Practices of Reflective Intelligence

Practices of Reflective Intelligence

Mishaps are like knives, that cut us or serve us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.

– James Russell Lowell 

May I meet this moment fully; may I meet it as a friend.

– Sylvia Boorstein

Many people think of mindfulness as a kind of thinking or cognition. That’s not exactly it. Mindful awareness is about being with rather than thinking about: it entails knowing what you are experiencing while you are experiencing it. This awareness and reflection about experience (and your reactions to your experience) creates choice points in your brain. When you are aware of your choices, you can respond flexibly to whatever is happening, moment by moment.

Accepting the reality that underlies all reality — that everything changes, nothing is fixed or permanent — helps you let go of how things have been or need to be. You can tolerate how things are and trust your capacities of response flexibility to change them if need be. That neuroception of safety primes the neuroplasticity of the brain to discern new choices and find the courage to choose among them.

Steadying Awareness

Seeing Clearly

Choosing Wisely


Additional exercises are available in Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster.