The people and things that take up our time seem important to us. But in truth we typically pass through these events in an endless rote passage, with only minimal actual connection. Consequently, we miss much of the real substance and purpose of these many experiences we claim to be important. Conversations are only half-heard; interactions are only half-engaged; visual sights are only half-seen; people’s lives are only half-noticed. What we think we have seen and done by day’s end reflects only a portion of what these experiences could have been.
We have a longstanding tradition of making resolutions for change for an upcoming year. Fresh commitments about how we will live, what we will newly practice, what redirections we will bring about. All made with good intention; most sadly never fulfilled. Instead of tacking a well-meaning laundry list of additional to-do’s onto our existing commitments, perhaps only one new resolution is truly needed. A resolution to add the practice of Reflection into our daily routine.
In our brief moments of separation between one activity and the next, we can pause to think about what really happened in the immediate previous experience we just had. Rather than thinking about the next upcoming task, we can think about what we potentially missed hearing from the person with whom we just spoke. We can try to determine what that person was feeling, or was really trying to tell us, or how they needed our help to accomplish a personal goal that we were too busy to hear. We can try to determine what else was going on in that place we found ourselves, worthwhile things existing beyond the quick cursory glance we gave it. Did we notice? Did we care? What was there for us to learn about others, about how the world exists and operates, about our place within these things?
We are often lost in the blur of what surrounds us, searching for big answers to large, complicated questions. Yet many of those answers we are seeking are all around us every day, yet we choose to be oblivious to them. It is not enough to just live from experience to experience; they are only a part of our Life’s story. We need to pause and reflect deeply on the large and small events that happen to us, being open to whatever thoughts arise about those experiences – even if those thoughts are unexpected or uncomfortable. We need to see how these events connect together in a multi-directional set of linkages that we have progressively created. It is only through such thoughtful reflection upon our experiences that we find the true meaning of them in our life.
We spend much of our days like a passenger sitting comfortably on a train moving at 60mph, watching as we pass by the distant landscape that is visible but separated from us. Sitting on that moving train, we exist within life, but we are not truly connected to it. Yet each experience we have has a hidden dimension, an extra meaning, contained within it. It is through the quiet act of Reflection that that hidden significance is revealed, that our life becomes fully alive and engaged, that our experiences are transformed into knowledge that can lead us into Wisdom. May commitment to Reflection be our renewed resolution each and every new year.
© 2015 Randy Bell www.OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com