It seems as if it’s a natural tendency for the mind to want to keep itself busy feverishly jumping from one thing to the next. Most of us would rather do almost anything rather than spend time in reflection and solitude. Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People included Sharpen the Saw as the 7th Habit. He outlines it as having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, and spiritual.
The premise being that a woodsman can cut far more wood with less exertion and time with a sharpened saw than with a dull one. Covey included the following activities for mental renewal: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching. I would like to extend this list and add reflection to it. I believe it is a critical part of being able to keep our minds polished and in tip-top shape.
It’s in reflection that we can measure our indicators of success and/or setbacks. Margaret J Wheatley says “Without reflection we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
It’s in reflection that we can formulate new ways to approach life’s problems. As Albert Einstein said….”We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Reflection can help us uncover our level of thinking and help us to understand the areas we may need assistance in order to grow.
It’s also in reflection that we better understand our shadow self. It’s our shadow that so many times trips us up without us even recognizing its role in unwanted feelings, events, and circumstances. Reflection can reveal to us our hidden fears, insecurities, emotional wounds and afford us the opportunity to heal them.
An unknown author said it quite well…”Self-reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say, and do certain things…then better yourself.” And another unknown author believes that “Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside you is only a reflection of the world inside you.”
When we cultivate the habit of polishing our mind with reflection we become our best selves, we become more compassionate, we grow in courage and understanding, and we unleash the power within. If you tend to jump from one thing to the next with out pausing for the cause, I encourage you to incorporate time to engage in reflection into your schedule.