Look into your soul with True Mirrors at Gratitude Migration

Festivals are all about going beyond your limits into a space you’ve never been before, and that’s never clearer than when stumbling across art installations in random places across festival grounds. While you may spend considerable time doing your makeup or adjusting your custome in front of a mirror, that pales in comparison to the moment one stumbles across the ultimate treat in self-appreciation, an Aha moment, if you will: John Walter’s True Mirrors project.

A mainstay at Burning Man and other festivals from coast to coast, John’s project appears as a setup of ordinary mirrors – until you look inside them. That’s when the magic begins. Using technology that fuses two mirrors at right angles, incorporating special glass so there is no disruptive line in between, John’s True Mirrors allow you to see yourself as you are seen by others: not as a reflection, which is what a typical mirror shows.

 Image courtesy of John Walter

Image courtesy of John Walter

Part scientist, part computer whiz, John got into True Mirrors by accident – and although it employs physics, he’s first to say the exercise is really psychological in nature. It began at a party, when he stumbled into the bathroom, as most do, to find the mirror staring at him disapprovingly.

I walked into the bathroom with a smile on my face, and the mirror in front of me hit me in the face. There’s something wrong with you! You’re totally fake. You must be fooling those people out there…

As the internal dialogue ran, as most people’s do, John’s eye caught on his reflection glimpsed through the medicine cabinet, open at right angles. When mirrors adjoin in this way, at the correct angle, the mirror doesn’t show a reflection: It shows an actual representation.

"When I saw myself I did a double take. I said, 'Oh my God! There you are!' Then I said, 'So what that you partied hard? You're having a good time.' And then I started beaming at myself. What I really saw in my eyes was the sparkle, and to this day I can remember how my smile turned genuine.”

John refers to this “Aha moment” that most people come across when they experience the true mirror as seeing one’s soul for the first time. After the genesis of this project, John tried to show others but found they were distracted by the line in the middle created by the two right -angled mirrors. He used special glass and other techniques to eradicate the line and found others who resonated with the experience, so much so that he began crafting mirrors in this way and not only brings them to festivals – he sells them so you can have the true mirror experience at home.

This is what I strive to bring to people. You’re an amazing human being, and look – you get to see that!

Not everyone immediately “gets” the True Mirror.

It has nothing to do with the mirror, it has everything to do with the way people are.
 Image courtesy of John Walter

Image courtesy of John Walter

As part of a culture where staring into the mirror daily isn’t just natural, It’s woven into our day to day: from the bathroom mirrors at office cubicles, to the reflection in storefront windows, we get used to staring at our reflection. And so often we get consumed with the reflection to the point that’s who we believe ourselves to be.

The True Mirror experience, according to John, is a chance for people to go beyond the reflection into their true selves – finding the sparkle within, staring deep into their souls. It’s not for everyone, and requires being awake and expressive to truly experience the depth of one’s existence as shown in the mirror.

At some parties, John is greeted by people who don’t fully understand the uniqueness of the mirror; while others are floored and cry when they truly see their soul sparkle.

“That’s one of the things that makes Gratitude so great: In a great, high-vibration space, a lot of people just get it. It’s a reflection of people’s nature, where they are and who they think they are, and how expressive and awake they are. That’s why we’re excited to come to Gratitude Migration: When we go to Gratitude*NYC parties, the kind of people who show up to this are already feeling good and open to the experience.”

Recently at a Rainbow Gathering, John experienced a large man who cried after seeing himself for the first time: He was seeing his gentleness within. “He was a really beautiful, gentle man who just happened to be huge. If you take the gentleness away, he’s a big guy who’s kinda scary, but really he’s not. He got to see that for himself, and feel beautiful.”

 Photo courtesy of John Walter

Photo courtesy of John Walter

From women who have stared into the mirror and told themselves they’re ugly countless times, to large men seeing the gentleness within, the True Mirror experience is one that will deliver an “Aha Moment!” for any festival goer, and one John is excited to bring to Gratitude Migration.

“It’s great to be at a small festival because people all have a chance to see you at some point, and spread it via word of mouth.”

John will also be vending his True Mirrors at the festival, for those who are looking to see their soul and sparkle within every day.

“The biggest truth is that in order to see anything special in the True Mirror, you have to be that. You have to be it in order to see. We’re often conditioned to just stare at ourselves in mirrors. The real trick is to smile – which for some people is really difficult – and see how contagious it can be, if you put a real smile on your face you’re going to smile back. It can take time – sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, sometimes we strike a match to a bonfire.”

Any advice for people who find themselves in front of a True Mirror at Gratitude Migration? 

Animate yourself and be present. Look deeply into your soul, and your soul will look deeply back.
 Image courtesy of John WAlter

Image courtesy of John WAlter