Contact with the Soul
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | April 2018 (edited January 13, 2022)
As we mature we adapt; not always in healthy ways. Through deep reflection, we catch glimpses of our adaptations, recognizing unproductive thinking.
We want certainty. We want security. We have an instinctual drive to make uncertainty certain. Our mind creatively colors unknowns with graspable explanations. Our mind fills the gaps, explaining causes, and predicting futures. A smooth flowing story emerges from our artful make-believe world. Deep reflection brings some of the hidden world to the surface for examination and refinement.
We can’t prevent thoughts from creating meaning; we must make sense of the chaos to act with any coherency. We need a handle on incoming data to reasonable act in response. Most meaning making occurs beneath conscious awareness. We can, however, catch glimpses of this fabulous process, seeing the confabulations at work. When we pause to examine stubborn proclamations, we may discover our foolishness, and devote energy to understand the rest of the story.
See Confabulations for more on this topic.
"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope...." ~Thomas Merton
Thoughts are Just Theories
Our bold proclamations are just theories—thoughts without substance. Accepting thoughts as fallible theories allows us to step back and gain a wider perspective. Only through deeper reflection can we widen our view and navigate bothersome biases. From a position of distance, we make better choices, pushing forward towards goals.
See Widening View for more on this topic.
Protecting the Ego
Reality is not always the goal for some. Their delicate ego and powerful drives can't survive the torture of the unknown. They live in a fantasy world, protected by walls of deception. We grasp whatever morsel of proof that supports and ignore the mountains of evidence that refute.
Keys to Deep Reflection
Deep reflection requires psychological space. When emotions are flowing, space is flooded by the arousal. Pulling our mind away from the momentary trigger is a chore.
Deep reflection is a skill we develop through practice, beginning in calm moments, and eventually working towards deep personal examinations following disturbing arousal.
A few elements to assist with deep reflection:
Occasionally, less now than at the beginning, comments on an article may arouse my emotions. I get dragged into revolving defensive arguments in my head. But with deeper thought, I'm able to separate from the thoughts, realizing my sensitivity belongs to my own unresolved hurt, and nothing to do with provocative comments. These contacts with the depth are only achieved through deep reflection. Our deeper reflections bring moments of understanding, perhaps, only a glimpse, that may be easily forgotten. Yet, when the practice is habit, we receive a constant infusion of wisdom, our views widen, our hearts open and true growth begins.
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