Rev. Wayne Walder: Introspection

by Reverend Wayne Walder

I believe our memory is not large enough to hold our insights. What I mean is that our memory does not have the capacity to hold the sometimes overwhelming aspects of our insights and the self awareness that comes from them.

This presents a problem. For example, the beauty of something as simple as a sunset might give us an insight about our world or our day. And the self awareness from this insight can help us become more conscious of the world we live in.

Unfortunately, when we remember the sunset, our memory is not designed to hold the how or why of the inspiration. Maybe it was the way the air smelled, or the people we were with that made the sunset insightful. Maybe it was the warm breeze and the subtle colours. Maybe we were more aware that evening because we slept well the night before. Maybe we heard someone else talk about their sunset experience and it helped us have our own.

Memory is not big enough to hold all these contextual pieces of insight, their depths and the self-awareness that comes from them.

When our memory cannot remember all the parts of our original insight, it can make us doubt we had a real insight in the first place. This is why we often hear insights trivialized: “Oh, you had a Kumbaya moment, eh?”

When I spoke about this at a multifaith gathering, a Hindu priest agreed with me. He said, “What then should we do to keep our insights alive, so we can use them for our deepening self-awareness?” I said, “We have to continually have insights and use them, soon after, for our deepening self-awareness”.

In our month of self-awareness, I hope we can do two things. One is to open ourselves to insight. We are often too busy or too preoccupied to have an insight while we are moving toward the “next thing”. Insights are all around us, if we notice them.

The second thing is to remember to use our insights. We can use them for self-awareness or introspection; this is what they are for. We might notice someone offering a kindness when it was not called for (an insight about human compassion). Then we might use our insight to help us act with compassion when we get a chance.

In our year of living with integrity, what better way to end our themes than to use the skills we have practiced in our everyday lives?


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