Introspection: a skill and a daily benefit of meditation.
Introspection is the ability to examine conscious experience – thoughts, feelings, opinions – as objects.
Questions like ‘why do I have this opinion,’ ‘why do I feel this way’ and ‘where do these thoughts come from’ are introspective.
Often we are so deep in the subjective experience of our own thoughts, feelings, and opinions that we miss the obvious answer.
We forget that we are not our thoughts – that our thoughts are simply a part of who we are.
A quote by Rudolf Steiner:
"Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas"
Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science, 1883
Thinking is a sense. If you’ve ever treated it so, then you’ve practiced introspection.
When was the last time you thought about what you think about?
Introspection is a skill, and, like any skill, it can be learned through consistent practice. When you meditate, you practice allowing yourself awareness of your thoughts, feelings and opinions, in a non-judgemental kinda way.
Here’s how it works:
The mind wants to make thoughts subjective; that’s just what the mind does. That’s ok, you innocently bring the mind back to this non-judgmental, uninvested awareness.
Now you are being introspective.
And now the mind mind pulled you back to subjectivity.
And now we innocently come back to non-judgmental, uninvested awareness – objectivity.
Then we are pulled back to subjectivity.
And so on. Like that.
Consistently practice this, and you’re consistently practicing the fundamentals of introspection.
Meditation is not the only way to introspect; it’s not even the best. But, twice daily, among all the other benefits of meditation, it gives you a chance to check up on yourself, and become aware of not only what you’re thinking, but how you’re thinking.
You learn to resolve some of your problems simply because you allow yourself a little perspective.
You laugh at what the mind does with 20 minutes free thinking time, when the leash of moment-to-moment necessity or entertainment is let go.
You have a chance to laugh at your humanity, and wonder how you manage to get anything done with all that beautiful, silly noise going on up there.
You have a chance to practice perspective and humour.
You have a chance to practice your humanity.
And as they say in the classics: “A little perspective – and a little humour – goes a long way.”
And as I’ve joyfully implied for the last few posts:
“A little humanity goes even further”
Daily Meditation is good.