What it means is our experience of the outside world is full of clues about ourselves.
And likewise our inner experiences are full of clues about the world. All of these clues can be very useful to us if we acknowledge them. What is even better is that we can influence the outer world by changing our inner worlds and the other way around.
I was reminded of that "without is a reflection of within" a couple of weeks ago when I had a pretty interesting trip. I was going to Almeria in the south of Spain, traveling by car with 2 friends of mine as far as Madrid and then getting a night bus the rest of the way. Here is what happened.
First we found ourselves driving through huge amounts of snow in through the north of Spain and the windscreen wipers on my friend's car where old and not working that well. After driving very slowly for quite some time we decided to stop and buy some new windscreen wipers. Then the sun came out !
Next it got dark. And guess what. The lights on the war weren't working ! So we stopped and took a look under the car bonnet and I found a faulty connection in the headlight cables which we were able to fix with some pieces of string.
That is when I began to think wait a minute ! there is something going here". I tried to figure out what both these events had in common, and came up with the following pattern : lack of sight causes stress (followed by action brings a solution).Then I asked myself "What is the message? What is it that these two events have to show me ?" and then I realized that I was living the same pattern within : I did not know if I would arrive in time to catch my bus, and I did not know my way around Madrid to find the bus station (lack of sight = lack of knowledge...) and this was making me stressed without me even realizing it (...causes stress). The outside world was being a mirror of what I was in that moment, as if to say "Hey look here, this is what is going on !".
The same can be done the other way around. When you are seeking understanding about something in the outer world, try and investigate how it appears in your inner experience, how you "picture it" in your mind. You may be surprised how well this can work ! For more info on this I suggest you read the book : "Use Your Brain For A Change" by Richard Brandler - and more specifically the chapter called "Confusion and Understanding".
The outside world and our inner state(s) of consciousness are intimately related. By looking at either one, we can learn a lot of useful things about the other. And by changing one we can change (your experience of) the other.
So while it is helpful to be receptive it is also possible to go one step further and get creative.
If you want to make a change in the outer world, try examining your inner experiences and finding things you can change that correspond to what you want in the outside world.
This may sound complicated but in truth is really easy. Just take what ever picture comes and change it in a way that is significant to you.
If you decide, trust and believe that the change is important and that it will affect the outer world, then it will. (That is why I called this website Twiwytii : The World Is What You Think It Is).
If your inner experience is one of Happiness, Solutions, and Success, then you will experience the outer world as a combination of Happiness, Solutions and Success as well.
So from now on, why wait? What ever you want, create the inner experience of having it. If you manage to really do so, you will get in the outer world too !
An amazing book I read recently about the power of belief and faith is the Divine Matrix by Gregg Bradden. I found it really inspiring !
I also find it very useful to change the outside world in order to change my inner world. For example, doing the house work makes it easier for me to think in a clear and organized fashion.
For this reason, I often tidy up my room before important events, or when I am trying to remember lots of things.
When I was a student, I knew people who would systematically do all their house work the day before an exam. When talking to them about this habit they would tell me it was to help them "tidy up and organize their ideas".
Use your imagination !
Admittedly, it is more common for people to not be in contact with their inner power and to feel helpless, to give all their power to the outside world. I think it is important to remember that "As Within So Without" does not mean that things are created from within to without but also the other way around. It is a two-way interaction. Sometimes it can be useful one way and other times it can be very useful the other way around.
Every experience in life is an opportunity to learn.
When ever something unexpected happens to you, be it within or without, ask yourself : "What can I learn from this ?"