Meditation vs Reflection

In the blog category “Guided Reflections”, I will provide detailed explanations for all the guided reflection tracks that I will place in the Resources section of this website. These blog posts will be hyperlinked from the “Guided Reflections” page under “Resources” menu option where these tracks in mp3 format will be placed for streaming or for downloading.

There is a difference between practice of meditation and practice of reflection within the domain of mindfulness. Meditation practice helps us to develop concentration and calmness, so that we can break through into a deeper understanding of the nature of reality. Reflection practice gives us insight into our own thoughts. It allows us to understand how we operate and gives us insight into our strengths and weaknesses. It helps us analyze ourselves and others. When we reflect on ourselves or our lives, we get to know ourselves better.

Meditation, on the other hand, rewires our brain so that some neural connections wither away, while new connections are created. We see ourselves and others from a clearer perspective. Our overall anxiety is reduced, and our capacity to empathize is strengthened. Rather than taking everything personally, we become more balanced and rational.

The purpose of reflection practice is not to gratify our hopes or dispel our fears. By contemplating and reflecting on our life’s circumstances, we are expressing our confidence that it is worthy to consider decent, skillful ways to conduct our lives.

But how do we practice reflection? If we are asked to reflect on the nature of impermanence, for example, what exactly are we supposed to do? We can relax and think of impermanence, but very soon we might be bombarded by a network of thoughts that would easily overwhelm the one reflecting thought in our mind, thereby making the effort futile. At least, that was my own experience whenever I would sit to do a reflection practice.

Guided Meditations are like training wheels for the practice of meditation. In a similar way, Guided Reflections act like training wheels for the practice of reflection. For my own use, I created a few guided reflection practices as voice memos on my cell phone. Realizing how beneficial these were to me, I have chosen to publish them on the website beginning in March 2018 and will create a library of them in due course of time.

I strongly believe that we need the practices of reflection as well as meditation to transform our lives and to live with ease. We can never have enough of them.

Guided Reflection practice, as I envision it, can have two different paths. In the first path, we start by practicing the classical mindfulness of breath meditation for a few minutes. During this time, we observe and note the most dominant thoughts and emotions that cause distraction while we attempt to keep our attention on our breath. We then reflect on these thoughts and emotions and try to deal with them in a direct way as they invariably deal with our pre-occupations and incomplete  experiences.

In the second path, we again start by practicing the classical mindfulness of breath meditation for a few minutes. If this stills our mind so that it has become like a calm lake, we drop in wholesome thoughts and then patiently wait for our minds to absorb them and to create different perspectives of them, all of which are directly applicable to our lives.

The Guided Reflection practices will encompass both these paths. The accompanying blog post for each practice will explain the path in detail. I hope that you find the collection of Guided Reflection practices as useful and beneficial as the collection of Guided Meditation practices on my website.

If you would like to share your experience, ask questions or provide helpful suggestions on this or any other blog post, then please fill out the contact form below. In a blog category entitled “Website content feedback” I will publish my answers to your questions as well as your suggestions wherever appropriate. I will be also delighted to publish your experience, if you would like me to do so. Thank you !!!

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