Many spiritual teachers, and spiritual schools’ teachings, have said that the world around us is a mirror of our inner world. The way we perceive the world around us is a reflection of the way we think, or the way we are, internally (our inner self). I would tend to agree with it to a certain extent. The way I understand this is from a psychological point of view, especially from the Freudian perspective.
Anything in the world can be a trigger event, literally anything at all. This comes about because of our minds way for attaching meaning and value to everything that we can perceive in the world. Maybe the sweet scent of freshly baked bread at the bakery in the morning reminds you of your grandmother’s baking when you were young, or causing you to salivate because it reminds you of how wonderful it would taste in your mouth. Alternatively, the peace it brings you from staring at the droplets of water tracing a path on the window when it is raining outside; at other times, the puckering of lips at the mere sight of a fresh lemon from the tree in your backyard.
When we see an event before us that causes us some form of emotion/s, or recognizing it as something desirable/undesirable by us, it is quite possible that the event holds a meaning deep inside ourselves. In other words, it has triggered something inside us and it can be something desirable/good, or it could be one of our denials if the reaction was deemed undesirable. A denial is something that causes us anxiety which we have not given ourselves enough time to deal with (a past repressed event that caused a, what we perceived as an, unacceptable emotion for whatever reason/s). For example, grief from losing a beloved family member, but due to a busy working schedule we may not have set time aside to properly deal with the grief. In most cases, it is a form of trauma (or a mini-trauma, for lacking of a better word). Those feelings/emotions that happened at that point in the past are transferred onto this present event, thus causing our triggered reaction. Our reactions in such cases could range from being as dramatic as the volcanic eruption of bottled up anger, to quietly sitting in a corner sobbing away, in some instances somatic reactions like fainting, and in other instances .
The father of Psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud talks a lot about the Id, Ego, and the Superego. The Id is our portion of the mind that operates on the “pleasure principle”. The Superego is the moralistic component of the psyche, and the Ego is the component that tries to balance the drives of both the Id and the moralistic principals of the Superego. When the Ego is either overburdened, or threatened by its tasks, it employs defensive mechanisms such as Repression, Reaction Formation, Projection, Sublimation, Rationalisation, and Conversion. (I shall leave the discerning readers to find out what each of those are through the convenience of the internet)
In sum, when we perceive events around us we will have some form of reaction. The reaction could be something we prefer, because it was something desirable, and can be pleasurable, due to the meanings in the past that we have attached to it. Or, it could be something undesirable, which is a reaction to our own denials/traumas in the past. All of such reactions are formed of meanings/values we have attached to similar events from our past (ie. metaphorical processing at work here). Hence, we perceive event/s through the lens of our own past experience/s. It gets very convoluted when you try to get into analyzing what event/s gets triggered by what past experience/s; you start to see layers of meanings linked to other layers, like an onion. Our real self has been insulated by the world around us with the many layers that we have just mentioned. When the universe creates experiences (or the event that gives us the experience) around us, it is showing us what our inner world is like to us. The world around us becomes a mirror of our inner world. The question then becomes have we been perceptive enough to notice that? In addition, there are more mechanics at work than just this, which will be revealed as the writing progresses.