The Reflective Mind – that ideal self, the authentic you, the you that is aware that you are making thoughtful decisions.
The Reactive Mind – the protector, instinct, quick decision making, reacts to the stimulus. It runs on a reward system and wants to feel better now.
When we operate from the reactive mode we tend to focus on the short-term. We’re desperate to avoid any pain and conflict – operating from fear, instinct, and stress.
This mode drives us to make choices that seem like a good idea right now… because we get pleasure and avoid pain. However, this leads to avoiding things that are not necessarily in our best interest. We will put off something that makes us anxious or indulge in something that seems to help us to calm down at that moment but not helpful in the long term.
It’s not long after making that short term decision that we start to judge our decision. We get down on our self.
When we meditate we learn to become more aware of that inner critic voice, the inner parent – that voice is always seems disappointed in you. Anything with an attitude of criticism tends to push us back to that reactive mode.
What we need is a “buddy”… we need to befriend ourselves… and that is why I think that one of the most important elements of mindfulness and meditation is cultivating self-compassion.
When mindfulness is practiced in a very reflective way, it significantly increases our self-compassion. It changes our relationship to our self – because we start to let go of the judgment and blame and start to see the situation with more clarity.
I hope this helps!