Deep Reflection

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We want certainty. We want security. Built into our mechanics is an instinctual drive to make uncertainty certain. Our mind creatively colors unknowns with graspable explanations. Accordingly, our mind fills the gaps, explaining causes, and predicting futures. A smooth flowing story emerges from our artful make-believe world. Deep reflection brings some of the hidden world to the surface for examination and refinement.

We can’t prevent thoughts from creating meaning; we must make sense of the chaos to act with any coherency. We need a handle on incoming data to reasonable act in response. Evidently, most meaning making occurs beneath conscious awareness. We can, however, catch glimpses of this fabulous process, seeing the confabulations at work. When we pause to examine stubborn proclamations, we may discover our foolishness, and devote energy to understand the rest of the story.

​See Confabulations for more on this topic.

Thoughts are Just Theories

Our bold proclamations are just theories—thoughts without substance. Accepting thoughts as fallible theories allows us to step back and gain a wider perspective. Only through deeper reflection can we widen our view and navigate bothersome biases. From a position of distance, we make better choices, pushing forward towards goals.

See Widening View for more on this topic

​Protecting the Ego

​​Reality is not always the goal for some. Their delicate ego and powerful drives can’t survive the torture of the unknown. They live in a fantasy world, protected by walls of deception. Accordingly. we grasp at whatever morsel of proof that supports and ignore the mountains of evidence that refute. We defend against realities that offend our sense of self. However, successful living require self honesty that we can only achieve through deeper investigations.

​​Keys to Deep Reflection

Deep reflection requires psychological space. When emotions are flowing, space is flooded by the arousal. Furthermore, pulling our mind away from a momentary trigger is a chore. Thus, we must develop the skill of deep reflection through practice, beginning in calm moments, and eventually working towards deep personal examinations immediately following or during arousal.

A few elements to assist with deep reflection:

  • First, calm the arousal. Mindful breathing practices often achieve this. (See Mindful Breathing).
  • Second, eliminate judgements. Quietly, reflect on the feeling, the trigger and the reaction. No need to resolve, justify, or condemn. Just a deep reflection.
  • Third, identify personal meaning. What meaning do you give to the trigger? What are possible alternate explanations?
  • Fourth, consider impact. How did your reaction improve or hurt your future? Was hurt caused? Relationships strained? Is there an alternate reaction that could have achieved better results?

​Occasionally, less now than at the beginning, comments on an article may arouse my emotions. I get dragged into revolving defensive arguments in my head. But with deeper thought, I’m able to separate from the thoughts, realizing my sensitivity belongs to my own unresolved hurt, and nothing to do with provocative comments. These contacts with the depth are only achieved through deep reflection. Our deeper reflections bring moments of understanding, perhaps, only a glimpse, that may be easily forgotten. Yet, when the practice is habit, we receive a constant infusion of wisdom, our views widen, our hearts open and true growth begins.

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