The Power of Reflection and Hindsight – 06
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The greatest piece of advice often handed down by elder generations is about the power of reflection.
They’re referring, of course, to the power of hindsight. With the power of hindsight, we can see the other players in our story with greater clarity and understanding of their role in our life.
But why wait until we are old or sick or in any other way safely at some distance from our busy lives to reflect and gain the wisdom that was always there waiting to be mined? While meanwhile, allowing our habits and unconscious wounds lead us from one story to the next, falling into the same traps with the same kinds of people and the same outcomes. Why wait until hindsight becomes available, when we have the power of reflection available to us right now?
In our culture, we teach each other that the best way to heal and move on is to forget about the past. Pretend it didn’t happen. At least pretend that it didn’t bother us. We advise each other to let it go. Why harp on something that happened when we were 16, we ask each other, /what’s the point? Pretend you’re fine.
But we are sensate and sensitive creatures, and we cannot let go so easily. We carry our past with us into our future in the very cells of our bodies. So while we’re going on pretending that this story didn’t hurt, touch or confuse us, our body remembers the story in vivid detail. Thus, we respond to current situations as if they are a replay of a past encounter. The story, along with all the other unprocessed stories, live on like background noise.
Holding on to old stories—whether we have told ourselves that they didn’t hurt us or didn’t affect us, or didn’t matter keeps us from our freedom.
For me, being in power is about freedom.
It’s about a freedom to and a freedom from. It’s a freedom to live our lives freshly each day as a new adventure. And it is freedom from the hinderance of old wounds, habits, unconscious fears and motivations that continue to keep us from this life.
When we were children, everything was about the lesson. We’d have a day at school and we’d come home and share it with our parents. Our parents would help us glean the lessons from that day. We would then take those lessons into future days and would grow from that experience.
And yet somehow, as we grow older, and especially once we’re adults, we lose this power of reflection. We begin to live our days one after the next after the next with very little reflection.
To be clear, I’m talking about an honest reflection of who we were at the time, the situation that we were in, the people that were around us, and our state of mind,. An honest reflection with the purpose of drawing out the wisdom and then leaving behind the husks.
It’s not so much about what happened, it’s how we felt as it happened.
What we were thinking, what was going through our minds, how did we respond? When we begin to look at it from almost this scientific distant place, we will see things that we never saw before. Then, we will gain the lessons and hopefully we’ll be able to chuckle at our own humaneness.
We all fail, we all fall down. We all have faults. If we can start to simply accept that and be humble about that allow us to be human. You might even surprise yourself as you go back and reflect upon your stories how strong you were.
And this authority that you didn’t even know that you had until you saw it in hindsight and revisiting our stories, allows us to deepen our compassion for one another. For as we see how universal our stories are, then when we hear other people’s stories, we begin to see beyond the details for them, as well. As we’ve gotten used to doing it for ourselves, we naturally do it for other people. And so as we hear the stories, we see past the details, and we get to those common elements of what it is to be a human being on this earth realm, struggling along trying to belong, trying to fit in, trying to find love, acceptance, belonging.
Of course, this compassion is the one thing that is so missing in our life right now.
Reflecting on our stories will decrease anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression are expressions of unhealed wounds and traumas inside us. The more unhealed wounds we have inside us, the more we’re walking around with literal baggage. And so every interaction every encounter is riddled with the possibility of these stories being triggered again, and being back to being that six year old or that eight year old or that 16 year old. So, we find ourselves more and more buffered, more and more protective of our hearts and our power centers.
Reflecting on our stories increases our stores of self awareness.
We can see ourselves now through this greater lens. And we know how we respond. We know what triggers us. Chances are, some of that will be reversed and reduced simply in the observation. But what is not removed or reverse will be diminished. We will have a greater self awareness we will be able to make better choices for ourselves in the future. We know what triggers us, what gives us anxiety. We don’t have to be surprised all the time. This is a great gift, and a huge boost in our freedom.
We are here to continue to grow.
Personal growth was not only for childhood. We are all walking around, wounded in some way. For this planet to heal, and for us humans to continue to evolve, we must begin ourselves. If we don’t fully recognize our human stories for what they have to teach us, hoping instead, that by ignoring them they will go away, we will never actually be free
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