Thursday, August 30, 2012

In The Mirror

Reputation is what you are in the light.
Character is what you are in the dark.

Hello Ernie
Years ago I followed a certain spiritual path that required me to sit in front of a mirror for a long time looking at myself. It was an exercise in self awareness. But the basic benefit was to engage in a dialogue with my conscience. I would go through the recent events of my life, noting my behavior in each case and measuring myself against them all to determine what I did that was true to myself and what wasn't. It's almost impossible to lie to yourself while looking yourself in the eye.

It was a very helpful exercise for a while. With each label I found to describe my actions I could determine what to affirm and what to discard. And with what was left I could illustrate to myself what I was at that given time. It helped me to be watchful and careful about doing or saying anything that did not fit with the character I had fashioned myself to be. It also astonished me to find out that I really did have a consience and that sometimes I ignored it.

I finally stopped looking in the mirror except to shave. Instead I began looking out from the mirror and back at myself as a person among others. In effect the world became my mirror. I grew more aware of how people responded to me and tried to be in person the character I had discovered "in the dark." Did I slip up? More times than I have the courage to admit.

I had a fairly good reputation as a broadcaster and actor. There's an old saying in radio "You're only as good as your last station break." A good reputation can take time to build up and you can lose it in a moment. It is really something owned by others and only loaned to you by them. But character, good or bad, is impossible to lose. It can only be changed or improved, because you own it. It's yours to find in the dark, in front of a mirror or in your own thoughts as you pick and choose between what to keep about yourself and what to throw off. And when you step out into the light that character is yours no matter what your reputation is.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never Give Up.


Geo. said...

Exceptional post, D.B. There are indeed some things that are perfected in the dark, but your use of the mirror to reflect you reflecting it is the stuff of astonishment. I believe it was Twain said, "Always be astonished!".

Arlene (AJ) said...

Another great read DB. You always make us all stop and think. Thanks.

Jenny Woolf said...

Interesting and thought provoking post.

Ken Riches said...

Looking out is the only way to go.