Lent Devotional #5

Henry David Thoreau

Jeremiah 31:33-35
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teacher one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
For who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—It is I am that I am.

This week, we welcomed the change of the season.  We moved from the cool inward reflective season of winter to the outward blossoming season of Spring.  Mother Earth teaches us that all that we have been through during winter prepares us for what we are called to do in Spring!

Offering our best self to the world requires harnessing the power of reflection.  In Mindsight, Dr. Siegel says that there are 3 specific components of reflection.  Like stabilizing a camera for a more focused picture, this tripod ensures a more detailed look at ourselves.

First, we need Openness.  Openness implies that we are receptive to whatever comes to our awareness instead of clinging to how things “should” be.  We let go of expectations in order to be present to what is.  How can you cultivate openness in your life?

Second, we need Observation. Observation is the ability to perceive the self even as we are experiencing an event. It is the kind of reflection that while in a stressful situation, we can step back and see the patterned response beginning to unfold AND INSTEAD we make the choice to try something different.  How can you take the position of an observer in your life?

Third, we need Objectivity. Objectivity permits us to have feelings but not be swept away by them. Like when I am washing the dishes and my mind is thinking about all the terrible happenings of the day and I want to yell at my son because he is bothering me, but instead, I see these thoughts objectively and remember that I am about to start my period and so my thoughts are irrational. The thoughts are not my life. With objectivity, I can discern that my thoughts are irrational and begin to change them focusing on all the ways I love my life and family.  How can you cultivate objectivity so that when a flood of emotions threatens to overwhelm you, you don’t get washed away?

Reflection is a compassionate state of mind.  Learning to be Open, Observant and Objective of ourselves open the door for the release of compassion to others.

 

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