A man who thought he was the bee’s knees had the walls and ceiling of his most beautiful room covered in mirrors. He often retreated to this room, admiring himself in great detail from every angle, – above, below, front and back. Once he had done this he felt re-energised and ready to face the world.
One day he left the room without closing the door. His dog wandered in. Seeing lots of other dogs, he sniffed them and when they sniffed back, he growled. When they growled back he became aggressive and when they became aggressive he barked and then launched his attack. It was a frightful sight as battles against oneself are the fiercest of confrontations. The dog collapsed from exhaustion and died.
An ascetic was passing as the dog’s master, desolate with grief, was walling up the door of the room full of mirrors.
– This place has a lot to teach you, he said, so leave it open.
– What do you mean?
– The world is a neutral as your mirrors. Appreciative or anxious, it gives us back what we send out. Be happy and the world is a happy place. Be fretful and the world will be a fearful place. We are constantly fighting our reflections and die in the struggle.
May these mirrors help you to understand the following: in every human being and every moment – whether happy, easy or difficult – we see neither people or the world, just our own image. Understand this and fear, rebuffal and conflict will fly away.
(In Contes des sages de l’Inde by Martine Quentric-Séguy (© published by Seuil)