The Science of Reflection – what is it reflecting to us?

The Science of Reflection – what is it reflecting to us?

The Science of Reflection – what is it reflecting to us?

“The angle of incidence = the angle of reflection”

We may remember learning, recalling and reciting this law of reflection at school, but have we ever stopped to consider what the science of reflection actually means, and what it means for us in our everyday lives?

When light hits a smooth surface it is reflected away from the surface at the same angle that it came in.

It is not changed by the surface, just bounces off in its fullness in a way that is very ordered, exact and mathematical.

When the reflecting surface is irregular, the light can bounce off in any old direction, and even be scattered in many different directions in a chaotic way that diminishes the power of the original beam.

The light itself as a whole is unchanged, but the way we see it is different, depending on the surface it is being reflected off to us.

Everything in life is a reflection, seeing as we come from, are made of and are surrounded by light.

Water is a reflective surface. When the water in a lake or sea is very still, the reflection of the landscape is clear because the reflecting surface is very smooth. But if there are ripples or waves in the water, the reflection becomes distorted.

In the same way that light reflects off the surface of water, it reflects off the surface of us, and that is how we see each other in this physical world, as the light is reflected from another to our eyes. In the same way that light reflects clearly off water that is calm and still, we can see that quality of stillness reflected in a person. And if they are in emotional or mental turmoil, the quality of reflection can be scattered, as off the surface of turbulent water.

Everyone in life is a reflection for us to observe and learn with, for they hold a mirror up to us of our own light.

We are all equal in essence, equal in light by nature, but we do not all live that light and embody that light in our daily lives, even though we may have moments where we shine in full.

The way people are with us reflects the way we are with ourselves and their reflection can serve to increase our awareness of how we are living with our own light.

Is the reflection we are looking at clear and loving and joyful?

Or is it dull and scattered and chaotic?

And why we are we graced with seeing that particular reflection in this moment?

Allowing ourselves to see life in this way can remind us of the power and responsibility of living as a clear and loving reflection for others.

Are we living in a way that allows us to shine and inspires another to be more of the truth of who they are, more of the light they are and come from?

Or are we living in a way that dulls our light, offers little inspiration, and incites another to be more scattered and chaotic?

The sun does not wait for us to shine. It rises every day and lights our way, no matter what we are doing or not doing, no matter how much we are living of the light that we are.

As does the sun for us, so too is it for us to light the way for others, to serve as a steady, loving, consistent reflection of light on earth, of how to live as a human being, filled with the light we are from and will one day return to.

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  • By Dr Anne Malatt, MBBS, MS, FRACS, FRANZCO Eye surgeon, wife, grandmother

    A woman with a wealth of worldly experience and a richness of lived wisdom, I live and work in a country town, love my work and the people I work with, and enjoy time with my family and friends, walking, reading and writing.

  • Photography: Clayton Lloyd