This word is used in a variety of meanings in esoteric contexts.
In the QFS or 4th Way Work context, the mirror is a group event where one person is shown himself by others. The idea is that a group which is sufficiently diverse, consisting of many different types of people, is more objective than a single person and affords a 360 degree view of a situation or person. To be free of personal likes or dislikes, a mirror should be given in the pursuit of truth and is thus limited to a Work context. Group opinion outside of the Work is notoriously undependable. A mirror generally is perceived as shocking or socially disagreeable. This comes from the fact that if If the mirror is any good, it will conflict with the subjective filters of perception most people maintain concerning themselves. In other words, people's self image is more or less based on lies to self and in the degree the mirror reaches its intended truthfulness, it will challenge these lies. In the theoretical event of a person possessing objective self-knowledge and receiving an objective mirror, there would be no shock or new information.
A common New Age thought is that reality automatically mirrors the individual. This is very imprecise and simplistic. There is a sort of interaction but its rules are complex and sometimes it may seem that reality responds in kind, sometimes in reverse, sometimes not at all. Also the timing can be quite indefinite, as in karma being balanced much later, hence the concept of a direct mirroring between the inner and outer is as such not very useful.
Steiner describes various processes involving mirror-like correspondences between worlds. For example, a recently deceased soul passes through a state where the inner state is reflected as outer perception. The correspondence between shapes of the physical and astral world is a peculiar process of mirroring in multiple dimensions, described in more detail in Steiner's book on the 4th dimension. Many of the New Age misconceptions about mirror-like effects may be over-generalizations and misapplications of such notions.
Concerning the mirror-like interaction of the person and environment, Gurdjieff gives us the following maxims:
- Faith of consciousness is freedom
- Faith of feeling is weakness
- Faith of body is stupidity.
- Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
- Love of feeling evokes the opposite
- Love of the body depends only on type and polarity.
- Hope of consciousness is strength
- Hope of feeling is slavery
- Hope of body is disease.
The QFS teaches that introducing objective observation into the system of one's reality creates order and makes creative interaction possible whereas wishfulness (or wishful thinking) increases chaos. In a state of objectivity directed action is possible whereas a state of greater chaos compels one to simply respond to outside circumstance.