WoW 102: On reflection springs, Meaningful Action, part 9 [Words of Wisdom]

Words of Wisdom, Email Newsletter

Plant seeds of wisdom today

Take the next 50 or so breaths and reflect deeply on your life. I hope these words help you grow in you the most valuable treasure in life: wisdom. Wisdom grows imperceptibly but flourishes like a mighty oak, standing the test of time

WoW 102: On reflection springs, meaningful action, part 9


This episode is part 9 in a series I'm calling Meaningful Action.

Part 1: On practicing awareness in the journey towards goodness

Part 2: On who are you becoming?

Part 3: On wise heroes

Part 4: On the value of virtue

Part 5: On small practices

Part 6: On changing course

Part 7: On the false self

Part 8: On the depth of desire

Listen instead of reading

If you prefer listening, you can subscribe to the audio version on Spotify,
Apple Podcasts, or Google, or your favorite podcast player.

Feel free to leave me a positive review if you like what you hear!

Listen to every Words of Wisdom ever recorded.


In the first part of this series we explored, at a high level, the process of turning away from selfishness and towards goodness, and I identified how ​growing in awareness​ is a critical part of that process. Let's dig a bit deeper today.

There are different ways of growing in awareness.

One way to grow in deep awareness is by decreasing that which keeps you stuck in the shallows.

Let's call these Sink Holes.

Sink Holes are deceptive experiences that lead you astray from the path towards depth and goodness.

Sink Holes are things such as fear of what others will think, objectifying others, using others, distracting yourself from feeling or from facing the pain of reality, comparing yourself to others out of jealousy, or living behind the mask of the ​false self​.

Sink Holes are what social media and the news specialize in: keeping you treading in the shallows of content and sensationalism only created within the last 24 hours.

Content created within the last 24 hours is primarily shallow. It's like someone shouting for your attention. There is noise, but ​little signal​. The shallowness of Sink Holes means they lack substance to help you become better.

Sink Holes focus on other people's opinions, gossip and sensationalism, the intensity of emotion, short-lived humor, and meaningless drivel.

While shallow, digital Sink Holes are bottomless pits of never ending scrolling that is a soul-sucking distraction from meaningful living.

A life built on hours each day of doom scrolling through Sink Holes will inevitably struggle with shallowness. They create feedback loops of envy, anxiety, emptiness, and a loss of concentration.

You can deepen your awareness of yourself, God, and others through a handful of specific ​small practices​.

Let's call them Reflection Springs.

Reflection Springs are things such as meditation, contemplative prayer, daily journaling, writing or creating something intentional over a long period of time, conversations such as therapy or 12 step meetings where someone is deeply listening to your most vulnerable thoughts, reading Scripture, spending time in quiet solitude, prioritizing your marriage, forgiving your enemies.

Sink Holes have seemingly endless mud of distraction flowing from them.

Reflection Springs have seemingly endless water of awareness flowing from them.

Sink Holes lead to anxiety and speeding up.

Reflection Springs require slowing down.

Sink Holes cry out with noise and lead to distraction.

Reflection Springs invite quiet reflection and lead to insight.

Initially Sink Holes are enticing to wallow in and hard to look away from.

Initially Reflection Springs are difficult to begin but grow into the most profound fortitude.

Sink Holes are everywhere, and many fall into them.

Reflection Springs are hidden, and few find them.

Sink Holes grow shallow desire.

Reflection Springs grow deep desire.

If you want a life full of meaningful action, if you want to grow in deep self awareness, vigilantly guard yourself against falling into Sink Holes and feed your soul with Reflection Springs.


“Goodness draws all things to Itself and is the great Attractive Power which unites things that are sundered—unto the Good all things are turned—and after the Good all things do yearn.” This Good, which is also the All-beautiful, is the Goal of all things, and their Beloved, for all things do and must desire the Beautiful and the Good.”

Margaret Smith quoting ​Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite​, ​The Way of the Mystics​

“Desire doesn’t spread like information; it spreads like energy. It passes from person to person like the energy between people at a concert or political rally. This energy can lead to a cycle of positive desire, in which healthy desires gain momentum and lead to other healthy desires, uniting people in positive ways; or it can become a cycle of negative desire, in which mimetic rivalries lead to conflict and discord.”

Luke Burgis, ​Wanting​


What do you most deeply desire?

To what degree does the focus of your desire rest on the future of acquiring things, achieving accomplishments, or recognition from others?

How deeply do you desire good for those who have hurt you?

(Use these questions as a journal prompt and prayers this week)


Seek to deepen your desire every day. The quality of your life depends on it.

Live wisely,


Did someone send this to you? Do you want to cultivate more of the good, true, courageous, and beautiful in your life?

​Join the growing community​ and subscribe to receive my Words of Wisdom every Wednesday.

Continue reading

A woman thoughtfully holds a glowing orb.
Our newsletter

Do you hear the call of wisdom?

How you respond to the call of wisdom determines the direction of your life.

Get the Words of Wisdom email every Wednesday: brief reflections on wisdom to help you grow in the skills of virtuous living.