Dear friend;

¨Your heart is a polished mirror. You must wipe it clean of the veil of dust that has gathered upon it, because it is destined to reflect the light of divine secrets.¨

Al Ghazali.

“Between the mirror and the heart is this single difference: the heart conceals secrets, while the mirror does not”


An Old Analogy

Polishing the Mirror of our Souls it’s an old symbolic image commonly used through antiquity, now day something most people have no idea, what are you talking about.

When searching in the Internet for a meaning, the only thing I could find was a reference to lesbianism!

And Ram Dass using it as a title for a book.

Shame on us!

The Sufis, and many other ancients seekers, speak of polishing the heart into a mirror, so that through our love we can reflect the heart of everything. This is one practice that in time can help us  to find who we really are, not the illusory dreamlike life, that most people live.

What does it mean to you to polish your heart? Where does your heart need polishing right now?

Hand Carved Heart Shaped Obsidian

Mirrors In Ancient Times

The looking glasses of the ancients were usually made of metal, at first of a composition of tin and copper, but afterwards more frequently of silver (Plin, l.c.). Pliny says that silver mirrors were first made by Praxiteles in the time of Pompey the Great, but they are mentioned as early as that of Plautus (Most. I.3.111). Under the empire the use of silver mirrors was so common, that they began to be used even by maid servants (Plinio. H. N. XXXIV.17 s48): they are constantly mentioned in the Digest, when silver plate is spoken of (33 tit. 6 s3; 34 tit. 2 s19 § 8). At first they were made of the purest silver, but metal of an inferior quality was afterwards employed (Plin. H. N. XXXIII.9 § 45). Frequently too the polished silver plate was no doubt very slight, but the excellence of the mirror very much depended on the thickness of the plate, since the reflection was stronger in proportion as the plate was thicker (Vitruv. VII.3, p204, ed. Bip.). We find gold mirrors mentioned once or twice by ancient writers (Eurip. Hecub. 925; Senec. Quaest. Nat. I.17; Aelian, V.H. XII.58);  but it is not impossible, as Beckmann has remarked, that the term golden rather refers to the frame or ornaments than to the mirror itself, as we speak of a gold watch, though the cases only may be of that metal.

Bronze Mirror Ganymede

Polishing The Mirror

As you can imagine ancient mirrors made out of metal needed constant polishing, in order to retain their polished reflecting qualities. and therefore their usefulness as mirrors.

This quality become a myriad of analogies to symbolize the constant work and effort in order to keep the mirror of the heart without blemishes.

¨Let me give you the mirror, but if you see some fault on its face, do not blame the mirror, but something reflected onto the mirror. Know that it is your own image; find the fault in yourself!¨

— Excerpt from The Conversations (Maqalat) of Shams of Tabriz

Mystical Heart Diagrams of Paul Kaym

Everything that we experience as a problem is within ourselves. Consequently the solution to the problem is also within us.

We need to cleanse ourselves from our vices, and forgetfulness, so we can heal. We  need to work constantly into restraining our ego so we can love, and forgive, and we can be  blessed, by receiving the pure Light of Spirit on a qualified instrument of purity, that becomes our heart after the constant polishing.

How does one polish the mirror of the heart? Prophet Mohammad says in a well-known Hadith (tradition) that the polishing of the heart is the act of invoking or remembering God (dhikr). In other words, the more one remembers God and burnishes the mirror of his substance, thereby cleansing it of the stain of forgetfulness that stubbornly clings to it, the more the heart becomes cleaner and clearer. Rumi explains it in this way:

“Through remembrance and meditation, the heart is polished until the mirror of the heart receives virginal images.”

A  sort of returning to the primordial condition  of Eden, but with the Wisdom and love acquired through practice.

Heart Pool At garden Eden

Rumi’s Chinese and Greek argument.

The Chinese and the Greeks}were arguing as to who were the better artists.
The King said,
“We’ll settle this matter with a debate.”
The Chinese began talking,
but the Greeks wouldn’t say anything.
They left.
The Chinese suggested then
that they each be given a room to work on
with their artistry, two rooms facing each other
and divided by a curtain.
The Chinese asked the King
for a hundred colors, all the variations,
and each morning they came to where
the dyes were kept and took them all.
The Greeks took no colors.
“They’re not part of our work,”
They went to their room
and began cleaning and polishing the walls. All day
every day they made those walls as pure and clear
as an open sky.
There is a way that leads from all-colors
to colorlessness. Know that the magnificent variety
of the clouds and the weather comes from
the total simplicity of the sun and the moon.
The Chinese finished, and they were so happy.
They beat the drums in the joy of completion.
The King entered their room,
astonished by the gorgeous color and detail.

A House Of Mirrors
The Greeks then pulled the curtain dividing the rooms.
The Chinese figures and images shimmeringly reflected
on the clear Greek walls. They lived there,
even more beautifully, and always
changing in the light.
The Greek art is the Sufi way.
They don’t study books of philosophical thought.
They make their loving clearer and clearer.
No wanting, no anger. In that purity
they receive and reflect the images of every moment,
from here, from the stars, from the void.
They take them in
as though they were seeing
with the Lighted Clarity
that sees them.

As translated By Coleman Barks.

The purity of the Sufi is due to his constant remembrance of God. The more he remembers God, the more he comes to know Him; and the more he comes to know Him, the more he comes to love Him. This is why the act of polishing the mirror of the heart is the key to entering into a love-relationship with God. The Sufi’s heart, in other words, is like white snow because of its purity, which it has attained through the remembrance of God. In one important tale, Rumi seeks to illustrate this idea in a more concrete way.


About theburningheart

Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Alchemy, Counsciousness, Heart, Knowing Self, Knowledge, Mysticism, Polishing The Mirror, Religion, Rumi, Spiritual Training, Spirituality, Training, Transformation, True Teaching, Uncategorized, Virtue, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Widdershins says:

    A timely reminder. 🙂 … and speaking as a lesbian I don’t think our souls are more or less polished than lesser mortals! 😀 … I’m curious though, what was the reference you found?

  2. I pray that I polish my heart constantly 🙏

  3. I don’t do god but I have every respect for the beauty and rightness of these thoughts. Good post. Would that I could put these thoughts into practice on a daily rather than occasional basis.

    • theburningheart says:

      Like mountain climbing, everything it’s a practice, we all choose what we want to do with our lives in a way, by what we decide to dedicate our time to.

      Thank you for your fine comment, we appreciate it. 🙂

  4. creekrose says:

    Love this post, especially the excerpt from Conversations with Shams-e-Tabrizi.

  5. Ben Naga says:

    The dust is part of what is too. Let’s keep on polishing. 🙂

    • theburningheart says:

      Yeah, we just do not want too much dust to cloud the image on it. Therefore the dusting, or polishing.
      Thank you Ben for your comment. 🙂

      • Ben Naga says:

        And thank you for the post! I always welcome finding a fresh post in my inbox. I hadn’t come across the Chinese v Greeks story before. It’s such a good one. 🙂

      • theburningheart says:

        Well, it’s just a poem by Rumi, maybe taken from an old story, but almost for certain, was not an Historical fact. It´s just used to illustrate the polishing of the Heart.

        And hey, it was done by Rumi, one of the greatest poets we know about it. 🙂

  6. Don Ostertag says:

    I’ll never look at a mirror in the same way again. The Greeks/Chinese story is so fine. Thanks for telling it.

    • theburningheart says:

      I am glad you find it fine.
      Should be, it was done by Rumi over 750 years ago, I do not know if you know about him, but a few years ago he was claimed to be the most read poet in America, that’s what I call staying power.
      Thank you for your comment Don, we appreciate it. 🙂

  7. stolzyblog says:

    beautiful concepts, lovingly presented… I know this experience, fleetingly, sometimes yeaqrs apart, when one suddenly catches a new ‘virginal image’ in a suddenly, inexplicably, receptive soul mood.

    • theburningheart says:

      I am glad you have experienced such thing.
      Those moments are precious, and let us know so many things…

      Thank you for sharing with us, we appreciate it. 🙂

  8. macalder02 says:

    We are always looking to be better and the heart is where our feelings reside. Having it clean is a feat these days. Valuable thoughts that you always give us. Thank you for sharing them.

    • theburningheart says:

      That’s right the heart it’s the seat of good, or bad feelings, and yes having it clean it’s the key for kindness, peace, love, and everything that is good, and it’s difficult, but not only these days, since the Adam story, or myth has been the case.

      Every man, and woman have to face that challenge, yesterday, today, tomorrow. and the foreseeable future every heart will have it’s fight.

      Thank you Manuel, we appreciate your comment. 🙂

  9. Leyla says:

    Beautiful post, friend. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Excellent post again. If we just all could polish our hears…

  11. We the people, who are often very impressed by the thousand and one colourful opportunity often are not aware anymore that in this way we don’t see the importance of a simple polished heart anymore! Thank you very much for this touching post.:) Very best regards Martina

  12. theburningheart says:

    Well, where I come from we say that money was round so it could run away, and of paper so it can fly too, and that money it’s not everything in life.
    But like everybody else, sometimes I also worry about, but not much.
    In our time money it’s practically worthless, that’s why you have to have a lot, what can you buy with a penny, anymore? When a child you saved pennies, and you could get at least a candy, not anymore.

    Thank you Martina! 🙂

  13. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Thank you so much. Always inspiring and always a gentle nudge back to “remembering.”
    I was having trouble with a story I’m writing, but reading this post today makes me think I’m on the right path. The sentiments I’m working with mirror (excuse the pun!) what’s being said here.
    Thank you!

    • theburningheart says:

      Yes, most people when they think of Adam, and Eve, our mythical ancestors, they believe their sin to be expelled out of Paradise was a carnal sin, and they are wrong, it was forgetfulness… still our main problem today. Therefore the need of polishing the mirror, to keep our remembrance always clear, present, and luminous, reflecting within our hearts.
      I am glad reading my post made you think you were on the Right Path.

      Thank you for your comment, it’s always appreciated! 🙂

  14. These kinds of Ancient stories always affect me. We always blame surroundings, but yes, only we are getting affected by it.. indeed true,.. thanks for sharing it, sir!

  15. I think we do it all the time, maybe even subconsciously. I think, I do. We never achieve complete purity because that is how we grow. We can probably try. Humans are so incomplete, but the worst is that all flaws are covered up with pretense and sweet words which never turn into doing.
    Just like everyone else, I’m learning to be my best version.
    Great to read this post.
    I was very absent for a while, I did not want to read anything, talk about anything or do anything.
    I think I am back now.

    • theburningheart says:

      Yes, at least some of us try to do our best, to be fully Human requires to conscientiously set ourselves into a rigorous Self examining path, more like a Polymath, or what we know as a Renaissance man, and those who actively engage in Arete, the practice of all virtues, as Plato, and some ancient Greeks philosophers proposed, and some Spiritual sages embrace.
      Of course by no means an easy task, specially now day in an age that our society value fragmentation, and specialization, where an individual its valued for knowing a lot about very little, and we sort of pride ourselves to pigeonhole our talents, and skills.

      Thank you Inese, we are glad to have you back, and as always we appreciate your comments. 🙂

  16. What a lovely concept! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s