How to Listen to Your Thoughts: A Mindful Guide to Self-Reflection

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Owen, a popular philosopher and speaker, has a simple yet profound message for the young minds of our era: “To swim, one must get into the waters.” This is how he introduces his talk on the skill of self-reflection, a practice that he believes is essential for navigating the complexities of life—or as he eloquently puts it, “hii story ya life.”

He invites us to envision a stethoscope, a device that allows us to listen to the heartbeat of our body, as a symbol for self-reflection, a practice that enables us to listen to the heartbeat of our mind. He urges us to use this tool to listen intently to our internal dialogues, distinguishing between the constructive rhythms of positive thinking and the chaotic cacophony of negative self-talk.

But how do we know which thoughts are worth keeping and which ones are not? Owen suggests that we cultivate mindfulness, a state of being that goes beyond the surface level of our identity. He highlights the importance of positive thinking, defining it as the ability to focus on the beneficial aspects of our situations, thus enabling us to cope with life’s challenges with optimism rather than pessimism.

To step onto the path of true self-improvement, Owen encourages us to examine our personality, the sum of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. He warns us that “factors such as fear, frustration stored as tactual memory, over ambitions, expectations, and environmentally caused biases are mind killers.” These elements, he says, can “cripple your mind by infesting your mind and intern it makes it a thought battlefield.” In this tumultuous arena, the thoughts that we give precedence to inevitably sculpt our persona. Thus, the act of self-questioning, “Am I the better version of myself?” becomes a critical step in our journey towards self-improvement.

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