The Lost Art of Introspection

It occurs to me that we are so inundated by the barrage of information teasing us with endless possibilities of this or that scenario, that we have become somewhat addicted by this constant stream of distraction to the emotional indignation it produces within us. What arises from this is a very attached and entrenched association with the surrounding landscape of the material world in which we live. It produces an incessant current of fear and anxiety that never leaves our consciousness and permanently imprints itself upon us unless we choose to consciously disengage from it. We have become, in so many ways, lost to this. We have forgotten how to disconnect from that which so subtly engenders fear, and reconnect to that which trumps fear completely. To live free of fear is a rare trait to be found in anyone today. We are so insidiously conditioned to live with it, and so inextricably linked to it, that we have become inured to its very presence because it feels normal. The anxiety this produces is at the root of most of the disease and discordant energy we find prevalent in the world today.

It is in moments of great and deep introspection, and most especially if one is out of doors and in a natural setting, that a sense of inner stillness, wonder, and energetic renewal can be most readily attained. In simple and quiet contemplation can be found that which speaks a greater truth to us. Of gratitude, peace, and inner knowing. On an intuitive level this is one of the most healing gifts we can ever give ourselves, for thus renewed we are able to view the world from a more calm and centered perspective. It invariably becomes the greatest gift we can offer to those around us as well, for we become more present to the moment we are in, without the usual outside distractions and currents of fear interfering with our clarity.

As a culture, we have forgotten how to detach ourselves from the technology of materialism and do the work of introspection. We are so inundated with technological gadgetry and the unseen influences upon the physical body it produces, and so disconnected from nature, that we are fast losing one of the greatest gifts of life: to stand in awe of the natural beauty we are surrounded with, and in so doing, revitalizing body, mind, and spirit. To sit under the stars at night and feel the awe that this simple act fills us with, to relax and savor the power and beauty of natural landscapes. It is vital to our own inner landscapes that we do so.

To sit in deep contemplation and introspection is one of the greatest gifts we can ever bestow upon ourselves, and one of the greatest gifts to teach to our children as well. To observe with honest and unflinching awareness our habitual thinking patterns is the biggest step we can take in achieving inner peace. To observe what we are thinking and most importantly, why. For with that deep introspection we learn to tame our fears and anxieties. One is able to think more clearly if a habit is made of completely disconnecting from the exterior landscape and searching the landscapes within, locating the weeds habitually growing there, and to thus begin the laborious process of pulling them up one by one, by the deep roots of confusion and fear that once, so long ago, planted them there. It is imperative for our healing that we learn to pull all the weeds of needless mental activity and self-recrimination, and to see them with precision and clarity for exactly what they are.

This art of introspection is critical to our survival. If we are constantly directing our attention outward, we are literally giving ourselves away to distractions outside of us on a continual basis. If we stop, and turn that attention inward, and simply observe what we are thinking and why, we have begun to utilize the most valuable tool in our arsenal of critical thinking. This self-reflection and observance is crucial to our understanding the inner landscapes of consciousness. There are very powerful rewards to be gained from this simple practice of introspection. The value of self-reflection is absolutely of equal accord and importance with selflessness. The two in dynamic and sacred balance become the very way in which we will walk through this world with the strength of clear vision and the wisdom of an open heart. It is crucial to take time for yourself, away from everything else, and become centered, and from this position of centeredness arises the ability to discern truth from falsehood in the chaos of the external world, and to do so in a calm, thoughtful manner.

How different would the world become, if all children were taught to live with this valuable teaching? I strongly believe this priceless tool of self observation and introspection would be immediately and naturally grasped by the very young. To teach children the art of introspection from an early age gives them the keys to navigate the world from a place of centered balance and inner strength. Introspection naturally brings insight, and insight always gives wise discernment.

If our own inner realities are clouded, chaotic, and confused, is it any wonder that this is exactly what we find externally as well? As within, so without. This timeless truth packs a powerful punch when taken to heart.

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