Have you ever paused for a while your busy schedule to think about how a child forms a sense of identity, by looking at his/her reflection in a mirror or a shiny surface? Or is he/she?
I personally think that mirrors are undoubtedly the first object that forms that invisible but unfortunately very powerful barrier between the child, who encounters it, and his/her inner sense of identity.
Please, allow me to explain, in greater depth, my view. Whether we remember it or not, we all come into this world with an inner sense of a higher self, a magical identity so to speak, known only to us. By “inner self” I mean that secret but powerful awareness of oneself from within, which is almost divine in nature and that we all come armed with into the cosmic awareness.
We enter this material realm with a tiny world builder present inside us. A little wonder-maker, a miracle worker and creator of sorts with a mind mainly bent on performing his own unique miracles and discovering beautiful, dreamlike paradises on this earth with his invisible magical telescope.
Because, how can one describe a major achievement such as when the child utters his/her first word or manages to walk for the first time, if not as a great unimaginable miracle or when he/she tastes a pear, a grape or a cherry for the first time discovering for him/herself its glorious substance expressed through its immediately distinguishable odour and flavour. What a great discovery it is for a child the nearby playground filled with all kinds of amusing distractions!
That playground is his/her Eden, where innocence is the most beautiful ever blooming tree of joy and pleasure. No harm can befall the child, as long as he/she does not deny her innocence. No one can steal it or undermine it with any action, as long as the child remains united with this inner spark of self who is able to experience different kinds of beauty and his/her senses are open to everything new wondrous and unexpected.
But what exactly does the mirror that is so detrimental to the child’s psyche? What is the first thing that separates us from the Eden of innocence, if not the mirror, the sole object able to introduce us to an alternative self, a self utterly tied to a specific face and outer form that lies to us and forces us to accept it as the only real self we have? This lie of outer appearance completely opposes the unrestrained inner conscience, with which we come endowed into this world by acceptable labels and convenient boxes.
Imagine a world where no one would have a sense of this outer self. It would be a world of clear entities and almost angelic beings, eternal children filled with the bliss of innocent delight, by their inner, greater more divine part. Narcissism, selfishness, vanity and every harmful emotion related with them would have been a thing of the past on such a world.
The true consequences though of such an acquaintance with our outer appearance and consequently the denial of our inner knowledge of who and what we are go far deeper and are far more harmful than any well-intentioned parent can possibly imagine, because the chasm that forms between appearance and true self leaves the door open for even greater inner conflicts such as the antithesis between truth and lie, good and evil, past and future. Our little Adams and Eves are now free to eat from the tree of every conceivable antithesis and lose forever their compass that points to true happiness.
My advice to the contemporary parent is to delay this process of inner division for as long as possible, by not encouraging the child to identify with his reflection too early. On the contrary one should more eagerly encourage every inner sense of self by saying to them “You are the feelings you feel, not a mere reflection on something that breaks with a mere pebble or a tiny stone”.
By slowing the procedure of the creation of division and keeping the child for as long as it is possible in touch with his naturally awakened and sensitive senses and not with his/her appearance a parent will manage to protect the child’s humanity and the spark that offers light to his/her whole being.