Reflection is... revolutionary.
I often think back after teaching a yoga class. I’m sure many teachers of any variety are familiar with the practice. In fact, in my training as a secondary educator, we were strongly encouraged to include this tool in our teaching life. When I look back, I reflect upon my intentions for the class or session I led. I examine how I met these aims, how I forestalled? What impeded my success? I judge it’s vital to the craft of pedagogy to have and nurture this process of cyclical feedback. But, as I did so today (after hosting a virtual Kundalini yoga class), I became aware of just how revolutionary this sort of “reflection” is.
(strap yourself in. We’re getting a bit… meta- in the mirror.)
The image of myself in front of a mirror comes to mind. There are very few known creatures in this world that are conscious of their reflection. The topic fascinates. To the point that there are several well-known scientific studies surrounding the concept. And what did we find? What did our explorations of the mirror uncover? The beings that are aware of their reflections in a mirror- humans, some cats, dolphins, apes, and certain birds like parrots and corvids - all share a certain intelligence. An intelligence we can relate to. So much so that many of humanity’s greatest creative endeavors depict amalgamations of animals, humans, and spirit.
So, what’s really happening when we gaze into a mirror?
In my humble judgement, humans reflect in front of mirrors.
Humans, especially, have a distinct sense of self. Modernity and the advent of social media have also certainly changed the game of identity/ self, for us. So, I am wholly confident that when humans gaze into mirrors, we are engaged- consciously, mentally, and (if you are so inclined) spiritually. Look at our treatment and focus on “the selfie.”
Let’s step back further.
Even just imagining myself looking into a mirror triggers a level of self-reflection for me. Maybe this is an individual phenomenon. However, my instincts tell me that this might be true for most of us. And if that is true, then reflection begets reflection.
The image of what we recognize, what our brain and body registers as “me in this world,” in essence should do this...right? What we are is the product of previous action, reflection, imagination, manifestation. The “me” in front of you is a painting of sorts. It has layers, depth, perspective, mood, vision.
If we look to yoga for some perspective here, a familiar but maybe not completely known concept can lend some guidance. Many of us are familiar with terms like mantra and tantra but their relation is often overlooked. The root antra- is the Sanskrit word for the “seed” of any thought within the wonder that is the human mind. And as the beauty that is thought unfurls within and grows, you can picture it as facets of a jewel being revealed. They are all part of the same structure, same organism but each dazzles and awes in their own unique way.
Mantra is then, any sound or vibration/frequency that characterizes the seed antra.
Tantra is the essential duality that exists in order for said antra to be.
Yantra is any visual arrangement/representation that exemplifies said antra.
There are other kinds of “facets” for every seed of thought but the yantra is the one that stands to teach us. What if we look to our reflection within the framework of yantra?
My reflection (a kind of yantra) is a visual arrangement/representation of an antra, a seed of thought.
So then, such reflection begs to query, what antra am I manifesting? What “seed” do I see before me?
Thus Spake Maek
Nov. 15, 2020