Mindfulness Theories & Practices #2: Seeing In Others What We See In Ourselves

“We only see in others what we see in ourselves.” I’ve been pondering this statement for several years. If we see good in others, that’s because we see it in ourselves. If we see evil in others, that’s because we see it in ourselves. These claims suggest our direct experience provides a gateway to knowledge about ourselves and others. Our thoughts, emotions, and feelings offer firsthand experiences and direct insight. We can’t get our ideas solely from reading or observing others. We get them mainly through exploring who we are and then using the results of our exploration to provide a lens through which we view ourselves, others, and our world. There is an obverse to these types of statements: If we don’t see good in others, it’s because we don’t see it in ourselves. Also, there is a corollary to all this. If we want to see “change” in someone else, we have to see it in ourselves. We can’t fix another person or the world. We find we can only change ourselves. That is, we expand peace by becoming more at peace with ourselves. We reduce violence by being more compassionate towards and forgiving of ourselves. The list could go on. All this gives meaning to the adage that when I’m pointing a  finger, there are always three fingers pointing back at us…. Answers lie within. Look inside.

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