Reflectors and the Learning Curve of Open Centers29 August 2019 2019-08-29 18:10
Reflectors and the Learning Curve of Open Centers
Reflectors and the Learning Curve of Open Centers
This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
This article has been a long time coming. When I was writing up articles about every type three years ago, I decided to hold off on writing about Reflectors until I felt like I really had a solid grasp on what a Reflector actually is and how energy flows within and around them. It ended up taking a while. Reflectors are mysterious creatures and elusive at that. Furthermore, to get into Reflectors means to dive into the intricate workings of energy within the body. We will be talking about experiencing the subtleties and nuances that come with openness, rather than the obvious force with which definition can present its truth. This article is about and for Reflectors specifically, but anyone who has open centers will find plenty of useful gems in here.
As I write this, I am in the company of two of the reflectors who are most dear to my heart – my cat Gaya and dog Freya. Because animals have much less gates and centers in their bodygraph, their design is often left open completely, aside from a gate here or there. Therefore, most, probably all, animals you meet are Reflectors. They have their individual personality, which shines, yet their energetic presence reflects the room around them. Dogs become like their owners, cats reflect directly the energy of the house they live in.
This is why they are so wonderful to be around. An animal will accept your energy exactly as you are and reflect back to you where you could pay more attention to yourself (usually selflove and selfcare). Animals serve in this way by simply being, and so do human Reflectors – even if their version of being is a much more elaborate endeavour than simply laying on the couch and being cuddled (though it does not need to be).
A reflector is someone whose chart has no defined centers. They will have gates defined, but these gates do not meet another gate on the other side. As a result, no electromagnetic connection is made and the centers remain undefined. This only occurs one percent of the times a human is born, so around one percent of humanity could be categorised as a Reflector.
Most of what has been written about Reflectors has been written by non-Reflectors. Yet, what it really means to be a Reflector and what the experience is like, is only known by reflectors themselves. If you are a Reflector, than you are the ultimate, unique authority on what it is like to be a Reflector and on what works for you specifically.
I am a Self-Projected Projector. In my own experiment with Human Design, I focus on investigating myself, rather than reading outside sources. I am always looking inside myself to see what is happening and to find what feels right and what works for me. This year I am completing ten years of this work. With five open centers, my intensive and insistent inquiry led me to understand the power of openness. This is the source of my writings here.
My own Human Design journey has always been about the experiential way. Human Design invites us to experiment with the concepts it provides. Ra Uru Hu worked hard to leave behind a structured body of knowledge. It is our job to take all that he gave us and apply it to our daily experience of life so that we can take it far beyond a theory. Strategy and authority show us what to pay attention to within our experiment. They help us override the mind.
When the mind tries to make decisions and force us to take initiative, we need to be able make a believable case for an alternative strategy.
If we can tell ourselves, ‘this very interesting theory says I should try to do this’, then the mind may be convinced to try it. It will be patient as you wait and it will register the results of the experiment. Did waiting lead to a something great, then the mind will be convinced to try it again. If waiting does not work out as well, or the mind is ignoring the positive and focusing on the negative, then it will revive the anxiety and fear that was preventing you from trying a new strategy in the first place.
The reason I am elaborating on this mental process is because I believe that anyone experimenting with Human Design needs to pay attention to these processes within themselves. Ultimately what Human Design does is invite you to take ownership of the entirety of yourselves. The mind, the body; the conscious, the unconscious – the entirety of our being is a complicated, multi-faceted phenomenon. To really work with it, you need to be aware of how you work as an individual.
When I look at a chart, I do not only see the design of the perfect creature, a unique puzzle piece in the whole of humanity, I also see the extensive conditioning this creature is most likely hiding behind. Our conditioning is always what is most dominantly present in us. It has been our survival mechanism our entire lives and overpowering it has so far been a dangerous endeavour which has brought us “punishment” enough times that we now know to expect it.
In a non-Reflector chart, the defined centers offer something like an anchor in a churning ocean. Instead of following conditioning, one can find something true within oneself to listen to even if it is hard to find it. It is there, it is consistent and the more one gets to know that inner authority, the more clarity it will gain.
For a Reflector, there are no such anchors. That is what is meant by “no authority.” There is no specific place, sensation or urge that a Reflector can rely on to tell them what their truth at any moment is. So, it is not that they have no authority or no inner truth, it is that they cannot access this truth easily or consistently.
The strategy that Ra gave is: wait a lunar cycle to make a decision. Reflectors have a significant connection with the energy of the Moon. The Moon moves through every gate in the bodygraph in the course of a cycle of 28 days. During this process, a Reflector will experience the energy of the Moon in every gate in their body. The energy of the Moon will bring a form of clarity. Not a certain, infallible determination, the way we like to feel clarity, but more of a suggestion. After feeling into yourself for a Month, that clarity will have produced a decision.
The truth that lives inside you has been lit by the Moonlight from all different perspectives and you can now be clear on what it is.
This, in my opinion, is not the whole story, however. The best decision does not magically appear after a month of waiting for it. This is what I meant when I said we were going to be talking about subtleties and nuances. There are many ways to apply this strategy.
You could spend a lunar cycle thinking about all the negative consequences your decision could have. You could spend your month apologising for yourself and feeling guilty about deciding in your own time. You could spend the time listening to people around you and believing their perspective is more valuable than yours. You could even go the whole month without paying attention to yourself for a second, if you really did your best, and choose to constantly run after what others are asking of you.
Or you could spend a lunar cycle feeling into yourself at every opportunity to relax and tune in. You could spend it enjoying every aspect of your life and environment because it is all tuned into you and your needs. You could spend it in surrender to the flow. You could spend it giving yourself time and space so that you are as comfortable and happy as you can be.
Each approach follows the strategy “wait for a lunar cycle,” but each way of spending this time will produce a radically different decision. Just because we have to wait for clarity on our decision, does not mean we do not have any input. The whole point is that our truth is alive within us – not out there in the world. If we go looking “out there” for answers, we will only find the answers of others. We will find the perspectives of others. And when you are a reflector, it is hard to distinguish between someone else’s truth and your own.
Open centers invite other perspectives into our consciousness. We call those with all open centers Reflectors, because we find ourselves reflected in them. But what do Reflectors find themselves reflected in? When they share their perspective, the person who they are talking to will interpret it according to their definition. When a reflector looks in the mirror that the person in front of them is, they see a distorted version of themselves. They see themselves through the filter of the other person.
So even if a Reflector spends a lifetime waiting out lunar cycles, they will not find their truth if they do not learn the difference between themselves and the world around them. The mind is too much of an con artist to allow that to happen. That is why it is a vital part of the journey with Human Design to become friends with one’s mind. This goes for every type, but for Reflectors specifically.
The inner world needs to be a safe space where we can rest rather than a battlefield where we have to fight to keep breathing among the wild waters of judgement, self-disapproval and anxiety.
Accomplishing that has very little to do with waiting for the lunar cycle. It is a moment-to-moment job. In every moment we can be fully aware of what is happening within our mind and body. We can hear the thoughts in our head, feel the sensations in our body and we can even be aware of how the two are related.
Our mind has been programmed during the span of our lifetime to constantly distract us from this awareness. It is always looking for something in the world around us to pay attention to – as long as it is not the Self. The last place where I will find truth, the mind has learned, is in myself. Everything and everyone other than me knows better than I do. The mind takes every opportunity it can to reaffirm that belief – especially when we are challenging it.
Our mind is our fiercest protector, determined to protect us from all the might harm us, and it will not easily be convinced to let down its guard. Trust is the only one who can convince the mind to do so. In my case, my trust had to be as stubborn and unrelenting as my mind could be. I am not going to do anything, I agreed with my mind, unless I am swept along in an effortless wave of energy. I knew it was possible to live like this, but I would need to build massive amounts of trust in order to be able to go down that road.
My stubbornness allowed me to hold out until I could show my mind that not only is it possible, but inevitable that everything works with me rather than against me. After years of practice, my mind started to relent and realise that the path to safety was not paved by fear and anxiety but by trust and self-love. Just telling myself that was not enough. I had to show myself, over and over and over and over, that trust was correct and that trust worked. Letting trust take the upper hand allowed my mind to finally relax. Now my mind is focused on feeding Trust and Self Love rather than maintaining Anxiety and Fear at the cost of my sanity.
When the mind is not occupied with worrying about what will happen in the future or overthinking what has happened in the past, it has abundant time and energy to became aware of every nook and cranny of the Self. Investigating yourself is an especially productive way to spend your time as a Reflector. It is vital to recognise what energy, feelings, thoughts and interests are purely your own in comparison to what you experience when you are with others.
When a Reflector is among people, their open centers are flooded with energy that is being defined by the people around them. These people are all exuding what is going on inside of them. Defined centers, or defined channels more specifically, are very demanding in their energy. A defined Sacral center might be exuding “I am doing this, join me or leave me alone.” A defined Throat might be exuding “Listen to me! I have so much to say! I have so many opinions! Hear me!” A defined Solar Plexus is the most intriguing to be around because it is always exuding something new and it is always intense.
The first reflex of an open center is to give attention to the defined counterpart they are meeting. Especially because an essential part of our conditioning is the belief that we need to be what we are not. We have trained ourselves to tune into a defined center with the intention to be more like that.
Even if we don’t realise it in the moment, we always put the other above ourselves. We assign to those who have definition the authority on how to live our lives, that we dare not trust ourselves and our openness with.
This means that for a Reflector, the whole energetic body will reflexively direct themselves towards the other to learn how to be better. All the waiting on the Moon cannot prevent this from happening, only awareness can. Living from awareness means no more driving in cruise control but becoming critically aware of every aspect of your experience. Life can become a very meditative experience if every moment is lived purely for awareness.
Every choice you make, every step you take, they are all there only to bring you more awareness. Are you doing something you do not enjoy? Rather than step out of it, remain in the experience, but switch perspectives. Instead of trying to change what is happening, experience what it is like to be uncomfortable. Don’t take yourself out of the situation but bring more awareness into the situation. What is it about the experience that is ruining the moment for you? How would it be if you were completely in charge? What would you do differently?
Energy types (Generators, Manifestors) would take those questions and turn them into actions. They could stop what they are doing, express their displeasure and move towards an energy field that they would enjoy more. This does not work as well for non-energy types (Reflectors, Projectors). They usually do not have the energy to get themselves out of the situation or they are not aware that they should. For them it is not about the doing, it is about what they learn while they are doing.
If a Reflector is in a situation they do not enjoy, they are there to learn how to never find themselves in that situation again. They can switch perspectives from being whoever the world around them needs to be, to being who they need themselves to be. The situation can become a learning curve as soon as you start paying attention to how you actually feel.
The most important thing any situation can teach a Reflector (or anyone with open centers) is healthy boundaries. What you do not enjoy, is what you do not need to work with. Now, we usually believe the opposite – that we have to go through things we don’t like in order to get to the things we do like. In some ways this is true. We need to be able to accept a situation in order to be able to let go of it. If we are fighting, we are constantly engaged with what we are fighting, and we will not be able to let it go. Acceptance of something unpleasant, allows one to relax. This is here, I am here, how are we going to co-exist?
The healthy answer to that question could be to co-exist outside of one another’s sphere of influence. In other words – you leave. Usually though, you and the unpleasant thing are not ready to part when you are asking yourself that question. You can recognise this point by everyone around you telling you to quit, when inside you just do not feel quite ready yet. You are right – you are not ready yet. And the solution is not as easy as quitting or cutting the situation off. Non-energy types are much more sophisticated than that.
This point of having had enough is the perfect opportunity to turn things around for yourself. You are aware that something is off, even if you are not sure what it is, and you recognise that you deserve better. Now it is very important to find out what it is that works for you and what is exactly that does not work for you. These findings will show where your boundaries can shift towards.
The biggest challenge to allowing the open centers to be learning centers is their over-eagerness. And the crippling conditioning we have received throughout our lifetime. But mostly it is our darn eagerness to empathise with everything and everyone all of the time. We forget that the first person we need to empathise with is ourselves. The first person whose needs we need to look after are our own.
People flood towards the comfort of being received by someone with so much openness. A defined center is constantly exuding energy and opinions. Open centers are all about accommodating the energy and opinions of others. A Reflector can therefore be a very safe space. They have seen and felt it all, so they are much less likely to believe another to be strange or unacceptable.
If you are a Reflector, it is so important to be aware of what a safe space you are. You are able to offer a perspective that no one else can offer.
You can see what no one else is even aware of. If you do not correctly estimate the value of this capacity (priceless), you will spend your whole life giving it away while getting nothing in return.
We do this because receptivity does not seem like a capacity. In this world we define capacity by output. How much are you able to do and give? That is what we value in this economy. The value of non-energy types is not measured by what they give, but by what they receive. This is such a different way of looking at power, that we usually do not see it as potential.
What if you will never need to do more in order to become who you dream to be? What if that dream is not accomplished by hard work in the traditional sense but rather by letting go of all you think you have to be?
Open centers are at their most powerful when they are in their natural state, and that is open. Conditioning is what occupies our open centers now. The beliefs we have about who we need to be and how we need to act. Instead of allowing our natural behaviour in every moment, we make ourselves act a certain way, say the right things, do what other want us to do.
The scariest thing is letting go of those behaviourism and finding out what is underneath. How would we really react? What would we really say? If it did not matter if the world around us is okay with it, what would we do?
Reflectors often tend to see what other people do not see. Therefore, they tend to say and do the things that would not even occur to others. That is the biggest challenge to letting go of conditioning as well as the biggest reward. Once you dare say what you really have to say, you will be able to see the value that you can give to any situation.
Reflectors are able to perceive a situation through every one of the nine centers, without having the information filtered by their own defined centers. The more open they are, the more they will be able to receive, and therefore the clearer their perspective is. Conditioning is a filter that distorts the information we receive from the world around us. If we are afraid that we are being disapproved of – we will look at the world and see every hint of disapproval we can spot, rather than what is actually going on.
When we recognise that this conditioned belief is what is preventing us from being true to who we are, we can work with it. Rather than look for confirmation, we can prove this belief wrong. When we do, it start to disappear and gives way to our true nature. Instead of acting from the fear that we will be disapproved of, we can boldly say what we wish to say and have the impact we are meant to have.
This is how we unlock the capacity of the open centers, not just by waiting, but by being fully present with ourselves while we wait. And as Reflector releases the conditioning living in their open centers, they will find that they are not the ever-adapting, go-with-the-flow person they might have thought they are. They will find that they are not just open to everything and everyone. They will find that they are very specific in what environment and which people are right for them. They will find that they have a very clear and decisive inner truth that is a bold authority on what is correct for them.
Although Reflectors do not have channels or centers defined, they certainly have definitions. They have 26 gates defined just as we all do. And each one of these gates has a very specific quality which defined the perspective of each Reflector in a new and unique way. This definition gives every Reflector a specific way of functioning, a preference in what suits them and a distinct personality that shines as bright as the Moon does. The specific definition of a Reflector defines what they do with the wisdom they develop in their opens centers.
Being a doormat is a great strategy for people who have many open centers but are afraid of the wisdom that they have developed there. They use their flexibility as a survival mechanism rather than a strength. They will accept any opportunity that comes their way, because they are afraid that another one will not come again. They believe they have to go with whatever the other says, because they don’t have enough confidence the truth of their own perspective.
If Reflectors choose to go with this strategy every time, they will be disappointed every time. Because it is not aligned with their inner truth. They will put the authority of the other above themselves, but the other never actually knows better. The other only knows better for the other’s individual experience. If Reflectors try to apply that truth to themselves, it will never fit completely.
When they recognise there is a very specific truth within them and they make space for that truth to inform their decisions, they allow the world to surprise them. Instead of the same old conditioned response, they will be met with inspiration and excitement. The more discerning a Reflector is, the more clear it will be to them who they are not. Then it will certainly become inevitable to recognise who they are.
Waiting for the cycle of the Moon is a great way for a Reflector to find their truth within a mind boggling with conditioning. Yet while they are waiting, there is much work that can be done with this conditioning. Awareness is always the key to finding your inner truth. Critical discernment allows us to distinguish between ourselves and the other. There is no need to be a victim of the circumstances, not even for people with so many open centers. Letting go of conditioning means taking responsibility for our individual design and focusing on the extensive benefits each design gives us, rather than the difficulties we can face.
We are all here to create the gorgeous plethora of human life together. When we each step up into our roles as individuals, we learn to thrive rather than survive.
☽ ● ☾