I was visiting a friend this past weekend and we had tea, did some meditation, and a little bit of guided writing. It’s an interesting way to spend a few hours.
Setting an intention to engage in mindful activities.
So, the writing exercise was basically a prompt, and we saw what we could come up with in ten minutes. I don’t think we could have been more ying-yang.
The prompt was “reflection.” And our thoughts, as briefly composed as they were, couldn’t have been more representative of that cosmic duality. Inseparable and contradictory opposites. Ying and Yang.***
She expanded upon some personal contacts and insights, feelings, and relationships. A more creative expression. Me, very yang, a logical dissection of what is reflection and how it occurs in our minds. Sequence, timing, perspective.
Here is what I wrote:
I’m often writing my gratitude list and that is really a reflection of the day – in miniature. Whereas other reflections are looking back over various life events. Things transpired that we continually roll around in our heads trying to make sense of, perhaps find peace with. Or maybe, we even engage in a bit of revisionist history and we shape those past events into something more positive or into a form we can understand better.
All in all, I think we struggle to make sense of things in our lives. When perhaps we shouldn’t. Stop the categorizing, labeling, boxing, packaging, and filing. But that is difficult as we want things to be “right.” To have had purpose and meaning.
Does living in the moment exist independently, or is reflection required even to interpret the instantaneous events? How much does the mind live in the past or future? Even contemplating the future could be regarded as a type of reflection as we attempt to interject ourselves into an image that hasn’t occurred. Yet we visualize it as though it has already happened.
Is there a finite point, a point at which reflection blurs with present moment reality? A consumption of thoughts, ideas, and perceptions instantaneously still have a fraction of a second of time passing, so in a sense we are always looking backward even if imperceptibly so. Because we interpret the moment, store it to be reinterpreted.
I can think of a lot of ways to rewrite this, and polish and refine it, and even to add to it. But I thought I’d leave it in its raw form and throw it our here to see what happens. Will anyone reflect about the thoughts of reflection?
* I titled this “Reflections – Three” because I’ve already used that title twice in past posts. It’s a good word, so it was easy to recycle, but it was also the exact prompt for the writing exercise so I kept it. 😊
** I have taken down one of those past posts, but the poem I wrote of this same title is here: Reflections.
Photo: In the high desert in Oregon. I like this image because you have to step back and look at a more comprehensive view to see the reflection. See the way WP cut the photo for the presentation of the feature pic. The reflection is lost if the view is limited. 🙂
*** I think it’s important to emphasize that Chinese Cosmology doesn’t actually separate the sexes or ascribe certain characteristics to the sexes with the concept of Ying and Yang. Instead, it recognizes all of the qualities described, even in terms of opposites, are all part and parcel to every living being. They are complementary. These traits coexist and unify to compose a “whole being.”
I mention this because I was in a discussion group once and a member of the group could not move past the descriptive terms with the reference to gender. This person disapproved of the characteristics described, but was reflecting upon them in isolation, instead of in unity.