Introspection is defined as self-examination, and self-contemplation – the contemplation of one’s own thoughts and desires and conduct or actions. This is mindfulness when it allows for paradigm evaluation and shifting.
How we incorporate that is the important piece of the puzzle and what can lead to an epiphany or divine manifestation – or paradigm shift resulting in an aha experience.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book What the Dog Saw wrote about the difference between a mystery and a puzzle.
When you’re working with a puzzle you have all the pieces, you just have to figure out how they all go together – that’s a lot like shifting your perspective so you can SEE how the pieces fit. Sometimes that even requires a paradigm shift – changing your perspective or re-orienting yourself to a problem/solution – like adjusting the lens or angle on a camera to change perspective.
With mysteries it is a little bit different, with a mystery not all the pieces are there, or there are hidden pieces, or there is an element of unknowability. You have to discover what is missing, or what is hidden, and how it relates to the mystery. Again, figure/ground understanding and paradigm recognition and shifting are very important.
Deductive logic is what is used for mysteries – the Sherlock Holmes’ concept of impossibility and improbability. With a mystery you have to deduce what is impossible and all that remains no matter how improbable may be evaluated to solve the mystery. Deduction is from the general to the particular or from cause to effect. Mysteries have sequencing changes or effects that can be dynamic.
Inductive logic is used with puzzles – reasoning from detailed facts to general principles – this is an observation of the figure to induce the ground. It is more of a lock and chain sequencing that has pattern. Puzzles may have hidden pieces but once the pattern is known then that hidden piece is discovered, even if only in the negative space.
Mindful introspection is useful in both solving puzzles and mysteries; the solutions are the resulting epiphanies.
Introspection when it is accomplished in a mindful way utilizes a neutral perspective and an observing energy. It’s more of a discovery rather than a judgment. Although ultimately, a judgment or a decision may be made about what to do, the pre–judging regarding what is important, what matters or what is valuable, can inhibit true discovery.
Describing rather than labeling the pieces to the puzzle or mystery helps to keep neutrality, and helps to maintain or shift perspective as needed.
Thinking of yourself as a witness, or an observer rather than a judge or executioner is helpful in maintaining the neutrality so that all that is available can be evaluated with a degree of equity. This allows for the puzzle or mystery to reveal itself fully.
Linda Schierse Leonard author of On the way to the wedding and The wounded woman has written extensively on Jungian and Archetypal Psychology and how to apply these paradigms to our inner psychological stuck and crisis patterns to allow for transformation into healing and creativity. In her book The call to Create she writes about the inner tyrant and the inner victim, their relationship to each other and how these interfere with creativity.
She is describing habit reaction patterns and survivor scenarios.
Understanding that we are typically blind to our own biases and pre-judices allows us to open ourselves to the opportunity to escape them, and live in a whole-istic, mindful way. When we are in this state we often experience an epiphany and the mystery is clarified and revealed to us.
Introspection from a neutral perspective allows us to be the witness to our own inner dialogue and mis-characterizations so that we can move the figure into the ground through our resolutions of these and shift the paradigm/perspective of our inner landscape.
In the blog on Wisdom I wrote:
I suggest that sometimes to get to mindfulness one has to empty her mind – so that she can be neutral and present, focused and open to the figure and ground, with a lack of attachment to the meaning (a lack of bias and pre-judice) so that the full meaning of the situation can reveal itself.
Historically I have viewed this as grace.
To get there requires practice at this willingness to withhold reaction and gather information and then respond after evaluation of the various figure/ground perspectives from an unattached, present moment, and neutral perspective.
From this perspective – Introspection is a way to get to wisdom. Grace is the epiphany.
Knowing yourself requires knowing not only that which is directly available to you, but also that which is hidden.
Humans can be like puzzles and like mysteries.
Mindful introspection allows us to become more acquainted with our unconscious habit reaction patterns.
Happy puzzle and mystery solving.
See you tomorrow.