Reflection is one of the most important practices in Visionmaking. It is the practice of turning the eyes from the outer world to the inner world and the Four-Chambered Heart. It is to the heart that we return in order to examine what is both meaningful and purposeful in our lives– to the strong, clear, open and full heart. On this journey inward, a Visionmaker seeks to quiet the mind and find that place of stillness, where we are simultaneously alert and relaxed. This takes discipline and regular practice.
Silence, solitude, and stillness are necessary for reflective practice. These conditions have become scarce in the modern world, where daily life is often noisy, hasty and kinetic. The Visionmaker recognizes that in order to pursue a meaningful journey in a world filled with such noise and static, the counsel of the heart and the companionship of solitude are necessary to steer a self-directed course in the world and not be waylaid by distractions.
Visionmakers throughout history have used Six Doorways of Reflection, which are identified in the Four-Fold Way, by Angeles Arrien–an excellent resource and a must-read for every Visionmaker. These doorways will also be covered in Chapter 9 of The Visionmaker. They are:
• silence – only in silence can we hear the heart's instructions;
• nature – where the rhythm of life is slow and stillness and solitude reside;
• beauty – which has the power to stop us in our tracks to reflect on the transcendent;
• art – the realm of the creative spirit;
• movement – where the rhythm of the body accelerates and the mind slows down allowing us to see with greater acuity;
• meditation – through seated, lying, standing or walking meditation, we seek to still the mind to hear the heart.
The Six Doorways of Reflection, when entered with discipline and intent, will carry us deeper into the wisdom of the heart and reveal the world anew. Two questions remain at the forefront of the Visionmaker's daily practice of reflection:
• "How are you using the great gift of life?"
• "Are you doing what you came here to do?"
© Patrick O’Neill 2008. All rights reserved.