Reflection 317: Self-Reflection

September 10, 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Steve Perrin.

Self-reflection is a process you go through to understand yourself better than you do now. In CONSCIOUSNESS: The Book, I call it introspection—looking inward. Basically, it is thinking about thinking. And about seeing-hearing-touching-smelling-tasting. And experiencing emotions. And remembering. And planning to do something. Self-reflection directs your personal attention to everything going on inside of yourself that you can become aware of at the time. Particularly to projects and relationships you are engaged with.

The problem with self-reflection is that nobody tells you it’s a good thing to do, much less how you might go about doing it.

This entire blog is about me self-reflecting on what concerns me at the time I write each separate post. Now I’m going to share the deep secret of how it is done. You simply pay attention to what’s going on in yourself. What concerns or interests or confuses you. On the inside, not the outside. Let go of the material world and concentrate on what’s happening in the world of you—your mental-emotional world.

In my last post (Reflection 316) I listed several (what I call) dimensions of consciousness. I divided them into two groups, 1) a perceptual group leading up to a sense of the situation you’re facing at the moment, and 2) a planning group of dimensions leading to actions you take in dealing with that situation.

One way to self-reflect is to run through the list of conscious dimensions to see which dimensions of your mental life are prominent at a particular moment of engagement, then to devote attention to the ones that stand out to see what’s going on with yourself. Here I offer such a list, more-or-less in the order in which they might come into play. Think, for instance, of a situation you are engaged with in which you recently felt glad, mad, sad, or any other way.

  • What did you expect?
  • What got your attention?
  • What aroused your interest or concern?
  • What did you see (hear, touch, taste, smell)?
  • What did you recognize as familiar?
  • How did you understand what was happening?
  • How did you feel?
  • What were your values at the time?
  • How would you describe the situation you were in?
  • How did you judge that situation?
  • What did you decide to do about it?
  • What was your goal?
  • How did you plan to achieve it?
  • Did you get help or tell others about it?
  • What did you say?
  • What did you do?
  • What happened next?
  • How did it all work out?
  • What do you think is going to happen now?

That pretty much covers the inner span of your loop of engagement if you’re committed to figuring things out for yourself. If you’re on automatic pilot based on rote or ideological responses, you can skip all those steps and act unconsciously, not consciously. Self-reflection is a tool for effective use of your conscious ability to solve problems. If you already know all the answers before the questions are even asked, you probably won’t get any benefit from the exercise. But if you really want to understand yourself better, it’s worth whatever effort you put in.

Here’s a map of my personal loop of engagement showing two alternate routes, the habitual-ideological and the longer, full consciousness route I am recommending here.

backcoverdiagram-96dpi-blogMy list of the dimensions of consciousness pretty much follows the lower (solid) loop from right to left, moving right along from sensory phenomena to situations, and on to actions in the world. As you can see, the upper (dotted) ideological route skips all that and connects directly to actions without due consideration.

That’s an outline of my method of self-reflection from a phenomenological point of view as laid out in greater detail in CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK.

As ever, I remain y’rs truly, –Steve from Planet Earth

One Response to “Reflection 317: Self-Reflection”

  1. psychospiritualfun said

    Reblogged this on Psychology, spirituality and mental health and commented:

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