In his book, ‘The Road less Traveled’, M Scott Peck talks about how when we are born, we feel as ONE with the world. We perceive ourselves as fully connected to the things and the people around us. The baby cannot distinguish herself as separate from her mother, his arm, bed or milk bottle. As we grow, we start to realise that this is ‘my mother’, ‘my arm’, ‘my bed’, ‘my milk bottle’, ‘my toy’. We start to feel separate from the world around us – we start to lose that connection.
Sometime between the ages of six to eighteen months old, the baby sees his reflection in the mirror. The psychiatrist, Jacques Lacan, referred to this as the Mirror Stage. This is when the baby realises her separateness, not only from others and the world around it, but now from herself. There is now a new self in the mirror, a newly created identity – looking back at our true self.
Behold and beware the birth of the Ego – many a time that “thief in the mind that’s after your promise and your dreams. That voice that tells you, ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘what makes you think you can do it?’, ‘no one in your family has ever done it before!’”, Jim Rohn.
Our true self perceives this new identity as the ideal self – and commences on its life-long journey striving to be just like it! Pursuing and chasing – in the hope that once it becomes it, it will reach ultimate happiness.
This philosophy is supported, often unconsciously, by our society – ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, they ask. The labelling and stereotyping begin! As we grow up, we become conditioned by our culture, our society, our education system, our families – we take on their beliefs, rules, stories and values. On the one hand children are told ‘don’t cry’, ‘be strong’, ‘don’t let others know how you feel’ – and on the other hand – there is a limit on how happy and excited they should show others that they are! Day by day, week by week, year by year, layer by layer, this cultural conditioning and these societal beliefs and rules mask people’s true shining selves.
M Scott Peck also talks about how when two people fall in love, they feel whole, like when we were babies. Then slowly, slowly, their minds begin playing the same games, focusing on differences, rather than on similarities. This can become a pattern and can be repeated in many areas of our lives. We start the job our dreams, we commit our all and then… the pattern, which has now become part of our unconscious blueprint starts all over again. Connected, then disconnected, then the desire to connect again. The natural positive-negative cycle of life, Yin and Yang, black and white, sun and moon.
What if the route to fulfilment is in the opposite direction?
What if beneath our need to connect with others, is our deep longing to reconnect with our true selves?
What if the eyes of another is not the window to their soul, but the window to yours?
Some authors’ quotes:
‘You are the universe expressing itself as a human for a little while’, Eckhart Tolle.
‘We are the eyes of the cosmos. So that in a way, when you look deeply into somebody’s eyes, you’re looking deep into yourself, and the other person is looking deeply into the same self. Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself’, Alan Watts.
‘Each human being is bred with a unique set of potentials that yearns to be fulfilled as surely as the acorn yearns to become the oak within it’, Aristotle.