Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Reflection–Dynamism and Stasis
I’m caught by the notion of stasis implicit in the dynamics of reflection. When we think visually of a reflection, for example, mountains and trees reflected in a pool of water, the dynamism occurs in the act of reflection–the bending back of the light rays–but the reflection itself is static (supposing the day to be windless and the water still). I believe part of the charm of reflections is this coexistence of opposites–the stasis and the dynamism together in the same experience.

Maharishi Science of Consciousness describes two qualities–silence and dynamism–as constituting the nature of consciousness itself.[1] This coexistence of opposites can be experienced by the human nervous system when an individual practices the Transcendental Meditation technique. The ability of the inner self to entertain this coexistence of opposites may explain why we are charmed by reflective surfaces; reflections capture this combination of stasis and dynamism in a concrete and visual way. We experience the tree and the reflection of the tree in the pool or the girl and the girl’s images in a mirror–unity and diversity–the coexistence of opposites, and we feel a thrill of pleasure.

Literature–that great expression of our writing endeavors–is filled with images of reflections from mirrors and windows to ponds, even puddles. From childhood to adulthood, we enjoy the process of reflection and what it reveals. Who can forget the wicked stepmother in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," who uses the magic of a mirror to be assured of her beauty. ”Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” But, according to folklore, a mirror cannot lie and, thus, the magic mirror captures the real essence of this wicked woman and recognizes her stepdaughter as more beautiful. In this fairy tale, reflection, though in a way unreal (it is magic after all) becomes a determiner of what is real–the evil nature of the stepmother, the second, more telling perception (may stepmothers everywhere forgive me!).

Reflective writing functions similarly to the magic mirror in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." It allows the writer to mirror back images, memories, thoughts, and impressions in order to let the truest image emerge. We are re-seeing–the truest meaning of revision.

Everyone wishes to be a one-draft writer, if for no other reason than to save time. We want to be the person who can write it once and never have to edit or proof. Yet, it is in the re-seeing, the mirroring back, the witnessing (as the fluff and dross are rubbed away) that we see the wholeness that the burnished expression reveals. It has been said that we write to discover what we know. I would add that we also write to create finer and finer expression of what we know.

First Image: Courtesy of Mandi Bradshaw 
Second Image: Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons. Franz Jüttner (1865–1925)Illustration from Sneewittchen, Scholz' Künstler-Bilderbücher, Mainz. 1905 - 1910. 
Source: http://digisrv-1.biblio.etc.tu-bs.de:8080/docportal/receive/DocPortal_document_00000165


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[1] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Vedic Knowledge for Everyone: Maharishi Vedic University Introduction. India: Age of Enlightenment Publications, 1995, p. 135. 


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