Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reflect & Reflection

I have been reflecting on the concept/word "reflection". I love that reflecting is both an action and a consequence of an action, all at once.

I love that a reflection is an after-effect with a life of its own. I love that our actions "reflect upon" us. And yet, that we can also pause to reflect upon our actions.

When we were travelling in Croatia and Bosnia last month, I noticed that I was drawn to reflections and secondary effects.

When I got home, I looked up "reflect" and "reflection" in the dictionary. I think it's so interesting:
re flect
to cast back (light, heat, sound, etc) from a surface; The mirror reflected the light onto the wall. 2. To give back or show an image of; mirror. 3. (of an act or its result) to serve to cast or bring (credit, discredit, etc.) on its performer. 4. to reproduce; show; followers reflecting the views of the leader. 5. to throw or cast back; cause to return or rebound: Her bitterness reflects gloom on all her family. --v.i. 6. to be turned or cast back, as light. 7. to cast back light,
heat etc. 8. to be reflected or mirrored. 9. to give back or show an image. 10. to think, ponder, or meditate: to reflect on one's faults. 11. to serve or tend to bring reproach or discredit by association: His crimes reflected on the community. 12. to serve to give a particular aspect or impression: The test reflects well on your abilities (from Latin reflectere to bend back)

re flec tion
n. 1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected. 2. an image; representation; counterpart. 3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration. 4. a thought occurring in consideration or meditation. 5. an unfavorable remark or observation. 6. the casting of some imputation or reproach. 7. Physics, Optics a. the return of light, heat, sound, etc, after striking a surface. b. something so reflected, as heat or esp. light. 8. Math. a. (in a plane) the replacement of each point on one side of a line by the point symmetrically placed on the other side of hte plane. 9. Anat. the bending or folding back of a part upon itself.

I was struck that the origins are from latin, "to bend back". Which led me to Backward Bends in my yoga practice. I am eager to practice backward bends tomorrow, with an awareness toward "reflection". I love the phrase "to be cast back, as light." I think the definitions have very poetic interpretations, if you allow them to be read as such. And I love the intersection of action/image/meditation/creating/viewing. Action as reflection...

In fact, isn't action as reflection one of the most fundamental goals of all yoga practice? To reflect before acting? To reflect in order to avoid regretting. To consider the surfaces upon which your actions will reflect, and what image they will reflect of your character.

And I love that is an action to reflect on the consequences of your actions... to pause before acting. Acting internally before acting externally.