The Thursday afternoon session was about being reflective. This is not a new concept for me - having a background in Buddhist and Shiatsu practice, I am used to this aspect of life and work, but what I found interesting was the whole idea of pushing forward knowledge. I have always been keen to cover new ground and make new connections, but it has never been explicit in my thinking and work.
I was particularly interested in the difference between reflection in action and deflection on action. The first is all about being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it, thus having the ability to change your behaviour. As Tom said himself, it is being mindful – again a term used frequently in Buddhism and something that requires regular practice as so much of our daily life happens out of awareness. The example of a golfer adjusting their grip gives a lovely clean, clear example of reflection in action, but in modern, busy lives, it often doesn’t feel this way – when doing umpteen things at the same time or rushing from task to task, how can we be fully aware of just what we are doing?
Reflection on action – reflection after the event – has its own challenges including complete honesty, which is where seeking feedback and keeping an open mind is so important. Having the ability to change our habits and accept when we might be wrong. Buddhism uses the phrase ‘beginner’s mind’ to suggest a way of approaching something without any preconceived ideas or judgements - as Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi said "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Hmm, very wise…