It has been said by many great minds, over the course of a great many years, that no life is worth living without the examination of self. Awareness of self can be seen as a solution to a great many stressors and distractions that often make life uncomfortable, if not actually tragic. Consider then, Contemplation – The Lost Art Of Self-Reflection .
What is meant by such practice? Many call it meditation, others call it prayer, and still others refer to mindfulness. At the root of all of these definitions will be discovered the same sort of intense work. This is the work of understanding one’s own mind and thought processes. Yes, it can often be as difficult as it sounds, but the rewards to be gained thereby can truly be stunning, awe inspiring, and life affirming. The same great minds that recommend such practices have all most certainly attested to that idea!
Considering contemplation as a lost art has validity as well. In our so called modern world it seems that what are most common are distractions. The duties related to family, for example, or other relationships, the work world, and every day sorts of transactions can be seen as things that take us away from the ability to think deeply. Even more so are the constant streams of information that assault our every sense. Media input is ubiquitous and taking greater and greater importance in many lives by the ease of use due the electronic revolution.
While all of these are important to life in general, when they overtake the ability to sit still for a short while in order to actually think about our place in the world, and our relationship to that world, problems often arise. Again, awareness of self can be a practical and applicable approach to many of the mysteries of life itself. It is a fine way to assess situations in order to make the wisest decisions. In loftier terms, to know yourself is to know the divine.
So how does one go about rediscovering such a vital lost art? The good news is that it is actually much simpler than it may seem at the outset. The first recommendation is to simply decide on the pursuit itself. Do not anguish over how it is done, or fret over what tools it may take. Simply allow yourself the knowledge that this is a pursuit worth working for. In time, and usually a very short period of time, your mind will begin looking for ways in which to do so.
When this occurs, simply begin by making a date with yourself. Pick a time and a place that you can sit still and be silent for fifteen minutes or so. That is all that is needed at first! Perhaps you could wake up fifteen minutes earlier, or go to bed fifteen minutes later. You may be able to find time while doing other things, like sitting in the car before going in to a store. When the children are napping is often an ideal window of opportunity. Finding a quiet spot during break times at work works well for many.
The important factor is that this time is to be set apart and actively sought. When you have the time and the place figured out, all that is required now is to sit still for the duration of the special period. That is all that is necessary to begin! Just sit still, making sure to turn off any and all electronic devices, and allow yourself the freedom to think about anything or nothing at all. By beginning in such a simple way, you may well find yourself amazed at what begins to happen over the course of the next few days and weeks. You may well discover that this little bit of alone time becomes essential to your well-being! And this is the beginning of a renewed sense of awareness.
Over time, this period may be lengthened. It may be strengthened with the addition of practices in a similar vein. The aforementioned prayer is an active sort of silence, as is yoga, meditation, writing a journal, and walking. These are but a few of the many ways in which self-knowledge can be discovered and/or enhanced. The most important factor is the search itself, and never the destination.
The art of self-reflection is a profound one, and should be sought with due diligence. There are many paths thereby, and one must remain steadfast in the pursuit of the most applicable path for one’s own needs and desires. Yes, there will be a minimal amount of work involved, but the rewards will far outweigh any toil. By discovering contemplation you may well rediscover yourself.