Listen to episode 318 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Through the Looking Glass | The World as Mirror. Edited and adapted from The Palace of Mirrors and Other Essays by Joseph Frank Thompson.
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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Palace of Mirrors and Other Essays by Joseph Frank Thompson, published in 1911.
The world is full of looking-glasses in which we behold our own reflection. Any given mirror may be cracked or otherwise defective (so that the image fails to do us justice), but, more or less, the thing reflected is the thing that is.
The material world abounds in such mirrors. The summer rain is one thing to the farmer, whose heart glows with satisfaction at the thought of the crops that are being nourished, and quite another to the farmer’s children, who grumble their resentment toward the chores that interfere with their holiday.
The falling snow does not look the same to the boys and girls who expect to go sledding, as it does to the homeless who do not know where they may find shelter for the night. To the thirsty traveler, the oasis in the desert, with its cluster of tiny palms and its lukewarm spring, seems fairer than the grandest of groves and the coolest of fountains do to the one who has no need of shade and drink.
We have all observed how easily children obtain enjoyment from the most trivial circumstance when they are already in a happy mood — and how fruitless our own best efforts to entertain them are, when they do not wish to be entertained. It is the same with ourselves.
We get from our surroundings the reflection of our mood. If it is one of discontent and fretfulness, the weather will always be too warm or too cold, and all the beauty of the sky and landscape will be as if it were not so. On the other hand, if our hearts are filled with hope and cheerfulness, we shall be sensitive to all the delights which nature offers to our senses. We shall be conscious of the grandeur of forests and mountains, the peacefulness of meadows, the fairness and fragrance of flowers, and the songs of birds and brooks — while the trifling discomforts, of which we should otherwise complain, will be only topics for jokes and laughter.