Chapter 16. Reflection

I’m not talking about the inability to see yourself clearly by using the polished tin surface in the bathroom or the one nailed to the wall inside your cell which serves badly, I might add, to reflect your image, nor the ones they sell in commissary which are a bit better.  No, I’m talking about not seeing what you appear to be on the outside, but what is going on in the inside.

Many of us will spend up to years and years in prison and will return to the street just the same as we entered and ultimately will find ourselves, once again, trying to see the poorly reflected person we are in those government provided mirrors only because we had not taken the time to use these government facilities to see what and who we really are.  Not to do so is a very huge waste of time.

It is sad to say, but we do not know who we are, and the older we become, the more shameful it is.  As we discussed in Chapter 3, to know who you are can only be achieved by taking time to discover the answer which can only be done by a thing called, “Reflection.”  What is reflection?  Reflection is when we find that quiet place in our cell or within the stall of the bathroom, or when you have the liberty of going outside, to be by yourself to see how you are looking on the inside.  Being busy or playing games keeps us from doing true introspection of who we are and becoming.  It is for certain when you do this, you will be horrified by what you see but the joy comes when knowing it does not have to remain this way.  We are able to change into good people, productive people, people who other people can like and love.  Someone who never again has to come through these gates again; but doing so you have to be willing to face the evil and ugly person that you are.  Truth be told, those on the outside are faced with the evil and ugly person you are on a daily basis! So doesn’t it make sense to do so, too?

Yesterday an older gentleman and I were sharing with a young man of 25 who was going through something dealing with an outside relationship.  We first suggested he spend time on his bunk thinking about what she’d written to him as I later suggested he sit on the same bunk and try to understand the person to whom she had written what she wrote.  People don’t write or say hurtful things because they’ve nothing else to do.  They do so because they’re reflecting back what they received.  It is no fault, many times, the manner in which we strike back because inside we are being struck but we need to understand what is striking us.  A good friend of mine, Samantha says, “Love is the command (of God) and with what we should identify.”  Without truly understanding who we are, how can we possibly offer who we are to someone else?

Reflection is being introduced to who we are.  This is itself the greatest meeting you could ever have where something substantial could take place which will revolutionize your life and those lives who come into contact with you.

Set aside time, each day, because each day you are being affected and are changing.  Why continue living with the stranger that you are?

Chapter 17

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