Door Number Nineteen: Reflection

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~Confucius

Our lives are a flurry of non-stop activity. Even in our most inactive states our minds tend to run to and fro. Always looking to the future and what may be waiting around the next corner. Like a young Skywalker we look towards the horizon rarely taking the time to gain a fuller perspective. Affording us little time and focus to analyze past actions and thoughts. However, dedicating a bit of time to reflection provides a number of benefits to our lives.

By reflecting on past actions we are better equipped to deal with future problems.  Life is very similar to history in that it tends to repeat it self. Many of the challenges and conflicts we face are merely a retread of the past. We make the same mistakes, because we fail to analyze the reason these obstacles arise. It’s why the world continues to fight the same wars on different battlefields and why many of us are doomed to a cycle that leads us down the same path over and over again. However, by taking the time each day to reflect on our actions, thoughts and their consequences we can break the cycle.

We can only know where we are going if we understand where we have been. As I previously mentioned, a great deal of our energy is spent planning for the future. However, attempting to determine where we want to be tomorrow is quite difficult if we do not have a better handle on why we want to be there. A feat that is quite impossible if we fail to take the time and think about what we have done and continue to do. It’s why the greatest leaders throughout history have been informed by their past and why reflection on our actions is necessary. Once we have this perspective, only then can we effectively plan for tomorrow.

Good reflection leads to a greater peace of mind. With so many distractions, mental maladies, and other stressful weights pressing down upon us it is vital we find a way to calm our minds. Fortunately, one of the greatest benefits of reflection is it enables us to sort out much of the busyness in our life. Rather, than let the immense totality of it all overwhelm us, it allows one to break things down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This simplification of things contributes to an overall sense of calm otherwise found lacking.

Reflection improves our lives by better equipping us for the future, helping us understand the past and creating a greater peace of mind. While the benefits of realizing this door in our lives may seem like common sense finding the time and focus to dedicate to reflection is less simple. One must consciously and deliberately make time each day to think back on the events and thoughts of the day taking extra care to recognize the trends and patterns inherent in one’s life. Only then will the reasons for reflection fully reveal themselves.


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