044 House of mirrors & two dogs

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” — Anaïs Nin

The House of 1000 Mirrors. Credits: Libby Hall / pin

The House of 1000 Mirrors is a Japanese Folktale which expresses a great deal upon perspective and the statement above by Anaïs Nin.
The fable goes like this:
Long ago in a far village there was a place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors which contained one thousand mirror pieces. An unhappy bitter dog heard about this place and decided to visit. He climbed up the stairs to the doorway of the house with his perpetually discontent face. When he reached the top and went inside the house, he saw 1000 bitter, unfriendly, and disgruntled dog faces of his reflection (unknown to him) looking at him. He growled at them in anger and was horrified to see all the thousand dogs growl back at him. He barked louder, and experienced the same with a thousand of his reflections. He left in disgust, thinking to himself, “That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

In the same village another happy and jovial dog decided to visit the sacred place. He climbed the stairs bouncing cheerfully to the doorway of the house. He went in excited with his energetic tail wagging and a smile on his face as he always did. He was surprised in delight to see 1000 friendly dogs of his reflection (unknown to him) smiling and rapidly wagging their tails. He let out some friendly, happy cries and was greeted identically in return with the same warm and lovely cries from the thousand dogs in the room. As he left in glee, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often.”

Well, that was it. Two dogs going to the same place with the same thousand mirrors in place, but with such different experiences.

We look at the world as we are. The world and the things in it aren’t in any “certain” way because we made them and we all look at our creations differently. There isn’t a right or wrong way to look at things. The first dog to go in, the bitter and unfriendly one just saw his reflection and he didn’t like it and got out of that “horrible place”. The second one saw his reflections and loved the “wonderful place” and would visit more often. None of the two opinions was the so-called right or wrong one. It was justified to be a horrible place for the unfriendly dog because he had his own unpleasant experience. And the same was accounted for- for the happy dog due to his own pleasant and beautiful experience. Accordingly, there is no wrong or right thing, but one can only speak with his experience.

This is one of the reasons why I believe that individual experience is more important than knowing what is “right or wrong”. Because as humans we are really almost always biased towards our experiences and that’s why the world is unique because we all have different backgrounds and experiences. And because of our own sometimes misjudged (not right or wrong, just misjudged) experiences we can totally contradict a different individual’s perception on the same matter.

To conclude: different people will have different perspectives on the same topic. No one is right or wrong in the same sense. But only biased by their own experiences. You get to decide what you believe. And we envision the world the way we are, not as they really are. (however they really are, who knows?)

– The Japanese Folktale: The House of 1000 Mirrors Japanese Folktale / Great-Inspirational-Quotes.com and The House of 1000 Mirrors / Lotus seed
– The photo: Flickr / Libby Hall and Pinterest / Diane Day / Libby Hall

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