The mirror was old. It had lost its shine, and sometimes, one could barely look into his/her reflection clearly in it.

Prakriti told her Dad to replace the unclean, hazy mirror on the wall. But her father refused to sell the old furniture that belonged to several generations in his family. It frustrated Prakriti to look at her own hazy image in it every morning, and yet that was the only mirror in the house. Because of its poor reflection in the mirror, even her room remained unkempt. It was a mess! Her life itself was a mess. 

Prakriti judged herself based on that mirror’s reflection. If someone asked her to describe herself, she would think of herself as that hazy woman that she saw in the mirror every day.

And then one day, she couldn’t bear to look into it. The unclarity irritated her, and she knew something had to be done.

She took a wet cloth and started scrubbing the mirror. It was hard work. For hours, she scrubbed it, and yet it refused to shine.

At the end of the day, Prakriti looked at it and saw that it hadn’t shed its haziness and that the mirror was as old. But she wasn’t the one to give up.

She bought a different kind of solution that was said to shine mirrors effectively. The next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, she scrubbed it, and scrubbed it for a long time, and yet it refused to shimmer! She grew tired, and decided to take a little break. As she was taking a little break, she looked around the room. For the first time, she realized that yes, the mirror was old and hazy, but her room? It was as if a typhoon had torn it apart. It was untidy. Her books were stacked up against the wall in an untidy manner. Her clothes were all over the place. She hadn’t made her bed in a month. Her cupboards were overflowing with clothes, and yet she always complained that she had nothing to wear. Her accessories were just lying around on the nightstand. Since the old mirror refused to change its ways, Prakriti thought of cleaning something that would atleast appear clean after she’d cleaned it.

And Prakriti left the mirror alone and started cleaning her room. In about a couple of hours, when her father entered the room, he was happily shocked to see everything shining, except that mirror, and Prakriti sitting in one corner, tired but quite satisfied with her work.

Gradually, unknowingly, cleanliness started creeping into Prakriti’s normal life as well. She started hating to keep the kitchen unclean after making dinner. She preferred clean desk and a cleaner bathroom. Her sense of hygiene increased and all that increased her self-worth. She started seeing herself with different eyes, no more relying on the hazy mirror for her unclean reflection.

And then it happened. One day, she woke up to find the mirror clean. Then she realized that it wasn’t the mirror that was unclean, but her own mind. Mirror just reflected it.

So far as my personal experience with meditation is concerned, any form of meditation is just like looking into an unclean mirror. First, it makes us utterly disoriented, since we can’t figure out who the person in the mirror is. Then…when we can’t take the haziness anymore, we start cleaning up. Our awareness starts waking up. The rest of the things in life start falling into place, even as we continue cleaning the mirror of our minds.

Recently, a very fabulous storyteller and a kind woman came to know that I have a habit of waking up early and praying to God. The statement that she said next was exactly what one feels when we start walking on the rocky, confusing, and yet exhilarating path of meditation. She said, “When you start waking up at 5 AM, and just make a Sankalp of doing one diya in front of your God, and nothing else, you will realize how difficult it is to keep even that one Sankalp going.  But in that process, as you struggle to wake up at 5AM and bathe and light a diya, somehow, everything else in your life starts to fall into place. Magically. Truthfully.”

I am only a novice in the path of meditation, and it is gradually shaking me out of a deep, deep slumber that I was probably in since many lifetimes. In my case, Om Swami has nudged me out of the sleep, just like any other Guru would in other people’s cases.

The struggle is good. It is real. But we owe it to the hazy, unclear, and yet firm mirrors of our mind to be cleaned, atleast once a lifetime.