How can we tell the difference between thinking about something and Self reflection? To be more exact, thinking about a problem and engaging in self reflection about a problem. The distinction between these two is the difference between driving yourself a bit nuts with mulling something over and over in your head and gaining seemingly spontaneous insights that cause your very being to transform and grow. At first blush they can seem like one in the same, but they are actually (in my estimation) nearly polar opposites. Telling the difference between the two has taken time and diligence. I still get stuck, FOR SURE but I thought I would share some of the distinctions I have learned that help me spot which I am in. Of course, these may be just related to my own personal process, take it or leave it ;)
- In general, thinking about a problem is an activity the brain/ego really really loves to engage in. You may feel really "smart" as your brain runs numerous tangential scenarios and rabbit holes of "what if?". Not to say there isn't a truly needed place for this type of thinking, but not when it comes to matters of the intangible self. The feeling tone is generally stressful. Your inner space feels loud and busy. Kind of like a hungry rat frantically trying to figure it's way through a maze.
- There can be a sense that you are all alone in having to "figure it all out", ignoring any sort of universal wisdom or the magical flow of life in general.
- The solutions conjured up you may doubt very soon after, sending you on another rat race.
- Sometimes thinking can point the finger at others or external circumstances as the source of your problem.
- Thinking about a problem can happen for days, weeks and even longer.
- Thinking fills the space similar to talking fills the air.
- Self reflection, as the name suggests feels like standing in front of a mirror in silence. There is a space of waiting as your internal inquiry bounces around within. The feeling tone is generally calm with a slice of humble pie. It can feel like a graceful sea anemone, waving its tentacles in the water, secure in knowing the food will be delivered right to where it nests.
- A feeling of patience and safety abides, even when faced with dire circumstances or problems. There is a knowing that it's ok to be a work in progress and for answers to take their sweet time in arriving at your door step.
- If a solution comes in, it feels as if it's dropped in your lap like a baby from a cartoon stork. Chills over your whole body are common as is an inner elation... An unmistakable "AHA!".
- Self reflection looks to the SELF as the ultimate chooser. While not negating the effect others can have on our lives, self reflection looks to the core of you as powerful, whole and complete. Self reflection causes one to stand in that power with confidence and the responsibility of an adult.
- Sometimes self reflection produces no fruit other than a clear quiet space in which to feel all that is YOU.
- Self reflection is like LISTENING.
So, in summary, Thinking feels like talking, it FILLS the space, where Self reflection feels like listening; it OPENS the space. If you find yourself stressed and racing to keep up with your mind, you are probably embroiled in thinking. If you notice, AWESOME. Noticing is all it takes, in my personal experience, to jump straight into self reflection, or to put it another way, PRESENCE. Mediation has been super powerful in helping me tell the difference and make a shift. Thank everything that is holy for that because this girl can have some serious, poo flinging monkey mind. What ways do you help shift out of over thinking? How does the practice of Self reflection show up for you? I am ever so curious... ;)
in love and deep reflection~