“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” These pithy words were spoken by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. We often become so swept up by our dreams, ambitions and regrets that we lose the ability for quiet reflection. And while there are times when we need to be productive and driven, there are also times when we need to connect with our inner self and be aware of what is happening in the here and now.
Self-reflection meditation gives us insight into our thoughts and aspirations. The more thorough the process of self-reflection, the better we recognize our thoughts, feelings, values and beliefs for what they really are.
Why is meditation reflection important?
The Buddha discouraged his followers from continuously rehashing the past or fantasizing about the future. Instead, he urged them to mindfully focus on the present. Developing a mindful brain helps us remain grounded in the present moment. Our interest in distractions and sensual pleasures naturally wanes when we’ve discovered the fullness and freedom of now.
4 benefits of meditation reflection
- Helps to build structure
Self-reflection prompts some individuals to question their entire belief system. It also allows them to reevaluate their principles and core values in a non-judgmental manner. Every person has a preset value system that serves them as a guide through life. However, people don’t always keep to the script – sometimes they veer off course and go astray. That’s why self-reflection is so important. It gives people the chance to look back and identify the areas where they’ve blossomed and the places where they’ve deviated.
- Boosts utilization of talent
We’re all endowed with a set of gifts and talents. But what’s the use of these gifts if we don’t use them? Life is so busy that we barely find the time to figure ourselves out and discover our strengths, talents and abilities. Self-reflection meditation gives us the tools we need to discover the talents that have remained buried deep within. This gives us the ability to pursue these gifts and see where they lead.
- Helps us become a positive influence
We all want to do more good than harm and to be positive role models for those close to us. Sadly, one heedless action can erase all the good we’ve built. It only takes a single match to burn down an entire forest. Even though we might put a lot of effort into building a positive legacy, our reputation can easily be destroyed. Cultivating a mindful, reflective brain helps us keep our words and actions in check.
- Keeps us keep sight of the future
Meditation reflection also helps us recall the short- and long-term goals we’ve set for ourselves. We all have a role to play in shaping our destiny. Taking some time to sit and think about the future helps us make appropriate decisions that are compatible with our purpose. Self-reflection isn’t a difficult undertaking: all that’s required is developing a mindful brain and the ability to “sit quietly in a room alone.”
Note that mindful reflection or reflective meditation is not the same thing as mindfulness meditation. When we reflect, we are deliberately setting aside some time to think about our past actions, current priorities and future goals. If we want to accomplish this reflection with purpose and clarity, the mental quietude acquired thanks to our regular mindfulness practice is invaluable. Mindfulness teaches us that the thoughts, emotions and sensations that arise in the mindstream come and go, and we are under no obligation to react to them. This partnership of non-judgmental awareness and the ability to maintain focus gives us the space for such potentially beneficial reflections.
Reflective meditation is a beneficial exercise that helps meditators ascertain their strengths and priorities with lucidity and precision. If you’d like some help putting meditation into practice, check out the Mindworks: Guided Meditation App. It contains an assortment of helpful Guided Meditations and Mind Talks that will get you started and keep you going.