Her Mirror

by Win Bradley
(Richmond, Virginia)

Original Text: Her Mirror


There once was a young woman who carried a mirror in her purse everywhere she went. Now there's nothing strange about carrying a mirror, lots of women carry them, the unusual part was how she used it. She would take the mirror out of her purse, look into it for a moment, and immediately put it back. Then she would quickly repeat the process. Always looking into the mirror twice.

This struck people as a little odd, but no one ever asked why she was doing it.

One day, a shopkeeper that was new in town, noticed the young woman's behavior and thought to himself "That woman must be so preoccupied with the way she looks that she has to carry a mirror around all the time. She shouldn't worry about the way she looks on the outside, it's what's inside that counts."

The shopkeeper decided to approach the woman and satisfy his curiosity. He walked over and asked "Miss, why do you use your mirror in such an odd manner?"

The woman turned to the shopkeeper and said, "I it use when I feel troubled sir. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems."

"Well, that sounds rather depressing," said the shopkeeper. "Every time you look into your mirror you see a problem?"

"Not at all," said the woman. "When I look into it the second time, I see the person that can solve it."


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Like many Zen stories this one is about taking a long, hard look at ourselves. In this case, the young lady in our story has taken an extra step and literally looks at herself in the mirror first. It may seem strange, but it's effective.

Our young lady has figured out that everything in her life begins and ends with her. That doesn't mean she's selfish or narcissistic, quite the opposite actually.

She has accepted that all of her problems are hers to solve. She owns them. She doesn't blame others when trouble comes her way. She doesn't try to control people, or tell them how to live their lives, or change their behavior. Even if the behavior of others is the source of her problems, she still looks inward for the solution.

Our young woman knows the only thing in this world she can truly control is herself.

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Revised Text:

There once was a young woman who carried a mirror in her purse everywhere she went. Now there's nothing strange about carrying a mirror, lots of women carry them, the unusual part was how she used it. She would take the mirror out of her purse, look into it for a moment, and immediately put it back. Then she would quickly repeat the process. Always looking into the mirror twice.

This struck people as a little odd, but no one ever asked why she was doing it.

One day a shopkeeper, who was new in town, noticed the young woman's behavior and thought to himself, "That woman must be so preoccupied with the way she looks that she has to carry a mirror around all the time. She shouldn't worry about the way she looks on the outside, it's what's inside that counts."

The shopkeeper decided to approach the woman and satisfy his curiosity. He walked over and asked, "Miss, why do you use your mirror in such an odd manner?"

The woman turned to the shopkeeper and said, "I use it when I feel troubled, sir. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems."

"Well, that sounds rather depressing," said the shopkeeper. Every time you look into your mirror you see a problem?"

"Not at all," said the woman. "When I look into it the second time, I see the person that can solve it."


----------


Like many Zen stories, this one is about taking a long, hard look at ourselves. In this case, the young lady in our story has taken an extra step, and literally looks at herself in the mirror first. It may seem strange, but it's effective.

Our young lady has figured out that everything in her life begins and ends with her. That doesn't mean she's selfish or narcissistic, quite the opposite, actually.

She has accepted that all of her problems are hers to solve. She owns them. She doesn't blame others when trouble comes her way. She doesn't try to control people, or tell them how to live their lives, or change their behavior. Even if the behavior of others is the source of her problems, she still looks inward for the solution.

Our young woman knows that the only thing in this world she can truly control is herself.


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