“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!
The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin
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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (June 7, 2010)
Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2011