As a weekly or twice-weekly practice, take some time to reflect on how you have been practicing in your daily life: What conditions support mindfulness? What conditions or situations make mindfulness difficult? What did you notice when you were mindful? How might a Dharma perspective support you at times when practice is more difficult? Does this inquiry prompt some questions that you might be interested in exploring further in your daily life?
The reflection itself is a practice. Essentially it is a form of “self reporting”, taking the time to describe your practice to yourself as you might describe it to a teacher. This kind of reflection is usually most helpful when we incline our contemplation towards our inner experience, rather than the content of our experience. It can sometimes be helpful to frame a report with a brief outline of the content, but keep most of the description of your experience around how you felt, and worked with the experience. Generally it is not necessary to bring in details about the content of the experience, about what people said or did.
For example, a reflection might look something like this:
During the week, I found myself in a situation in which I spoke unskillfully. I was not mindful at the time. Recalling the situation later, and being mindful during the recollection, I noticed a feeling of embarrassment. As I stayed with the feeling of embarrassment, I noticed a feeling of defensiveness, and I realized that defensiveness is something that I experience quite a bit with this particular person. That sparked some interest! A couple of questions came up for further exploration:
How might I be able to stay connected with mindfulness when defensiveness arises?
Does a defensive feeling incline me to speak unskillfully, either with this person, or in general?
Reflective practice can provide support for our daily life practice. Though this kind of reflection, we begin to find our own questions that encourage investigation and interest in our experience. In a sense, this practice helps us to become our own teacher.
I would suggest that you take some time to write down a few notes about your reflections. It doesn’t need to be detailed, or extensive journaling, just enough to jog your memory about your reflection.