If we change what’s in here, we change our perception of what’s “out there.”
Recently I was reading some Q&A at the Zen website: OneDropZen. A question was asked:
Question: In the realm of feelings and emotions how do I distinguish my ego cravings or karmic influences which appear so real from the true man?
Answer: Looking at it from the point of Zen, the ego and karma both are just apparitions on the surface of the mind, yet have no reality to them. The true mind is like a mirror, only reflecting without any substance in it. If you simply do not add energy to that which appears – ego, karma – then eventually it will subside. If you believe the phenomena to be real, then you create your own confusion. Please practice zazen and purify your mind, so that you can realize this for yourself.
This answer is in harmony with The Book of Virtue. It points to the same issues of the ego and karma. These are based on perception and therefore have no self-existing nature to them (they are empty.) He also suggests considering the mind as a mirror… “reflecting with out substance,” as he puts it.
His solution is to not add energy to the ego/karma that appears in the reflection.
In my book, my approach to karma as a mirror is mentioned on page 46:
Unlike some ideas on karma, it is not a judgment in the sense of a person or force handing out “payback” for some horrid deed they’ve done. Instead it’s more appropriate to think of karma as a mirror. As a person moves in front of a mirrored surface, so their movement is reflected back.
A mirror is a wonderful analogy, as the use of a mirror is a key to the need for karma. Why do you stand in front of a mirror to begin with? Aside from vanity, we use mirrors to check ourselves. Without the mirror we might wander around with our fly unzipped, our teeth dirty with food and our hair a mess.
Similarly, karma provides this process for spiritual checking. When someone gets upset with you, realize you must have anger issues going on inside your own mind. You cannot experience something you do not have. The law of attraction activates through karma to provide you a response to energy you are sending out.
As you live your life, note those things that frustrate you and consider:
“How am I like this?”
The mirror of return will begin to focus on your own inner problems that need resolution. To assist with this process of problem recognition:
Keep a daily journal (or online blog) and commit to writing each event that frustrated you that day. Note if this appears to be similar to something else from the past (like a pattern) or if it appears to be a new situation.
For the next several days repeat one of the following affirmations to yourself every few hours…
The Zen approach is very interesting.