“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Although at one point back in the 1970's I actually practiced Mirror Gazing Meditation as a way to explore aspects of my subconscious, these days I don't spend much time in front on a mirror.
Being retired now, I don't have to appear with the proper clothes and haircut at the proper place at the proper time each day. Sporting little hair on the top of my head, a washcloth is usually a good enough brush--and Betsy is generally quite expressive at the points at which I cross the line between un and kempt, periodically coming at my beard and mustache with scissors -- and great zeal.
These days, it seems that Sitting Practice is my primary mirror.
Taking the time to gaze steadily and kindly at the flowing river of Mind as it merrily meanders along is increasingly interesting at this stage of the journey. In fact, with a bow to the Fall Ango practice I observed at Zen Mountain Monastery years ago, I recently upped the ante. I've committed to going off the grid and observing a Day of Mindfulness each week, as well as Sitting outside to observe the sunset daily when I can this fall.
I didn't leave the Monastery because I don't like to Sit. Meditation practice is often the most interesting part of my day.
It is also, I think, the most helpful.
As the Practice deepens, I'm grateful to acknowledge that even the more gnarly emotional whirlpools that swirl through my awareness don't seem to rock the boat all that much. Even the momentary bursts of violent self-hatred and anger that still sometimes emerge are usually just experienced as waves crashing over the rocks. These days those feelings readily become water over the dam--on and off the zafu. Just around the bend, the river generally forms a clear, deep pool mirroring the grandeur of the emerging autumn foliage and a brilliant clear blue sky.