By Linda Modaro and Nelly Kaufer featured on The Secular Buddhist Network on August 8, 2023
Greater awareness develops in three phases in Reflective Meditation. First we meditate, allowing whatever to transpire. Then we take a step back and reflect upon it, finding words often in writing, for what happened. Then we speak it aloud to a teacher and/ or to peers. Each
of these phases shine the light of awareness, each a bit differently and from a different perspective.
A capacity for reflection slowly develops. Why we use the metaphor of muscle is because muscle develops slowly. You need the right nutrients to develop. Good nutrition: kindness, curiosity, flexibility. Changing our diet. Refining it. Muscle helps us with the “heavy lifting”. Reflection can also help metaphorically with the heavy lifting– what is difficult or demands our greater effort.
We enact a culture of reflection. We do this individually and together. The capacity to reflect naturally flows into our thoughts and perceptions outside of meditation. This changes a great deal: we begin to look upon our life experiences and that of others with more curiosity and kindness. It wears away at apathy, indifference, hostility and ignorance.
We structure this strongly in our practice. Events alway have time for reflection. It is our practice! A bell to begin the meditation, a bell to end the meditation and transition into reflection, a bell to mark the end of reflection and transition into sharing. That’s a lot of bells. No whistles! Reflection goes with meditation and has a high value – just as walking or chanting does in other practices.
Doing reflection together bonds us. Is connecting, like connective tissue. We are expecting people to tell us about their experience and their reflections on their experiences. “Tell us more” is another way we talk about this.
It takes openness and reflection to move beyond certainty and perceive more conditions at play. Here we’re back at the teaching of conditionality, blended throughout experience. Conditionality questions certainty and quiets the fires of extremes.
Listen to more on Developing the Muscle of Reflection on Apple Podcasts: