Inquiring Deeply and Self-Reflection: Conclusions

We come full circle now, back to the opening questions about self-reflective awareness and its role in mindfulness-informed psychotherapy. The fundamental point elaborated in this chapter is that the capacity for self-reflection is the bedrock on which self-function is built. (The truth that “you are not the self that you take yourself to be” is a wonderful topic for contemplation.)

Through the ongoing process of self-reflection, awareness gradually permeates the entire spectrum of experience, from the embodied level through the psychological and relational, and metapsychological layers of the mind. Metapsychological self-awareness, informed by Buddhist meditation, can be defined most simply as awareness of how one relates to self-function and to the mind itself (cf. Chapter 9). In this complex interplay between self-awareness and narrative dialogue, a transcendent position in self-function is gradually consolidated, and self becomes more transparent. There is power in making this an explicit goal in psychotherapy.

Through the practice of self-reflection, we see more and more deeply into the body/heart/mind and the nature of self. Upon this foundation, the transcendent position is built. It has been said that mindfulness is the state of mind in which you realize that you are not your state of mind. By this definition, and in this way, inquiring deeply progresses seamlessly into dharma practice.

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