Monday, December 1, 2014

Conversation. Serendipity. Inspiration.

To say the last few hours have been interesting would be to somehow shortchange the experience.

It started over lunch and conversation with a new friend. Proceeded to a sidewalk conversation with someone I didn't know from Eve. And concluded with a passing hallway conversation with a wise, old colleague. What's been most interesting, at least to me, is how conversation after conversation today, each with different people and each initiated by the other (not me), has revolved around a similar topic. It's as if each person was playing some scripted role in a play, a play in which I am participating but was unaware I was an actor. I almost feel like I'm walking through a dream or a movie. It's an odd feeling. I wonder if this is how Harold Crick felt in Stranger Than Fiction.
IMDB link here:
So strange, in fact, that I could not help but reflect on them right after they happened. Which is rather ironic considering each of the conversations was about discipline in the practice of reflecting. This whole situation is made even more interesting to me in that I've been giving 'reflection' a fair bit of thought over the last few months. It feels rather like...serendipity.

The first conversation had me thinking about spiritual reflection and personal growth. The second had me thinking about philosophical reasons for reflection. The third had me thinking about the importance of reflection in academics and for learning.

Why reflection? Beyond appreciation, compassion and community? Well, one of the key pieces of the scientific method includes reflection. Philosophers spend careers reflecting on reflecting. Some of the most influential thinkers of all time - Socrates, Plato (Aristocles) and Aristotle - advocated for reflection. And the seminal writings in nearly every world religion give considerable credence to reflection. Yet for all this, it seems too few of us in this fast-paced modern world of ours are truly good at taking time to reflect, instead too plugged in to technology we often forget to be present in the moment. So I've been disciplining myself to regularly unplug and just spend time both in the moment and reflecting on previous moments, if even just for 20 minutes each day.

It is (and I am) a work in progress. But I'm now finding it easier to see how the events and situations and people and things around me connect to each other and to my own life. And it's helping me become more aware of how it all shapes my own thinking and worldview. To me, reflection feels inspiring...and I love feeling inspired. What inspires you?

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