Friday, July 11, 2008

More on the reflection process

You may have noticed that Annie C. asked about the reflection process in the comments below and wanted an example. Here are the instructions along with sample questions to work with:

1) Have pencil and paper handy. Sit comfortably - preferably in your self-supporting posture for meditation.

2) Begin by bringing the mind to tranquility using a visual focus or by following the breath.

3) Drop your reflection question into your mind as if your mind is a tranquil pool of water.

4) Allow thoughts to bubble up in response to having "dropped the question" and write down whatever comes to you - without censoring. Complete sentences not necessary.

5) Let go of any tendency to analyze, problem solve, evaluate, or search for answers. This is not linear thinking. Nor is it delving or probing. Reflecting is a spacious willingness to bring to consciousness whatever is willing to reveal itself at the time. There is a slightly playful (but not trivial) aspect to this method which is very helpful.

6) At the point you notice any agitation or distress or even ordinary effort in this process, stop and return to basic non-expectation (calm abiding) meditation until the mind is tranquil once more - and then continue. It does not matter how many times this remedy is required. Do not attempt to reflect in a state of grasping or any sort of tension.

7) After you have written down what seems to want to come up in a given time (five to twenty minutes does not seem to tax most people at first) then you may want be open to patterns in what you have written or the general mood of the words and phrases you have used.

Reflection questions can be devised using any material from one's personal life or they can be more general. Excellent beginning questions to work with are:

* What sort of person am I?
* What happens when I am caught unawares, "off-guard"?
* What do I want? (Really want?)
* How do I use my energy?
* What am I afraid of?
* What are my sources of deep refreshment?

If you reflect regularly on Scripture or other spiritual and/or philosophical writings as part of your practice, reflection questions can be derived from the content of your reading.

(The above material is taken from the handout on Session 5 of the "Foundations in Meditative Practice" course © Ellen E. Finlay, 1996)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:47 PM

    Thank you again Ellie for all your wonderful offerings. I had mislaid my old notes and am so glad to have them presented again here.

    Annie C.


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