Life, as we humans know it, is multifaceted and defined based on perspective. That is why it is important to see what life is like for each person. Not the kind of life that we have from day to day, but what life is in a holistic sense. Is life a series of illusions created by our senses?
Is life just a mask for our soul? Is life a soul within the vessel of a body? I will try to answer these questions to pinpoint what I believe life is. There are several layers to life. Ultimately, we are only pure consciousness. Beyond thought, emotions, and bodily sensations, we are simply consciousness. I know this because when I have gotten into deep meditations, I reach that pure consciousness. I believe that everyone, in his or her essence, is this non-reactionary, non-identified self.
This is our most basic layer of self, even though we cannot seem to reach it easily as adults. However, infants seem to be in this state automatically. But perhaps they do not have an awareness that they are in this state. I believe the key to having a fulfilling life is to reach this state and to keep returning to it as often as possible. After pure consciousness, we have our bodily sensations and perception. It is not the other way around. Most people see their bodies and think that they are their bodies, or that it is their life.
Bodies perish, and the pure consciousness stands the test of time. It is a universal thing, within each being. After our bodily sensations and perception, we have our thoughts. Thoughts are nothing more than reactions to stimuli and a way for beings to calculate. We give a lot of importance to our thoughts, but in fact, they are mostly random and uncontrolled.
Controlled thought involves calculation, and sometimes we give conscious choice to what we are going to think about. But by and large, our thoughts are like ripples in our mind with a foundation of pure consciousness. Strangely, we consider our thoughts as who we are, or at least a large part of our identity.
Our thoughts are not unique, in fact. Similar thoughts or the same thoughts are bubbling in the minds of those present and those past. The only form of unique thought is inspiration, where an idea comes spontaneously, as if from a divine place.
But even inspiration does not comprise who we are and life itself. Beyond our thoughts are our emotions. Emotions, like thoughts, are reactions most of the time to circumstances. They should included a vivid summary and description of the experience so that the reader feels they have also experienced it. They should also include an explanation of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
The above subjects might have already sparked an idea of what you would like to write about. If not, below are some topic, or prompt, ideas for a reflective essay. The organization of a reflective essay is very similar to other types of essays. An outline of a great reflective essay is laid out for your use below. Writing a reflective essay, also known as a reflective paper or reflection paper, is a easy as following the step-by-step instructions below.
If you haven't been assigned a topic and don't have a topic in mind, check the list of topics above for inspiration. If those aren't enough, take a look at these reflection topic ideas. The first step of writing a great reflective essay is choosing a topic, so choose wisely! Depending on your topic, you may need to close your eyes and remember, read, watch, listen, or imagine.
Spend a few minutes vividly thinking or re-experiencing your subject. I thought about many other beach walks I've taken, and filled my mind with memories of other beach trips. Write down everything you can think about your subject. You want to describe this subject as vividly as you can, so think about smells, tastes, noises, and tastes along with what you see. Try to write down vivid adjectives that describe these sensory experiences. Look up sense-describing words for help.
You can write these down in sentences or in phrases. Just get as much down as you can. Later, you will turn this into a paragraph. The waves beat over and over on the beach. Each wave is the same and yet every wave is unique.
I saw the sun covered by a cloud which reflected the light so that rays spread out in all directions. The salt smell of the spray felt fresh and clean. The cool foam of the edge of the wave covered my feet as they sank down in the sand. I walked along swinging my sandals in one hand. I took pictures of the sand, the gulls, the waves, then embarrassed, I took a selfie of myself against the ocean waves.
Read through the list of reflection questions below and select at least three you want to answer. What did I notice? What does this event mean to me? How did this place shape my life? Read your questions, then answer them. This doesn't have to be in formal essay form or in perfect sentences. You just want to get as many ideas down as possible. Before you can begin writing your essay, you need to decide what is the most important thing you learned from this experience.
That "most important thing" will be the thesis of your paper. If you'd like to see the final essay I've written using the pre-writing exercises I've done for this essay, take a look at my Reflective Essay Sample on a Visit to the Beach.
The following is an excerpt of my sample reflective essay. To read the essay in full, click on the link above. Even so, I sometimes forget to go there when I visit my mom. This week, I had come to take care of her during her cataract surgery. Along with helping her with appointments and remembering her eye drops, I'd been doing little chores around the house that are hard for her to do. We'd also taken a visit to see my cousin and visit the Rose garden where my grandmother's ashes are buried.
Moreover, we'd had a lot of good conversation, which was probably the most important part of my visit. The day before I was supposed to leave, I still hadn't visited the beach. That's when I remembered what my friend Rhonda had said to me the day I left, "Go to the beach for me when you are there!
Like me, Rhonda cares for her mother, but she does it every day, all year long. Her only break over the past few years since her father died was a one week trip her husband took her to the beach in California. So, thinking about Rhonda, I had decided I needed to take my own trip to the beach.
Teachers often assign these sorts of essays to get students to think about what they are learning, and to delve deeper into an experience. Aside from school assignments, reflective essays are used in the professional sphere to help workers learn. Here is how professionals and students use these sorts of essays. This type of essay asks you to summarize and then respond to a piece of literature in order to understand it better and relate it to your own life and experiences.
Teachers, doctors, and social workers often use this type of writing in their training. It helps employers and employees learn how to better do their jobs. Sometimes instructors will ask students to respond to a lecture or other school assignment so that they can show what they understand. Writing about what you are learning can also help you share and interact with other students, as well as the instructor.
This kind of writing can help you learn how to understand and analyze your own life experiences. It can also help you grow emotionally as you learn to understand yourself better. Are there things that one should not write in a reflective essay? Should I put a title on my essay? Explaining the meaning of the event or memory is the best way to end your reflection essay.
An excellent way to convey your thoughts is to tell what you are thinking or feeling directly. You can use these sentence starters:. Is there something this lecture made you think of? Perhaps a personal experience, something in the news or something in the media?
Is there anything you would do or think differently because of the information you learned? Most of the time, a reflective essay doesn't have references because it is based on your own observations and experiences. However, if you are going to refer to some research or an article, you should include that by using the name of the person and the title of the article, or by using whatever reference style your instructor has required MLA, APA or Chicago.
I tell my students to use this simple format:. You can do this kind of personal writing about any experience that you can have.
Here are some questions to direct your reflections about military service:. When doing a reflective essay, it can be a good idea to choose a topic to emphasize the meaning of your thinking about memory. Especially if the memory is something that lots of your readers may have also experienced, it can be helpful to focus on an experience like "stress" and an audience "our generation" to explain what you are talking about.
To write an excellent essay, it is important to make sure that you vividly describe the situation you experienced with lots of details and sense images about stress. While you can point out that your own experience mirrors the experience of others, be careful also to make your reflections personal.
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. This reflection is so helpful to to me.
I have learnt a lot from your example to write my papers. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. At least I will be a bit confident to start on my reflection paper paper now. This was so helpful. This is a great tool for writers to begin with.
This reflective essay was very useful for me and by the way I am from India and I am studying in class 6. Thank you for this! I was assigned to write a reflective essay about a conference I attended. I had never written a reflective essay before, and your prompts really helped me set a direction for my paper.
Hi Rao, all of my work is copyrighted and you cannot post this on another website or print it off. However, you are welcome to give your students a link to my page, which they can read and access for free.
I provide all of my work for free to users. Advertisements on my page pay me for my time to write new materials so that I can let people look at them for free rather than having them purchase them in a book. I am introducing this "reflective writing in our pharmacy school. I would like to your guidelines.
Do you have copyright stuff? Please let me know. Hi Virginia am glad your samples have been a pivotal to my essay writing. Thank you so much. I am a writer and this is the first day I read your sharing and I am so glad for that, thank you dear Puthy Ken, I used to teach students from Cambodia and I know that you work very hard. I'm glad you are continuing your studies and I wish you the best!
Thanks for your sharing. It helps me much to do my assignment of MA course in Cambodia. I am one of graduated students here are really need more documents in this our developing country. I'm so glad that my essay helped you. Keep up with your writing. The most important thing is to practice doing some writing every day!
Virginia, my name is Amanda and I am 15 years old. Thank you so much for these advantageous information, and your sample essay?! It was really amazing!!!
Hi Ginny--I'm so glad to hear of your teaching to seniors, and especially the fact that you are teaching them reflective writing. I've also called it personal or memory writing when I've taught it in the past. I think for seniors this sort of writing is so valuable because it allows them to gather memories and reflect on the meaning of events in their lives.
What a legacy for them to leave for the younger members of their family. My mom just passed away this week and she was not a writer, but my cousin and I got together with her a couple of months ago and they talked together while I wrote down what they said.
That sort of memory writing is a wonderful legacy for grandchildren. Please remind your seniors that even though children and grandchildren may not be interested in hearing about memories, there will be a time in their lives when they need that strength and the lessons from the family past.
I have taught writing in elementary school for at least 18 years and now that I am retired I have been asked to teach a group of seniors about writing. The reflective writing is one I have done but never called it that. Thanks for all the clear cut ideas to help me be successful teaching it to this new group. I feel sure they will have so much to say! Thanks for taking the time to let me know that my work is helping homeschoolers.
I have many friends who homeschool and they are often concerned about teaching writing correctly. That is one of the reasons I've posted my personal instructions for my own college students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am a home school mum and this will really help my son with writing a reflective essay. Thank you so very much! Deliberately well explanation of the term "Reflective Essay" with many good points to be induced in the writing, like feelings, observations etc.
I will try to write a reflective essay and for sure, try my best to adopt your instructions. I love teaching Reflective Essays because it helps my students to understand that writing can be personally meaningful.
Many of my students are at turning points in their lives and thinking about lots of important decisions. I teach them that writing down their thoughts and feelings often helps them to clarify what they are thinking. Virginia, congrats on HOTD! I never heard of reflective essays before. This is so interesting and useful for those to explore your own emotions in expressive writing on your ideas, hopes and dreams.
Awesome hub dealing with the many salient features, uses and importance of reflective essays in day-to-day life of so many fields of people. It is very useful and informative.
Thanks for sharing this valuable information and congrats on the HOTD award. This is very useful and valuable to teachers and students. I only wish I had this guide when I was in high school. Some great advice here for writing a reflective essay. This will really help my daughter with her essay writing skills. Voted up and useful. Grand Old Lady-you are so write that teaching can be very tough in the trenches. A lot of it depends on the students you are teaching and the attitude of the administration.
I am very fortunate to teach at a wonderful Christian University with many inspiring students. You gave some very helpful tips and prompts on reflective writing. I also loved the video. It reminded me of my own teaching days and helped me to re-connect with the idea that teaching is a noble profession. It's oh, so true but when you get into the daily battle of it, it can be so easily be forgotten. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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The Life of Pi Reflection Essay - The Life of Pi by Yann Martel was a fascinating and exciting narrative that described the journey of a young boys life starting with the formation of his beliefs moving all the way through an adventure that changed his life .
May 19, · Awesome hub dealing with the many salient features, uses and importance of reflective essays in day-to-day life of so many fields of people. It is very useful and informative. Thanks for sharing this valuable information and Reviews:
Do you remember your world when you were a small child? Can you picture a single day as a 3rd Grader? Better yet, can you picture one as a kindergartener? Do you remember your old views and dreams? I do. I remember my past so very vividly: the games, the friends, the hopes, the ignorant bliss. I. As a child, you look upon life with eagerness and a feeling that you can take the world on. You feel that nothing is impossible, the world as at your fingertips. "The sky is the limit!" my elders would tell me. "Follow your dreams and passions and don't let anyone stop you." and "You can be /5(8).
Reflective Essay Life. reflection in the mirror. The same can be said about the reflective compositions. A reflective composition is the result of introspection into past experiences or memorable events in our lives. We introspect into these memorable events and reflect over them with regards the emotions and influences they have left in our lives. A reflective essay is a written piece of literature that focuses on presenting and narrating a person’s experience and how it becomes an instrument towards a change of perception in life. It is a way for a writer to share an important event in his/her life and how it affected him/her so that others may learn something from it.