Sponde!‎ > ‎Gnosis‎ > ‎Personal Cultivation‎ > ‎

Contemplation: It's more than you Think

One very helpful technique for those who wish to pursue spiritual life is to spend a few minutes once or twice each day in contemplation, practicing as consistently as possible. This can be as simple as resting the awareness gently on an appropriate point of focus. What constitutes "appropriate" may vary somewhat based on circumstance, but whatever is chosen should remain where you can focus on it without having to relocate yourself during the time of contemplation.

Try to establish a sense of poise and dignity. Avoid condemning yourself for becoming distracted or restless. Gently return your awareness to the chosen point of focus when you note that your mind has wandered. Practice forgiveness on yourself in this time, and you may discover that you develop the habit of grace and compassion when dealing with others even when not in meditation. This is good practice for life.

Some sample points of contemplation:

  • A tarot card
  • Breathing
  • Sacred geometry
  • Stars above
  • Passing clouds
  • Wind in trees
  • Flow of thoughts through the mind
  • Body sensations
  • Sacred image
  • Candle flame
  • Dripping water
  • Boiling water
  • Waves
  • Lava lamp
  • Sleeping person or animal

This list could go on endlessly, really. In fact, consistent practice will develop in you the ability to adopt a contemplative state of attentiveness to an increasing range of objects in your environment. You can cultivate the ability to pay more attention to traffic, work, relationships, and subtle patterns you might otherwise have overlooked.

And you may find that your relationship with stress changes. Stressors that can inspire you to behave in hyper-reactive ways when they catch you off-guard may prove less potent as you cultivate your awareness. In some situations, you will actually be able to short-circuit stressors just by seeing them coming at you well in advance of their arrival.

There are many ways of looking at it, and quite an assortment of collections of specialized terms to describe it, but the human psyche can be said to have different aspects. And contemplation provides means for a sentient being to relate with the aspects of the psyche in ways other than the all-too-common mode of running about stressed and separated from the full experience of the present moment. One reason it may be meaningfully stated that the present moment is sacred is because it is so immediate and yet so overlooked that it seems distant. It is longed-for and yet immanently available at all times. But we need to stop entangling our attention in phantoms of the past, and future, as well as our delusions about the present.

The psyche is truly marvelous, consisting of living patterns underlying our growth and development, subconscious maintenance of heartbeat, respiration, digestion, sleep cycles, and an intricate web of interrelations of organs, systems, and relationships. The psyche is where to look for the answer to the question: "Who and what is actually doing all this?" The psyche is order within chaos and chaos within order, encompassing subconscious, conscious, and the mysterious part just beyond, within, and underlying both.

Contemplation practice involves the development of the skill of hearing your own inner voice. Your own psyche is capable of tremendous amounts of inspiration, transformation, healing, and life. Your psyche acts on your behalf constantly, and the more intimately you learn to relate your consciousness with the rest of your psyche, the more your psyche will be able to act in ways that you actually desire and appreciate. Why leave your psyche guessing what you want? And why leave yourself guessing at what the rest of your mind needs you to know?

You are already a complete being, and entirely all you need to be for your part of the pattern of creation. Putting a little time into the practice of awareness of it can nudge your perspective progressively into fuller experience of your life on more levels than you might realize. And you may just discover inner resources brighter and more expansive than any you have sought from outside yourself.