Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

~ Confucius ~

Reflective Awareness And The Stone In Your Shoe

October 5th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 4 secs

Being thoughtfully aware makes life better.

Being thoughtfully aware makes life better.

Being reflective, I realized, has nothing to do with the pale color of my skin. While I could probably pull in a rescue plane by the glint off my bright white complexion should I ever be lost on some deserted island, being reflective goes way further than skin deep.

You see, many of us live in a phenomenally detached state and yet barely realize. Don’t believe me? Try this simple thing. Watch how people eat as they text, speak, or read. Zoning into their more complex cerebral activity, they leave precious little awareness for enjoying each morsel of their meal. Instead, they just keep guzzling and gobbling, barely cognizant of the moment.

However, being reflective is more than noticing you’ve been dribbling your dinner down your shirt for the past six minutes. It takes your immediate awareness a few notches up to a higher level. This is where connection with the here and now triggers insights and a desire to open your mind to as yet unknown potentials.

Trouble is, it’s only when we feel significant inconvenience or the pain caused by something as simple as, say, a pebble in our shoe that we are snatched back into the reality of the immediate. Thanks to the “ouch factor” we have to deal with the moment in real time with a focused state of mind.

Being reflective, I suppose, could be a head in the clouds exercise, complete with navel gazing, and self-obsession. But I find cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of moments as we live them (at least, some of them) stimulates an broader thoughtfulness. Stimuli like the words and tone of the person who just spoke to you… the taste of what you are eating… and how you body feels, given you’ve been sitting so long, all tune you in to notice what’s happening around you. This focus on awareness isn’t always relevant, but the practice does get you more thoughtful about life that surrounds us.

Taking a reflective approach is really about framing good questions, based on what you’ve been experiencing. For instance, why are you feeling the way you do about your life right now? Given what you are sensing, what will it take to change the way you feel about your given situation?

The potential range of questions we can reflect on are endless. Though, the wisdom of asking is not so much in the answers, but in first noticing and posing good questions.

You could ask yourself a whole lot of unhelpful questions, based on hidden guilt, or fears for instance, that could shut down your capacity to openly observe. Poor questions can also lead us away from new insights and back to ruminating, thus diminishing our ability.

So next time you feel irritated by a bit of gravel in your shoe, remember the benefit of noticing the moment you are in, and the potential of reflective questions to get you thinking about bigger things.

Your Perilous Thoughts

Meditation Thanks

Hsppiness Is Not An Attitude


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