Ever since I turned to Mindfulness and Meditation, I have started becoming familiar with my mind, body, emotions, and energy. Also, I can see the correlation between them and how one influences the others.
In other words, since when I brought Mindfulness into my life, I have become a self-introspective person, and it really works in favor of me.
Many people who start practicing Mindfulness may notice this same, which may lead them to confusion like, Is Mindfulness an act of introspection? If Yes, then how? If No, then how Mindfulness and introspection different? And blah blah.
By keeping these questions aside, We should understand,
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a non-judgemental practice of being aware of what we are doing (including introspection) or what is happening around us.
It is all about bringing awareness to different areas such as thinking, doing, happening, and behaving without passing judgments or interpretations.
Some people see Mindfulness as a separate act from what they do, But indeed, it’s an act of doing things with more awareness (or consciousness) and involvement.
By keeping this in mind, Let’s understand,
Are Mindfulness and introspection different or same?
Actually, Mindfulness includes all dimensions (inner and outer) of our experiences, while introspection only refers to our inner dimensions. Thus, Mindfulness incorporates introspection in its domain, where self-introspection is a consequence of Mindfulness.
So if you are cultivating Mindfulness, over time, you will naturally be an introspective person because as you project your awareness to different areas, you start becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, behavior, and taints.
The idea here is to explain that Mindfulness and introspection are not distinct traits; instead, introspection is a result of improved Mindfulness in a person.
Mindfulness enhances self introspection
Mindfulness gives eyes that open inward in a deep unconscious level of your mind, that means with the practice of Mindfulness, you could able to see your compulsive behavior, habitual thinking patterns, and belief system that has been ignored till now.
Have you ever noticed, when we are in trouble, or someone kicks off our ego, we try to cover our deficiencies by creating stories to present ourselves as innocent in front of others.
Precisely, this is called compulsive behavior, which is deeply rooted in our subconscious mind, and with Mindfulness, it gradually infiltrates our awareness so we can work on it.
Mindfulness increases self-awareness and makes you familiar with the thoughts that come in your mind, emotions that arise in your consciousness, and sensations that happen in your body. Also, you can understand the mechanism of your inner engineering and the correlation between the inner subsystems.
With the improved awareness, you can discriminate between positive and negative, good and bad, useful and useless, and you can choose what is required.
Mindfulness sets an analytical faculty in your mind, which improves your perception of seeing things and events from various dimensions.
With Mindfulness, you might not see things from one narrow-minded view; instead, you inspect from others’ perspectives as well.
Mindfulness creates a space between you and what you have gathered called the mind. This very distinction helps you to observe your mind objectively and increases your self-introspective skill.
The separation of you and your mind gives you the power to control and manage your mind in a constructive direction.
Till now, what we have discussed are the benefits of Mindfulness that eventually increase the faculty of introspection.
Remember, this faculty can not be developed overnight. It requires commitment, patience, and persistent efforts.
Benefits of mindful introspection
Mindfulness has become a very popular practice for improving our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Many people have started cultivating Mindfulness for better overall well-being and improved brain functioning. Also, many research studies have proved these beneficial effects of Mindfulness.
Related article: Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
Regular practice of Mindfulness might give you insides of your mind and may provide the following benefits.
1) Increases self-awareness
As we have discussed, self-awareness helps to objectively observe your mind, body, and emotions and discriminate between what is useful and what is vain so you can work on the shady side of yourself.
2) Promotes positivity
It is scientifically proven that Mindfulness (introspection) helps induce positive thoughts and feelings and alleviate negative ones.
From one scientific experiment, it was concluded that Mindfulness might attenuate thoughts that emphasize negativity but not those that emphasize positivity (Source: NCBI).
3) Enhances emotional health
Regular practice of Mindfulness may promote positive emotions such as love, joyfulness, compassion, and gratitude.
With all goods in your heart, you can connect deeply with people, and your social relationship gets strengthen. Also, your mind may get purified from the poison of anger, hatred, resentment, and envy.
4) Breaks unwanted compulsive behavior
We are a hip of our behaviors, beliefs, and mindset.
Addiction, procrastination, laziness, fears, etc., are the consequences of our beliefs, compulsion, and mindset. Isn’t it?
So, introspection brings awareness into these subconscious areas of your mind, which eventually gives you access to rewire your brain program alliance with your requirement.
5) Improves concentration
Regular practice of Mindfulness may increase the ability to focus and attention span.
One study found that even 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation can improve attention in Novices. Also, they experienced improved concentration while completing allotted tasks. (Source: NCBI)
How to practice Mindfulness and introspect?
As you bring awareness to your routine activities and start investigating your body and mind, the ability to introspect will naturally grow within you.
So, consider introspection as part of Mindfulness and focus on the cultivation of Mindfulness.
Here I have mentioned some techniques; by using these, I have developed my mindfulness faculty, and I am sure you can also do the same by employing these.
Techniques to enhance Mindfulness
1) Mindfulness Meditation
This is the most recommended and must practice in order to cultivate Mindfulness in you.
You can start any meditation technique which suites you most. Then you can try Mindfulness Meditation practices such as vipassana, breathing, or zen meditation to go deeper into the field of mind and consciousness.
I emphasize Mindfulness because with the mindfulness you can know yourself better, connect more with your inner self, and objectively observe your mind, body, and life energies.
Steps to practice Mindfulness Meditation:
- Move to a quiet place and disengage your distractions.
- Sit into a crossed leg posture with eyes closed and spine comfortably erect (use meditation cushion to sit longer, stable, and in a comfortable way)
- Slowly and deeply, take 5-6 deep breaths, take a breath in from the nose and out from the mouth.
- Now, pay attention to natural breathing or notice the sensations happening in your body.
- As a witness, observe whatever comes to your mind without being judgemental and be aware as much as possible.
- In between practice, many times, your attention will be carried away by thoughts, and that’s normal.
- Be kind with your monkey mind and reengage it whenever it gets lost without being frustrated or anxious.
- Practice mindfulness meditation 10-15 minutes a day or more and maintain consistency.
Remember, every new practice requires time and effort to master, so don’t too hopeful and keep meditating with patience.
In the next heading, I will suggest 3 meditation techniques that may grow your introspection ability.
Related Post: 5 Minutes Mindfulness Exercises
2) Give yourself some time
Spare some time or when you get free time, even 2 minutes, then don’t indulge yourself in social media or email checking; rather, use this time to be with yourself.
Be with yourself means listening to your inner voice, observing and embracing your body, expressing gratitude for what you have, paying attention to your breathing or listening to your heartbeats, etc.
In today’s world, people have time for their friends, families, kids, and blah blah, except for themselves. This behavior makes them out of inner stillness, peace, self-esteem, and self-love. So make sure you don’t make this mistake too.
3) Conscious breathing practice
Breathing is always on and available to us, but we barely pay attention to it.
When stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness annoys people, they desperately try to find the cure for it and run here to there. But they don’t know that their solution is right below their nose.
Conscious breathing or controlled deep breathing can tame your mind and create a space for tranquility. Also, it helps to cultivate Mindfulness and deep peace within you.
So, whenever you remember to be Mindful, start paying attention to your breathing. This practice will grow the muscle of Mindfulness and enhance your introspection skill.
However, you can practice conscious breathing anywhere at any time during your day.
4) Be conscious in your everyday activities
In order to create the habit of Mindfulness, you should practice Mindfulness in every activity from morning to night.
Try to integrate Mindfulness by bringing awareness in routine activities such as walking, eating, speaking, driving, reading, seeing, etc.
Being conscious will give you access to self-observation and self-analysis, which indirectly leads to self-introspection.
Introspective Meditation techniques
Regular practice of any one of these meditations may increase your ability to introspect.
1) Vipassana meditation:
Vipassana means to see reality, see the impermanence nature of this material world.
This meditation can be divided into three parts.
First, mental observation of natural breathing for 5-10 minutes focuses and enables your mind to be receptive to sense the sensations happening in your body from gross to subtle.
Second, mentally direct your attention through each body part (from top to toe) and sense the sensations without producing crave or aversion for them. (Do this for 30-40 minutes)
Third, practice loving-kindness or metta meditation for 5-10 minutes and express gratitude, love, and compassion for all living beings.
It’s a total 1 hour-long meditation, but, in the beginning, you can practice it for 10-15 min, at your convenience.
By the way, I have been practicing vipassana meditation regularly for the last 3 years, and it has significantly improved my awareness and ability to introspect.
If you are interested in vipassana meditation, then book 10 days Vipassana meditation retreat near your location. (Visit here: dhamma.org)
2) Zen meditation:
In this, sit in a comfortable posture and observe your mind. Objectively observe how thoughts are rising and falling in your mind and when your mind is empty, meditate on that nothingness.
It may look simple, but It requires much-focused attention and practice.
However, regular practice of this meditation is very fruitful and will indeed cultivate Mindfulness and the ability to introspect.
3) Tratak Meditation:
It is also called a candle flame meditation or, in general, object-focused meditation.
Here, the meditator light a candle and place it at a 2-foot distance at eye level, and gazes the flame of a candle as long as he or she can.
(Image credit: live and dare.com)
These meditation techniques will help you understand your mind’s mechanics and develop an awareness of your thoughts, beliefs, habits, and compulsions.
Thus, with the developed awareness, your ability to introspect will increase.
Introspection is the ability to draw the awareness inwards towards your mind, body, emotions, and energies.
While Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of all areas in life, including what we are doing, what is happening with us, and what is happening around us.
So, introspection is intrinsic Mindfulness, and in general, you can consider introspection as a part of Mindfulness.
Mindfulness or introspection makes you familiar with your strengths and weaknesses, so later, you can review and purposefully redefine them.
There are some techniques as described earlier that cultivate and develop Mindfulness in you.
However, these practices take time and consistent efforts, so keep practicing and never give up.
I hope by reading this article, you are satisfied and cleared with your doubts regarding the difference between Mindfulness and introspection, their definitions, their benefits, and how to practice introspection.
Now, if you have any questions or ideas to share, then let me know in the comment section.
If not, then see you, My Mindful Friend.