A long time ago I read that reflection was an important component in understanding ourselves and our world. There are many forms of reflective activities, 2 of which are prayer and meditation. I am not religious nor am I advocating for or against religious practices, but I found this piece of information interesting. Reflecting, through prayer, meditation, or any other form, gives us the chance to focus on abstract parts of ourselves like beliefs, emotions and reactions to experiences. It gives us a chance to admit to ourselves things that really concern us, things that make us feel bad and things we may regret or wish to change. I think it’s very important to know what things bother us, just as much as it’s important to not let negative thoughts take over. Reflection also gives us a chance to forgive ourselves for anything we feel bad about.
I think this idea really resonated with me because I don’t pray or meditate. But I definitely spend a lot of time reflecting. It seems to me to be one of those unifying factors between all of humanity: we all need to reflect to understand, we just all do it in different ways and with different ideas about with whom or with what we are sharing our reflections. I think these things are secondary to the act of taking a moment to think about your day, or your life, or the state of the world and to feel emotions you might keep hidden away at other times. They key to this reflection is to not become anxious, or to try to control your thoughts. You have to relinquish control, which is probably why this activity often goes hand in hand with belief in a greater power. So what if you’re an atheist? As an atheist, I am telling you, you will benefit from this activity of taking time to take a step back and look at your life objectively. Life starts to make more sense when you realize that even though you control your own fate, you can control every external factor affecting you, you just control how you deal with it.