Reflecting on the Reflection

This morning, I was walking from the parking lot towards the side entrance of the hotel where I am staying.

I noticed the reflected image of the sign of the hotel where I was staying in the windshield of a car below it.

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As I walked in to my hotel room, arms full of computer boxes, binders and training materials – I was thinking about what I had seen…reflecting on the reflection, if you will.

What is the significance of this, you may ask?  Your guess is as good as mine, but part of the reason I’m writing this is to attempt to explain.  You see…if you look at the photo above, the reflection in the windshield of the vehicle in the lower right hand corner appears to have a “bluish” color.  While it may not appear this way in the photo, this is what I perceived in the real, 3-D world.  Clearly, the sign at the top of the hotel has a black background with green and white lettering.  As I made my way back to my room, I was thinking about the reflection and the slight difference in color.

We can attribute the noticeable color difference to one of many contributing factors such as the clouds, the rain, or the windsheild itself.  The essential components of windshield glass are silica sand (SiO2), soda ash (Na2 CO3), dolomite ((CaMg)(CO3)2), limestone (CaCO3) and cullet. Small quantities of potassium oxide and aluminium oxide are often added.  You can read all about that here if you’re interested.   We can distract ourselves with details all day long and quite often – this is what I find myself doing.  The point that I’m trying to make is that we notice the fact that there is a difference in the reflection.  It is important to reflect on the reflection.

Have you ever heard of “The Butterfly Dream” by Chuang Tzu?

One night, Chuang Tzu dreamed of being a butterfly — a happy butterfly, showing off and doing things as he pleased, unaware of being Chuang Tzu. Suddenly he awoke, drowsily, Chuang Tzu again. And he could not tell whether it was Chuang Tzu who had dreamt the butterfly or the butterfly dreaming Chuang Tzu.

We all see things in life and we all perceive them differently as we are different individuals.  In a similar way that Chuang Tzu dreamt of the butterfly…I looked at the reflection in the windshield, thinking similar thoughts.  Am I seeing the true colors in the sign?  Am I seeing the true colors of the sign in the reflection in the windshield?  Am I seeing anything that is real at all due to the clouds, the rain or the composition of the windshield?  Moreover, I realized that none of this really matters…yet it is the reflection of the process that makes it as important as I believe it to be.  Perhaps I am simply mad…

While I must return to work now…I wanted to take a few moments to share this with you and encourage you to reflect on your reflections.

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