Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keeping a Reflective Diary

Daily Reflection: A Ten-Minute Exercise
This is a more demanding discipline than the Learning Diary, as it requires daily reflection on one's learning cf. at the end of each week. Its advantage is that through a regular commitment, one 'learns faster' i.e., you have the opportunity to live not only 'bumped around' on the surface of life, but with a deeper understanding and mastery of the opportunities of life.


  1. Choose a safe place (i.e., comfortable, peaceful environment where you are unlikely to be interrupted for 10 minutes), relax your body and become attentive but open.
  2. Begin positively. Recall something in the day that was good. It may have been something that you really valued: a kind word, a good conversation, a beautiful rainbow or even a simple equation (that succinctly summed up so much!). Then re-live that experience, savor it for a minute and express gratitude for it.
  3. Have a moment of silence, then let one thing surface in your mind. An indication of something to reflect on, may be a niggle, a mental preoccupation, a tension or a strong feeling.
    • Think around the situation: how it began, how it developed, why it bothered me so deeply etc.
    • Reflect on this. Can't I stand being criticised and always want to look as though I'm right? Am I intolerant? Do I not understand the subject area?
    • Recognise it - own it - this is me! It may be painful but I faced it! Talk over these feelings with yourself. You may begin here to realise that it is not so serious and begin to smile to yourself as you put it into perspective.
    • Realise that having come thus far (e.g., facing the pain), you have grown a little in self knowledge and awareness. Express gratitude at this point. Realise also that in growing you have also grown for others and in so doing (if done humbly i.e., not for selfish reasons) then you are also helping the development of humankind.
  4. An example may be: a conversation that made me feel being got at, or a badly answered question in a tutorial that made me look stupid; so I'm hurt, angry, resentful, I want to retaliate; it has spoiled my day and I want to/have taken out my bitterness on others etc.
  5. Now, may be the appropriate time to 'formally' finish the reflection in any manner that seems appropriate to you e.g., a good stretch, saying a meaningful verse of a poem or a simple prayer. Then have a cup of tea!
  6. You may wish to work further with your insight, either now or later (make a note in your diary) i.e., how you can move on from here (to complete the Learning Cycle). Do not rush any insights. Let them have time (at least a few days) to mature, by keeping them gently in mind.

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