In ancient times, one would visit a Buddhist master in a monastery or a hermit in the mountain to receive advice in life.
It is said that some of these holy men or women are not people of many words. Instead they may just gift you a word. With this word, you contemplate its layers of meaning and find your own answer to life.
In my recent visit to Japan, I was gifted with 4 printed words that come along with a map of the temple.
The 1st word is introspection.
Introspection means self reflection. A conscious inward search and examination of ourselves.
Unless we are free from faults, introspection is a great mental exercise for us to progress; both spiritually and temporally.
In fact many great masters do self reflection while progressing in their spiritual training.
Such mental exercise are like check points in a long journey.
There isn’t any room for doubt in self reflection because we know ourselves best. Are there traces of craving, hatred and ignorance in our mind. Are we self centred, selfish, ill willed, jeolous, envious, insecure etc. The answer to such question depends on our truthfulness with ourselves.
The strength of our self reflection lies in the power of our inner awareness, which can only be strengthen when we practice the correct meditation. (We can’t improve unless we are aware of the inner faults)
The more we become aware of our mental state the brighter our inner mirror of self reflection.
As an ordinary human with many faults, mindfulness of our faults and subsequent effort to improve oneself is a full time spiritual practice.
However it is important to note that self reflection does not mean lost in thoughts and memories of our past.
Having said that, it isn’t wrong to learn from past misdeeds and errors to improve. (JUST DON’T WALLOW IN IT)
A true practioner is humbled by their own imperfections and strive harder to improve.
Therefore introspection is a very precious and important practice.
A very precious gift of word from a Japanese Buddhist temple. Hope it brings you more happiness in life. May all be well and happy.