In the post awakening phase that I had, I went through a time of seeking clear reflections in others and often finding different shadow aspects of myself. This is actually a profound gift. It’s not that this wasn’t happening to us before, but with the light of awakening in our hands, we can begin to discern what these relationships are really all about and learn from them. In learning from them, we release old habits, issues, and karmic bonds that keep us locked in cycles of pain and suffering.

However, usually, many of us do not understand the role of our relationships in our lives much less during this time where we’ve touched so deeply in the inner pools of profound love, stillness, and truth. More often than not, we keep trying to act out our games with other people and attempt to get things. The worst is usually around anything romantic where many people now try to ensnare the perfect spiritual partner (soulmate, twin flame, or whatever) to play out the old ego game where the end result is still seeking safety in partnership.

But as I said, we have a great opportunity in the awakened space to learn about ourselves, so allow me to spend some time musing with you on the topic.

The Many Transitional Relationships

Some time ago, I wrote about transitional relationships. In truth, many relationships can be transitional through out our lives, and more truthfully still, all relationships are constantly changing and shifting. Awakening helps us see that truth in others and in ourselves. From this awareness, we learn that we can be reborn each day, and we can rebirth our relationships each day. If a relationship was dysfunctional one day, two people can come together to change the agreement and make it healthy in the next day, or even the next moment.

I know. It sounds too good to be true.

Well it is for most of people because they are all entirely too committed to their stories and their ego–even after awakening. The embodied phase of awakening is usually a lot of letting go of the ego and re-creating it in the image of the divine and as a tool of the divine. No where can this be more powerful than in the space of relationships with other people.

The Mirrors You Call Into Your Life

In many ways, the people in your life act as mirrors. Those who show us things we like about ourselves, we try to keep around. Those people who show us things we don’t like about ourselves, we try to get rid of. For instance, the mean boss at work or the bully at school is often a reflection not necessarily of our cruelty to others (although it could be), but of our giving up/abdicating of our own power. These mirrors are the ones that most people try to fight or run away from instead of understanding them. Understanding and learning to confront the aspects of yourself that have called in such a mirror allow you to transcend the issue. In releasing the issues, it becomes less likely that you’ll bring such people into your life again, although not impossible. Or if they are attracted in, the same confrontational situations don’t arise because you are now acting in a very different manner than before.

On the positive side, awakening also ushers in a time where we want to understand this light we’re shining. So we may also draw in very bright and loving people into our lives. The trick to being with these people is to not get attached to them. Many of them will simply pass quickly through your life as you continue to acknowledge the depth of your own inner light. They may help you to learn something about yourself, and when that lesson is done, the relationship dissolves. So you can see that while the difficult mirrors that come into your life we want to get done with as soon as possible, the pleasurable ones are often the ones that are easiest to ignite attachment issues.

Projecting Your Life Onto the World

Yet, for many of you, you cannot even appreciate the mirrors that you are calling into your life yet. You will switch from projecting your darkness on everything and seeing a world filled with assholes, jerks, manipulators, embezzlers, rapists, murderers, and so forth to seeing a world filled with bright radiant souls, kind-hearted people, philanthropists, healers, and much more. But clear sight does not project itself onto the world. Clear sight sees what is, and there are both aspects of light and dark constantly at work in this world. Waking up doesn’t change this. Waking up simply is an embracing of both and seeing everything as it is.

So if suddenly everyone looks beautiful, take a pause. Be present to this and see if this light is really the person as they are or if it’s just you seeing yourself. You will be surprised how often it is the latter and not the former. Certainly, everyone is a beautiful soul at their core, but that is not the space from which most people are operating. Most people are trapped in their ideas and illusions, and they don’t know how to step beyond their self-made chains. And no matter how much you might like them to break their chains, you can’t change them or do it for them, regardless of how much inner light you see in them.

Mirrors like these show you just how much beauty you have, and it is important in this regard to continue to own your light and not be too quick to give it all away before you’ve had a chance to really anchor yourself in it.

Anchoring Yourself and Deepening Into the Light Spaces

Ultimately, the reflections you see of yourself in others and the ways you project yourself onto others are going to be powerful teachers to help you see more of yourself. Many of these people will be showing you blindspots that you had not seen or had ignored before. Many times, the levels of ignorance we live in is quite extraordinary, and so it can be equally overwhelming when someone shows us just how profoundly loving or profoundly cruel we’ve been. Often, awakening and the lessons we call into our lives show us both. As you can tell, I’m not perpetuating the naive idea of spiritual awakening that is being circulated around these days in which we just float blissfully about and never see anything disturbing. Those are called rose-colored glasses, and they skew our vision of the world instead of clarifying it.

As you see each person as a lesson for you, you can learn and grow and deepen into your inner space. Your inner space is God, is your connection to God, is your connection to everyone. In that space, the droplet of water is the ocean and yet it is still just a droplet. This is the space that we’re connecting to, and once you feel anchored in that inner flow, there is nothing in the world that can knock you off balance again.

Falling In Love with the Spiritual Teacher and Other Light-Full People

Then one day, you find someone who isn’t just mirroring your light. You find someone who is shining their own as well. For many people who reach out to me, they are looking for a reflection of their light. This is usually done as a means to have their experience validated. In this crazy world, people write to me wanting to know if they’re going crazy. Very rarely do I get a person with actual mental health issues. Usually my answer is that the world is crazy and consumed with greed, lust, anger, hatred, and the usual litany of dis-eases. For some people, connecting with a spiritual teacher or another who is shining his or her life is intoxicating. It’s intoxicating to have their love shined back, and it’s intoxicating to receive genuine love from another. I often describe true love as the cleanest, clearest, and purest water someone has even drank. Depending on what they were drinking before, the person can be overwhelmed by it or lost in the desire to drink even more. This is when someone becomes lost in desire and attachment issues with a spiritual teacher, healer, yoga teacher, or any other really bright soul (which they may label as a soulmate or twin flame). They can’t get enough.

But the truth is that the person already has all this love inside of them. The deeper truth is that for whatever amount of love one feels from the external world, that is like icing on the cake. The greater love is always a feeling within you. Truly, can someone put an emotional feeling in your body? Can someone make your heart feel something? And do you have a series of ideas about when and how to open up to vulnerability and allow yourself the feeling of love? These are important questions as you deepen into the spaces of love and learn the lessons of love these light-bringers have brought into your life.

Many times, I have had moments arise of complete and profound love, and I am just writing at my computer. I am not necessarily writing any spiritual. It could be a freelance email, or I could be doing research on some obscure financial thing for a project…not exactly love euphoria-inducing stuff. Yet love arises. Because that is the state that I cultivate in myself.

Attuning Your Attention for Reflections and Mirrors

So let’s be really practical today. I want to make sure that people embrace this opportunity and begin to break out of the old pattern of trying to make people be a certain way or trying to get the world to give you certain types of idealized relationships. Let’s start here.

  1. Look at the people in your life.
  2. Review what you like and dislike about them.
  3. Journal about the aspects you like and how they relate to you.
  4. Journal about the aspects you don’t like and how they relate to you.

For instance, you like people who are very out-going. Is that a reflection of your own social nature or something that you want to cultivate in yourself? If you are very social, why is that? Is this because it brings you joy or because it is a way to hide from a fear of being alone? In awakening, you may suddenly be thrust into space where you are all alone precisely to face that issue; awakening is smart like that.

After those initial steps, it really is about finding the lesson that feels most true to you and embracing it. If you are learning about a shadow side of yourself like repressed sexuality, you may attract a lot of people with a lot of sexual experience as well as other people who have a similarly repressed sexuality to show you both aspects of yourself. In this instance, I often would encourage people to learn how to cultivate their sexual energy in their own space, but it can be done with others. It just requires a lot more time, care, and loving attention, especially if you’ve awakened and are moving through a lot of shifts. Before going into that, you may want to read my blog about, “Understanding Spiritual Sexuality.”

The Mirror Breaks; You See What Is

Then at some point or at different points, mirrors start to break. You will see a person or multiple people (if you were learning from a specific group, for instance) as they are. If you were working on a shadow side, you may suddenly realize how dark and in pain the people are. If you were working on owning your light, you may suddenly see someone’s deeper beauty when the mirror breaks. It all depends on what you were projecting and what life lessons you had to learn because ultimately this is simply taking you to a space where you see things as they are. You let go of your need for the world and your relationships to be any particular way, and from this space, you can actually start to consciously choose the people in your life, perhaps for the first time in your life. At which point, a lot of the old ways of connecting are gone, and you really can appreciate someone exactly as they are.


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. What a truly amazing piece of writing. I have leant so much from it. Thanks Jim – you are a constant inspiration to me.

    Will – London, UK

  2. Hi Will. Thank you very much. I'm honored that you can hear your own wisdom in my words because ultimately much of the light we see in others is really our own light. 🙂

  3. Appreciate your insights here. Particularly relate to your visualization of the "mirror breaking," and would like to observe that as this first happens it feels a bit strange and scary but if you let go, it quickly feels so right.(: Also appreciate the observation not to get caught up in desire & attachment issues! Hardest part is what to do with those around you whom you love but who don't understand or accept your feelings/state of being. Am finding if I hold myself firmly and gently, most relationships have a way of working themselves out.

  4. Yes. Relationships are a lot smarter than we give them credit. I usually find that so long as I stay in my truth and my heart, they do figure out what they ought to be and how they ought to flow. In this flow, we can learn so much. All we have to do is being willing to see what's really there and move from that space.

  5. Hi Jim, fairly new reader (couple weeks), this is a seriously excellent article.

    I'd just add that in my spiritual tradition, there's a point along the path where this shadow activity is actually inflated, where the emotional damage moves definitively from being in the background into the foreground. In fact "twin flame" type experiences are often the catalyst for this for a lot of the reasons in your article, you're confronted with someone whose presence is so similar to one's own Self and one projects the Self on their loved one or teacher, only to be led to that profound moment when the whole projection shatters under the reality that these people aren't gods or goddesses but people. The metaphor for this is the Garden of Eden After the Fall, before this moment there was innocence. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who find themselves stuck at this stage because of all the pain that comes as a result (often people end up on anti depression medication) and this is where a good teacher can come in to help a student start to ease themselves out of the mental viewpoint towards the energetic and intuitive one. Without a teacher I would think is either difficult or nigh on impossible.

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