Teilhard de Chardin, who in 1925 coined the term noosphere “to denote the sphere of mind,” (1) offers this on Threshold of Reflection:

“Reflection is, as the word indicates, the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as of an object endowed with its own particular consistence and value: no longer merely to know, but to know oneself; no longer merely to know, but to know that one knows.  By this individualization of [one]self in the depths of [one]self, the living element, which heretofore had been spread out and divided over a diffuse circle of perceptions and activities, [is] constituted for the first time as a centre in the form of a point at which all the impressions and experiences knit themselves together and fuse into a unity that is conscious of its own organization.”

This is one of the most sublime descriptions of mindfulness that I have come across. Teilhard de Chardin, however, didn’t intend this paragraph as a description of mindfulness.  He was describing “hominization,” i.e. the metamorphosis of a hominid into a human.

But here’s my question to you: Have you yourself reached this Threshold of Reflection today?

Here’s why I ask: while Teilhard de Chardin viewed this kind of reflection as a baseline of human consciousness, I tend to think that for most of us this Threshold of Reflection is a moving target.  Mindless, we seem only aware of what’s outside us, while utterly unaware of ourselves, hominid-like.  Mindful, however, we begin to notice ourselves and even notice ourselves noticing ourselves.

Teilhard de Chardin again: “Now the consequences of such a transformation are immense […].  The being who is the object of [one’s] own reflection, in consequence of that very doubling back upon [one]self, becomes in a flash able to raise [one]self into a new sphere.  In reality, another world is born.”

The world of noosphere, the sphere of mindfulness and am-ness…

In conclusion of this post, an ode to Teilhard de Chardin:

This cosmic Jesuit jazz of harmonious cacophony

Of hopes and revelations, this European echo of the Eastern,

Teilhard de Chardin still tills and toils in his garden of consciousness…

A thinker whose poetry spirals into prose,

Whose existential angst ascends into existential ecstasy…

Be well today, fellow mind and remember to cross the threshold of reflection!

References:

The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin

Resources:

Mindstream

 


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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (June 7, 2010)






    Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2010). Threshold of Reflection. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2010/06/threshold-of-reflection/

 

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Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.


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