How To Reflect Like A Monk

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Here are 10 reminders shared by a monk for people to use in their daily reflection for the development of the mind to find peace.

What are monks

Monks are known for their simple lifestyle, having abandoned their possessions and joined a monastic community. Their main purpose is to train the mind and take care of other people’s spiritual needs.

The lives of monks in the monastery are governed by rules or precepts, and one of the rules is to practice daily reflection.

Additionally, the monks contemplate each evening using the “10 Daily Reminders,” as shared by Nick Keomahavong in his YouTube channel. The list of reminders ensures that the monks continue to improve their practice.

These reminders are also pondered upon by the monks in their reflection as part of their training. Incidentally, this outline is shared for use as a reference for people who are interested to include reflection in their evening routine.

Benefits of evening reflection

But before we get to the monks’ reflection framework, let us first discuss the benefits of an evening reflection.

Keeps you calm

An evening reflection allows you to calm and center yourself in the present moment. When you are calm and centered, you can focus on the things you need to do and complete them sooner.

Calmness also impacts creativity. Creative ideas will occur more naturally when you are calm rather than when stressed or actively forced to think.

Provides self-awareness

Regular reflection allows you to know yourself better each day. When you are self-aware, you are conscious of your thoughts and therefore more able to make necessary changes for improvement. These changes are either in your emotions, reactions, or character.

Empowers you

A deep reflection at the end of the day helps with self-awareness, and by extension, empowerment. And empowerment gives you full control of your life and your actions.

Increases your productivity

Lastly, an evening reflection allows the brain to process and file the experiences and learnings of the day. This sorting and cementing of information is a powerful way to improve your performance or productivity the following day.

So now that we know the benefits of an evening reflection, let us now go to the list of reminders to contemplate upon.

10 Daily Reminders

This list is not inclusive, apply what is suitable with your daily situation.

How were your thoughts, speech, and action?

Our thoughts manifest in our speech and actions. And our actions have consequences and effects. Therefore, it is important that we should ensure to know what we are doing.

So for your evening reflection, think of your thoughts during the day. Were they negative, hostile, or hurtful? Or, were your thoughts more on the positive? It is necessary to pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day because they manifest in your actions.

The second thing to reflect on is your speech. How was your interaction with other people during the day? What tone did you use? What were the words you used and your intention? Were you able to communicate properly?

And the third thing to reflect upon is your actions or behavior for the day. Did you help your colleagues at work? Did you engage with your family or friends? Were you supportive of your kids?

This reminder to think of our day through these things will allow you to see if you spent your day positively.

Be grateful and mindful of resources

The resources that you have available were gained through your hard work. So it is important that you reflect on how you used these resources during the day.

You should be grateful for the food that sustains your body. The clothes and other materials that you have available for use. Do not be wasteful, rather, be mindful of these resources, use them wisely and take good care of them.

How to improve behavior

As part of reflection, it is also important to think of ways to improve your behavior or your actions. What bad habits to give up and what good habits to develop?

This self-reflection will help you to learn more about yourself. Look at yourself, your situation, and your habits objectively. By doing this, you will then know what to do to improve your character.

With self-reflection, you will learn to identify the aspects of yourself that you need to develop further. And with constant practice, you will continue to know yourself better. You will increase your mindfulness and awareness.

With this consciousness, you start to make new choices and actions as you continue to improve and develop yourself.

How well did you observe the precepts?

Monks have established precepts or rules to insulate them, train them and keep them on track to cultivating and developing the mind. Their reflection on these precepts include questions such as:

  • Have they followed the precepts?
  • Did they compromise any of the precepts?
  • Were the precepts understood?

The monks’ purpose of reflection on the precepts is to enable them to continue and keep working at these rules.

For laypeople, the suggestion is to keep and reflect on at least 5 of the Buddhist precepts. These precepts are the following:

  • No killing
  • No stealing
  • Avoid false speech
  • Do not engage in sexual misconduct, and
  • No intoxicants

Observing these rules or precepts and reflecting on them will keep you accountable for your actions. It will also insulate you from the outside noise or distraction. If nothing else, these rules will limit your worries.

What would the Buddha say about your conduct and observance of precepts?

Additionally, use Buddha or someone you believe in as a guide or model of your actions as you reflect. Think of what Buddha or Jesus, whichever is applicable, will do.

Accordingly, having a model or a mentor will serve as an ideal for you to strive for. It will also serve as a measurement of character or behavior for improvement or development.

Remind yourself that you are bound to be parted from all

Another prompt for reflection is to remind yourself that everything will have an end. People die, relationships end, and material possessions are lost or stolen.

This reflection is not about being morbid or negative. On the contrary, this reflection is to keep you grounded. To remind yourself of the things you actually need.

For the most part, this reflection will change your view on your relationships and your possessions. It will change and realign your values including how you function in your daily life.

Remind ourselves about the law of karma

Similar to the golden rule, our actions will definitely come back to us. Thus, it is an essential part of reflection.

Even if nobody has seen your actions for the day, know that there will be repercussions. Reflecting that there are consequences or simply karma will make you more conscious of your actions.

The importance of contemplating this is to have a deeper understanding of the concept and apply it in your life. So you will know the proper course of action and use it as a guide moving forward.

Time is passing

One other thought for reflection is to consider that time is always flowing and limited. We also do not know what will happen in the future and that anything can happen.

Therefore, a good idea to reflect on what you’ve done during the day to improve yourself, your habits, or your actions. Keep in mind that when it comes to improving yourself or doing good things, time is not guaranteed.

So you have to act now. Do the best you can with the resources that you have. Do not postpone for tomorrow because it may not come.

Have peace and quiet and also time for meditation

In addition to all the reminders already mentioned, reflect also on whether you’ve had time for peace and quiet. It is imperative to schedule time for meditation, even if only for a few minutes.

Incorporating some time for meditation will clear the mind. It will purify all the “dirt” from your day. Whether the dirt is in the form of worry, fear, anger, or other negative emotions, meditation will help cleanse you.

The peace and quiet you get from meditation will rest your mind and provide clarity. You will see yourself, others, and situations clearly which will enable you to take proper action.

How well did you meditate?

A monk’s work is to train the mind. It is their main focus. That is, to see people and situations for what it is. They need to see the reality of things so that they will know how to proceed.

And the tool for seeing things clearly is the mind. Through meditation. Thus, it is part of their daily reflection.

For laypeople, it is also a good idea to think about how well you meditate. Your reflection should allow you to:

  • keep track of how you meditate
  • analyze how you meditate
  • improve your meditation

One tool you can use for your reflection is a journal. Through journaling, you will know what does and doesn’t work in your meditation. Furthermore, journaling enables you to reflect on the techniques to use when obstacles arise.

Aside from these, you can also journal your state before, during, and after your meditation. Reflect on what was your mindset in meditating.

In conclusion

These 10 reminders or guides for evening reflection help our minds to become at peace. The purpose of this daily reflection is for us to improve and shift how we conduct ourselves in our daily activities.

So I hope you will make it a habit to use some of these reminders. It is certainly a great way to develop, improve, have peace, compassion, and kindness similar to what the monks have.

Please share this post on your page or social network if you liked it. Your blog subscription is also greatly appreciated!

Outside links:

10 Daily Reminders For a Better Life | A Monk’s Approach

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest