Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We are reflected in others

I am currently reading a book "The Zahir" by Paulo Coelho. The following is an excerpt from the book. I felt somehow stirred when I read this. The following conversation is between the author and the lady in his life. A very simple but deeply thought-provoking dialog.

"Let's suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one of them is all smeared with black while the other man's face is completely clean. Which of the two will wash his face?"
"That's a silly question. The one with the dirty face, of course."
"No, the on with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And vice versa. The man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself, "I must be dirty too. I`d better have a wash."
"What are you trying to say?"
"I am saying that I was looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and however intelligent or self-confident they were, they ended up seeing themselves reflected in me and thinking that they were worse than they were. Please don't let this happen to you."