Cultivate introspection and gain mastery of yourself by following this 5 step regime.
As we age, our soul grows whether we make a conscious effort in assisting it or not. Our mind continuously takes in knowledge and builds its wisdom which, when left untapped, simply becomes a baggage — one that irks us when we respond and react to, or make decisions under different circumstances.
When left un-reflected too long, we experience:
- Indecisiveness when making impactful decisions
- A sense of “misplaced” guilt where we are unable to understand the cause/ reason
- Strong sentiments spilling out at unexpected and, at times, the wrong moments
- A sense of meaninglessness in what we are doing, or how we are living our lives
Lack of introspection is a result of the modern ethos, consistently reproduced in our individualistic society and consumer-centric culture of consumption.
However, it is not difficult to cultivate. Below is a simple, five-step process for cultivating an introspective mindset.
Step 1 — Find Your Quiet Space
Introspection is best done in a distraction free and comfortable place. There is no single definition of a quiet place. It will vary from person to person.
Ask yourself where do you feel the most comfortable with yourself, alone.
Where are you able to easily filter out the world and be focused and at ease with yourself? Where can you easily and consciously take in the world without judgment? That is your quite place.
- A long walk creates the quiet space for their mind
- Watching the sky at night or in the morning
- Drinking tea at a specific time of the day
- Meditating at a specific time of the day
Whatever you choose as your quite place, the most important aspect is that your thoughts will not be interrupted.
Step 2 — Ask Introspective Questions
Allow your body to relax, until your breathing becomes rhythmic. Next, follow your breath until you are comfortable with it. When you’re in tune with your body, ask yourself deep, open ended questions, such as:
- What do I want the most in my life? Why?
- What is my deepest passion?
- What do I like/ dislike about myself? Why?
- What is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in the last week/ month? Why?
- What are my deepest values?
- Why did I responded/ reacted/ behaved as I did in [a specific event]?
- If I had all the money and power in the world how would use it?
Now comes the most important part: answering your own questions.
Avoid thinking about them. For the first month, just start talking to yourself (if you’re walking you can set your phone on airplane mode and plug the earpieces so it seems you’re on hands-free). Continue talking until you feel like you’ve said everything that there was to be said.
You will be astonished at the powerful and insightful statements you make.
Step 3 — Reflect Mindfully
While you answer your questions, avoid stopping and thinking about, nit-picking, or being self-critical about what you have said.
Be mindful, allowing those thoughts to come freely to you and flow out of you without judgement.
Remember, as you give yourself more space, the hidden, passionate, curious, and simple parts of you will speak up. Listen to them because it will nurture and encourage your inner child.
Step 4 — Take Notes
Reflection is a crucial part of introspection. Given that you have to avoid judging your thoughts, mentally remembering them for later reflect can be taxing. You can either:
- Take notes of importance statements
- Record them for later
Once again, taking written notes can easily break the flow of your thoughts. Hence, for the first week (call it your “venting” week”) record your thoughts and allocate time to reflect on them separately.
Step 5 — Reflect and Repeat
As you become accustomed to the process, you can narrow your focus to a single question per session. As the question and reflect on it, and if your mind wanders off, gently bringing it back.
Repeat the exercise daily for the first two months or until you can master it.
Over time you will realize your deepest values and beliefs, you will gain a better understanding of yourself and, with time, you will master yourself.