Why We Need Reflection

Today we had a 3 minute reflection period for those who’ve died in the Sichuan Earthquake tragedy. My students have never done anything like this before. The last great disaster where so many lives were perished was the Tang Shan earthquake in the 1930s and even I wasn’t born yet at that time.

I taught my students how to reflect and some were very wary –thinking it was a trap to convert them. I had to reassure them it wasn’t so and you can still reflect even if you’re an atheist or agnostic. After they’ve done it, most look like they were newly born. Come to think of it, most major religions require reflecting. It’s a way to talk to yourself in silence, commune with your higher self and reach a higher plane of consciousness. When you give voice to that inner wise self, everything slowly dawns and makes sense. Your life stops spinning its usual mad speed. Time halts and you feel as if you are a solitary being in the hushed expanse of the universe. Imagine a single drop of crystal water frozen in mid-air. That’s you suspended in stillness. You are more aware of yourself and everything else around you.

How can reflection benefit you?

  1. You can make more sense out of your current situation
  2. It answers the questions: What do you want to do? What are you on earth for?
  3. You can solve your current problems in an objective way because you’ve distance yourself from it.
  4. think about others’ situations and how you can help them. It is also enable you to empathize more.
  5. Connect these with your life or the world in order to grasp the whole picture

The trouble nowadays is we can’t be bothered by that sort of thing. More ‘pressing’ issues await that gives you money to pay rent, food, education, or that new red hot convertible you’ve had your eye on. We think something so free and we’re not even paid to do it is just a silly waste of time. But the paradox might just be that we need this precious me-time in order to find ways to ease the heavy burden of the urgent demands in life. As Stephen Covey said (and I will paraphrase here), we’re so busy sawing the tree that we fail to sharpen the saw. So feed your inner self. Do what’s important rather than urgent.

So stop reacting to the hectic pace of your environment. Take a step back. Do a few minutes of contemplative reflection every week to hear the quiet whisper of what life has to say.


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