What is Contemplation and How Does It Differ From Meditation?
You can find a wide diversity of definitions of contemplation and as many opinions about the difference with meditation. In my experience, those distinctions are not necessarily crucial. I am mentioning them so that you can feel how contemplation techniques might be helpful to you.
Meditation is a technique to train the mind to rest in a particular focus (often the breath, the ever-changing flow of the mind/body process, sometimes a mantra, etc.) that leads to a connection to the source of consciousness itself.
Contemplation, by contrast, is a quality of presence to an object, a being (in nature in particular), an image, or even an idea. In actuality, some contemplative practices mentioned below are referred to as “being in a place well.” If most meditators keep their eyes close, the action of contemplating assumes that you open your eyes. There is a sense of awareness but it is “softer,” so to speak. The best way I have been able to describe contemplation for me is the combination of undoing (or stopping doing) and getting lost in the object of my contemplation, letting it carry me and “fill me in”.
The practices that I am suggesting here are very easy to introduce in your daily life.
The Circle Exercise: A Practice in Radical Beingness
A Contemplation Practice for When You Feel Stressed, Constrained in Your Life or Need Something to Shift
Come back to visit this section often as I will keep adding more resources.
Videos to Support Your Contemplative Practice and Inspire You
Watch this beautiful video and let it resonates with you:
“Who Am I… Really?”
A moment of grace and deep healing…
Another powerful video: The End of Suffering read by ThichNhatHanh
“May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos
Even in the darkest spots
Living beings are able to hear it clearly
So that all suffering in them cease
Understanding comes to their heart
And they transcend the path of sorrow and death.
The universal dharma door is already open
The sound of the rising tide is heard clearly
The miracle happens
A beautiful child appears in the heart of a lotus flower
One single drop of this compassionate water
Is enough to bring back the refreshing spring to our mountains and rivers.
Listening to the bell
I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve
My mind calm
My body relax
A smile is born on my lips
Following the sound of the bell
My breathe brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness
In the garden of my heart
The flowers of peace bloom beautifully.”