How To Make Looking In The Mirror A Meditation That Helps You Love Yourself More

Photo: Dean Drobot / shutterstock
woman looking in the mirror

Have you ever heard the saying, "the eyes are the window to the soul?" You could call mirror gazing meditation a kind of soul gazing of the inner self.

It’s not about vanity. It's not staring at yourself in the mirror or looking at your face and deciding whether you look presentable or not.

It's also not about judging your facial features, your hair, or the shape of your body.

Mirror-gazing meditation is a spiritual and meditative practice.

It's not about staring at the mirror or looking at the mirror. It is what the name suggests: gazing!

It’s a steady fixed look, aimed intentionally at discovery. You look at yourself to know more about yourself. It’s a self-discovery process, a meditative journey.

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The more you learn when you gaze at yourself and into your eyes, your confidence will grow.

Your self-awareness and self-compassion increase in ways that are attainable through years of mirror-gazing meditation.

A steady practice of mirror gazing meditation helps you understand, accept, and love yourself.

It’s not narcissism. It’s a healthy way to meet yourself. You begin to know and get comfortable with yourself. Eventually, you learn to love yourself.

Unless you love yourself unconditionally, you cannot love another or have someone love you unconditionally. This is one sure way to learn to receive love with no strings attached.

Why mirror-gazing?

Great Buddhist masters meditate on their corpses. It teaches them to detach completely from their physical body and become aligned with their true nature.

When you take on the practice of mirror-gazing and do it for five to fifteen minutes a day or even longer, you become very comfortable with yourself.

You learn that your body is a means for you to experience all that is related to the three dimensions and it's just that, no more and no less.

You feel compassion for yourself and only then extend it to all other creatures you encounter through your waking hours while remaining non-attached to the outcome. 

Learn how to get started with mirror gazing meditation.

When you stare into a mirror, depending on which part of your body’s reflection you are staring at, you will learn more about it at the surface level.

Even your gaze brings forth the being within the body for you to get familiar with him or her.

If you're staring at your bare shoulder, you notice your skin and the marks and blotches on it. Eventually, you notice that it's all a covering of someone within. An inner reality it is shielding and housing.

It’s like when you gaze at a car or a house or any object of interest. If you like it, you will notice how you feel when you are inside the car driving or in the house living. The car and the house get a bit more personal this way.

Now, when you look at your eyes and hold your gaze for even a fraction of a second, your initial instinct might be to look away. This is true for first-timers.

So, commit to starting with at least three minutes of mirror-gazing. Use a timer. If you are enjoying mirror-gazing, add a couple of minutes to the timer and continue.

If you're used to looking deeply into the eyes of people when having a conversation, this will be easier for you.

Are you comfortable holding the gaze of another person who's looking at you intently? If so, looking at your reflection is easy.

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My mirror-gazing journey.

When I began my practice twenty years ago, I felt as if I was looking into the eyes of another person. Because I had promised to do this exercise, I continued to gaze at my eyes, and very soon I was gazing into them.

I noticed my eyes were smarting. This made me well up with love for the child who had forever feared disappointing her mother, other elders, and her teachers.

As I committed to mirror-gazing, I began to heal the broken wings within and the child in me grew up into a girl, a woman, and soon a warrior.

What can you expect when you start your mirror-gazing practice?

What will emerge from within you as a result of your mirror-gazing depends on who is lying hidden within. One thing I can promise though is that your true nature is much more than what you can imagine.

Mirror gazing helps you unravel yourself from all that has kept you feel stuck, maybe even kept you feeling safe yet sorry. It starts as a physical process, and slowly turns into an emotional process, and very soon is a spiritual journey.

Initially, you may find yourself staring at or talking to a stranger. Your reflection might also engage with you. You might wonder should I be looking at my left eye or my right eye.

All these challenges dissolve over time and there is only one you.

When you're doing a mirror-gazing meditation, here are 6 questions you may ask.

1. What happens when you stare into a mirror?

Please don’t stare! No one appreciates being stared at. Instead, look with love. The child in you needs validation.

When you look at your reflection in the mirror, you feel acknowledged, received, loved, admired, and respected.

One thing that happens with certainty is you stop seeking external validation.

2. What does a mirror represent spiritually?

A mirror could be considered a portal, through which the you within you comes out to meet you and welcome you in.

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Your conscious and subconscious self get to align themselves with your higher self over time.

3. Is it bad to look in the mirror?

Have you heard of the adage "a mirror tells no lies?" If you can’t handle the answer then don’t ask the question. If you don’t want to see how your core self looks, then it’s bad to look into the mirror.

Looking in the mirror helps you approve of all that you disapproved of earlier. With time, you will make friends with your inner critic and notice how attractive a human you are.

When you love yourself so completely, you get comfortable loving others completely as well and without any expectations.

Love becomes a personal choice.

4. Do others see you the way you see yourself in a mirror?

No way! Your right shows up as your left and your left shows up as your right in the mirror.

So, the way you see yourself in the mirror is not how others see you.

5. What does mirror-gazing do?

Mirror gazing gets you closer to yourself and makes you aware of your purpose on this planet.

Only through mirror-gazing did I learn of mine, which is to listen to the struggles of others and tell them stories of their future in a way that their past self could believe.

6. How is it different from other forms of meditation?

There are many forms of meditation and none of them require a mirror except mirror gazing. There's a meditation on a candle flame in which you meditate on the flame with open eyes and slowly your eyes close and you see the flame within.

When the flame within dissipates you can open your eyes again to meditate on the open flame. In some other meditations, you can gaze at the object of your affection, the image of a loved one, or your vision board, etc.

When you begin mirror-gazing, all that exists are the mirror and you. Slowly, the mirror dissolves and there’s your reflection, and very soon, there’s only you.

In the end, you get to know yourself and love yourself. It makes you more accessible and easier to communicate and connect with.

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Keya Murthy, M.S., is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Spiritual Life Coach at the Ventura Healing Center. She’s also a best-selling author and currently working on her tenth book in which she shares how she helped herself and her students to claim their power, beauty, and freedom.