According to an old wives' tale, the story goes that if, on a certain midsummer night, you light two candles and gaze deeply into your mirror, the face of your true love will be revealed to you.
Charming as these tales are, neither midsummer nights nor mirrors have the mystique or hold the magic that they used to. Nowadays, we use mirrors to decorate our homes, to adjust our clothes, and fix our faces and hair, but the last thing we do when we look in the mirror is look for true love.
After all, how reliable could a mirror be? Some mirrors make you look slim when you are not, while another makes you look fat, and you are not. And anyway, what would your true love be doing loitering behind you on a dark night?
Anyway, back to reality. Life is complicated enough as it is without having to depend on a mirror to find a life partner...
But seriously, mirrors can be important in a very real way if they are viewed as a metaphor. Every once in a while, we need to reflect on the reflection in the glass. Step through the mirror, and into the deeper world beyond, the world of our inner selves and psyche, and introspect.
The face in the mirror is not just a face, it is the embodiment of an entire life. If you look deep into the glass, you will see a succession of faces, like an array of doorways, one behind the other, each one representing different periods of your life, and a different you, the young person whose dreams were yet to be fulfilled, or not yet even planned for, or the child who embraced the world and everything in it, or even the person who weathered grey days of sacrifice, disappointment and sadness.
Your spirit will have questions to ask; did you attain your dreams? Have you fulfilled your potential? And most importantly, has the road you have chosen brought you contentment?
Since life is viewed through different prisms, the mirror will give back the images that we demand. Some people may preen in the sunbursts of success, or the glitter of fame and wealth looking back at them
Others will smile to see the golden glow of home and hearth, family, children, and a peaceful life.
On another level, mirrors will remind you of the other side of the persona, the shadow parts of ourselves that we do not usually think to explore. We need to look beyond the public person, and explore the other side of ourselves, so that we may be able to see ourselves as a whole, and to accept all our qualities, both good and bad, and thereby, come to terms with it. The mirror is a reminder to us to stop, look, reassess and if necessary, change what we are.
A greater understanding of ourselves is an integral part of understanding and having compassion for others.
There are lessons to be learned while shaving, powdering, or combing ourselves.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed