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Seeing the Reflecting Effect

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

The phrase "As above, so below. As within, so without" is a common saying in the spiritual community. But where exactly does it come from and why do we say it? This article will give you some background information and context about the saying to better be able to answer both of these questions.

Continue reading to find out more.

"Ἥν τὰ ἄνω καὶ τὰ κάτω συνέντευξις εἰς τὸ ἕν, καὶ τὸ ἕν εἰς τὸ ἕν καὶ τὰ ἄνω καὶ τὰ κάτω" (Greek text)

"That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of the one thing. (English translation)

This phrase comes from ancient Hermetic texts known as the Emerald Tablet or Tabula Smaragdina.
These texts are believed to have been written by Hermes Trismegistus, a legendary figure associated with ancient Egyptian and later Greek wisdom traditions. (note: the origins and authorship of these text are subject to debate and interpretation)

This passage highlights the concept of correspondence and the connection between different levels of reality. It tells us that the larger universe and every individual form of matter on Earth are reflections of each other. Which means that understanding one, will lead to knowing the other.

The Emerald Tablet is considered a foundational text in alchemy, spiritual and mystical traditions around the world. The principle expressed in the text, including the idea of "as within, so without, has been widely explored by groups of people throughout history.

Related Terms

"As above, so below. As within, so without", is the basis for many different terms in various spiritual and philosophical traditions. All of which relate to the concept of the larger (Macro) and smaller (Micro) being a mirror in a way to the other.

Here are some alternative terms, concepts, and sources that express similar ideas.

1. Law of Attraction:
  • "The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham" by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks.

  • "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne.

  • "Manifest Your Destiny: The Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want" by Wayne Dyer.

2. Karma
  • "The Bhagavad Gita" (an ancient Hindu scripture) discusses the concept of karma and its role in shaping one's destiny.

  • "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" (also known as "Bardo Thodol") explains the workings of karma and its influence on the afterlife in Tibetan Buddhism.

  • "Karma and Reincarnation: Unlocking Your 800 Lives to Enlightenment" by Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

3. Reflective Reality
  • "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle.

  • "The Mirror Theory: The Way of Self-Reflection" by Mark Helprin.

  • "Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts" by Stanislas Dehaene.

4. Reciprocity
  • "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants" by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

  • "The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary" by Angeles Arrien.

  • "The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature" by David Suzuki.

1. Divine Mirror (Mirror Effect)
  • "Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life from Scratch" by Lama Surya Das.

  • "The Mirror of the Mind: Zen Teachings on the Nature of Mind and Human Actions" by Sokei-an Sasaki.

  • "The Divine Mirror: Reflections on God's Love as the Answer to Life's Questions" by Marianne Williamson.

How It Affects Us

When we better understand the concept we are able to see the impact in our everyday life. Here are a few examples of how it may play out.

1. Relationships: Our relationships often serve as mirrors to what is going on internally with us. The qualities and behaviors we see in others, positive or negative, show us our own inner workings. For instance, if we repeatedly attract certain types of people or experience conflicts in specific areas, it can indicate underlying patters or beliefs we have about ourselves and the world that we need to address within ourselves.

When we understand this concept, we can make changes in our own life along with choices that better align with our highest self.

2. Emotional Responses: Our emotional reactions can also show our inner state. If we find ourselves getting triggered often or having strong emotional responses to certain situations over and over, that make us feel out of control, it may be a result of unresolved emotional wounds.

When we explore the root causes of the emotional reactions we later regret, we become more self-aware. Which helps us make changes and heal areas of our past that will benefit our life.

3. Life Circumstances: Our life situation and the experiences we come across in life can sometimes be a reflection of our inner beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. For example, if we hold a belief of lack, we may repeatedly find ourselves in situations of struggle when it comes to money.

If we reframe our thinking to have an empowered mindset, we will attract abundance and more opportunities. Our external situation serves as feedback on the alignment between our internal state and the reality we create.

4. Decision Making: When we self-reflect we are able to see our choices and actions more clearly and look for patterns in what we do. By honestly assessing our decisions and their outcomes, we can gain insights into the underlying motivations and belief systems that shape our experiences.

This self-reflection about our decision making gives us an opportunity for personal growth, course correction, and making conscious choices that align with our values and goals.

Take Away

From ancient times to the present, the principle of "As above, so below, as within, so without", is an opportunity for us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. No matter the term or approach, it's important to accept the principle as a helpful way to use the external world to show us our inner state. So that we can take greater responsibility for our choices, embrace personal growth, and consciously create a more fulfilling life.

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