Most of us invariably take a look at ourselves in the mirror at least once a day. The mirror diligently and without being judgmental, reflects what is and what is not.
We accept what it tells us without much complaint. We then try to better, in whatever way possible, that which is possible to change for the better and simply accept the rest as given. We take pride in what we have in terms of form, beauty and appearance and try not to dwell too much on what we lack outwardly. We may also resolve and work towards those areas that need to be improved. We step out of the house, with this 'approved' confidence, and are ready to take on the world.
Let's say we are able to hold the mirror to reflect our mind and heart. Chances are that most of us don't make the effort, not so much because we may not know how to do so, but more perhaps because we may not approve of the kind of reflection we might get to see. It may be too much for our ego state to accept. It is never easy to get ourselves to accept what we don't like to see in us, especially that which we cannot actually 'see'.
Imagine a plump person standing in front of the mirror. The person would try to see him self from those angles that are more flattering to him. When we attempt this through a session of meditating in calm abiding, where we are only watching our mind, we will initially try and see our reflected mind from only those angles which our ego state or nurtured mind will encourage us to see. For example we might think "I do get angry, but not so often, so it's OK" or "Yes, I do get somewhat envious when my neighbour buys a swank car and desire the same for myself too, but I don't really keep it in my heart", or we might see ourselves to be someone most humble and put on this act when we are in reality filled with pride.
Similarly, when we try to see our heart in the mirror, our nurtured mind convinces us that we are the most considerate and compassionate of all. In reality, however, we may be sympathetic in some cases but not truly empathetic to all.
All these projections that distort the true reflection is created by ego.
In meditation sessions, we reflect on the clouded state of heart and mind and when we see the pollution, it means we have made a good beginning. Then there is scope for cleaning the mind. With sustained meditative reflection, we are able to observe the mind and heart more and more closely and reach a stage where we are able to see them in their clear state, free of pollution. At last, we come face-to-face with our true nature.
This whole self-cleansing experience takes us on the path to lasting bliss.
Anger, greed, ignorance of our true nature, jealousy, pride, desire, habitual tendencies, mental formations and perceptions can prove to be toxic and so need to be phased out. Destructive thoughts and actions are not worth retaining; they only bring harm and suffering. Since the very purpose of life is happiness, all these negative tendencies must go!
At the onset of the festive season, many of you would soon begin to clean up your homes, throwing or gifting away things no longer needed. Just the same way let us spare some time and effort towards cleansing of the heart and mind and discard the attributes that are useless to us.