Mental activity that concentrates on a particular content of consciousness, an instinct encompassing religion and the search for meaning.
Ordinarily we do not think of “reflection” as ever having been instinctive, but associate it with a conscious state of mind. Reflexio means “bending back” and, used psychologically, would denote the fact that the reflex which carries the stimulus over into its instinctive discharge is interfered with by psychization. . . . Thus in place of the compulsive act there appears a certain degree of freedom, and in place of predictability a relative unpredictability as to the effect of the impulse.[“Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour,” CW 8, par. 241.]
In Jung’s view, the richness of the human psyche and its essential character are determined by the reflective instinct.
Reflection is the cultural instinct par excellence, and its strength is shown in the power of culture to maintain itself in the face of untamed nature.[Ibid., par. 243.]
Self-reflection, or – what comes to the same thing – the urge to individuation, gathers together what is scattered and multifarious and exalts it to the original of the One, the Primordial Man.
In this way our existence as separate beings, our former ego nature, is abolished, the circle of consciousness is widened, and because the paradoxes have been made conscious, the sources of conflict are dried up. ~Carl Jung; Collected Works 11; Transformation Symbolism in the Mass; par. 401
To concern ourselves with dreams is a way of reflecting on ourselves-a way of self-reflection. It is not our ego-consciousness reflecting on itself; rather, it turns its attention to the objective actuality of the dream as a communication or message from the unconscious, unitary soul of humanity. It reflects not on the ego but on the self; it recollects that strange self, alien to the ego, which was ours from the beginning, the trunk from which the ego grew. It is alien to us because we have estranged ourselves from it through the aberrations of the conscious mind. ~”The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man” (1933). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. pg. 318
If we do not fashion for ourselves a picture of the world, we do not see ourselves either, who are the faithful reflections of that world. Only when mirrored in our picture of the world can we see ourselves in the round? Only in our creative acts do we step forth into the light and see ourselves whole and complete. Never shall we put any face on the world other than our own, and we have to do this precisely in order to find ourselves. For higher than science or art as an end in itself stands man, the creator of his instruments. ~”Analytical Psychology and Weltanschauung” (1928). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.737