How does one contemplate? What does it mean to contemplate? Does contemplation feel like anything? Is there a difference between contemplation and just thinking?
I lift my mind and heart to the Truth of Being, to all that Is, to All I Am. I accept my Self in Truth and offer my Self to All in gratitude for Its Being.
If visualization is intentional imagination, and if prayer is direct communication (with dieties, buddhas or boddhisattvas, angels, saints, etc), then, I would say that the way I use contemplation here is intentional, direct communication and imagination, with myself, with the addition of seeking understanding beyond the words.
This is what it looks like for me with today’s Guiding Thought:
I lift my mind and heart to the Truth of Being: I imagine lifting my mind and heart to the Truth of Being. I do not need to know what the Truth of Being is, nor to understand it. I simply use a symbol (a focused, bright white light that encompasses all) to represent what I neither know nor understand. I “send” my mind and heart to this light in my imagination.
At the same time, I ask my mind to wonder, “what is Truth?”, “what is Being?”. I do not need to have the answer, I do not need to know, I simply ask the questions, and allow my mind to wonder about the answer. I keep my mind focused on the words, on asking the questions.
Sometimes, a thought can feel like it’s telling me something important…
to all that Is, to All I Am: “Somehow”, my mind thinks, “all that Is is related to Truth of Being. Is the Truth of Being also All that Is?” I do not make a decision about the answer to this question, I simply continue contemplating. “Somehow”, my mind then thinks, “all that Is, is related to All I Am. Am I all that Is”? Again, I make no decisions about the answer–if I make a decision, then I will not be open to alternative answers, or “add-ons” to an answer. Decisions cut off other possibilities, so I leave myself open.
With those thoughts, I let myself imagine what if. What if the Truth of Being is All that Is? What if All I Am is the Truth of Being? If the Truth of Being is All that Is, and If All I Am is the Truth of Being, then I Am All that Is.
By now, my mind feels a bit confused. WHAT? I don’t know if this is right…I don’t know if there is more…I don’t know how or what I understand about this, but my mind and heart have lead me to these thoughts, to these imaginings, so I go with it. And I let my mind stay confused, because there is part of my mind that is shifting (I can feel it); there is part of my mind trying to figure it out, and (if I were to use neuro-science language), it’s building new neural-networks.
I accept my Self in Truth: My mind thinks, “I accept myself only in Truth. The self I accept is the Self of Truth. I reject, the self that is not True.” “That sounds harsh”. “Well, maybe, but what if that is correct use of denial”? Here I catch myself, and draw myself back to the Guiding thought, and simply be aware of the thoughts my mind thinks. I do not need to think about the thoughts that come up regarding the Guiding Thought. I stay focused on the Guiding Thought.
and offer my Self to All: The only Self that I want to offer to All is my Self of Truth. Now, it begins to feel like the only self I want to accept is my Self of Truth.
But, if this were the case, that would mean rejecting the self that is not True…but again, I can’t make a decision about this, I cannot decide I know, or think that I have found an answer, because if the Truth of Being is All that IS, and I am All that Is, then I can reject nothing, because it is me. There’s more to it than I can see…
At the same time, my imagination is “seeing” me offer my Self to All. The way this looks to me today is symbolically holding my mind and heart in my hands, lifting them up, into the atmosphere, where they disperse around the earth, to All.
in gratitude for Its Being: “Am I giving gratitude for my Self, or for All? What is the Its in this phrase”? By now, I’ve gone through the Guiding Thought a dozen times, slowly allowing these thoughts and imaginings to evolve. By now, I feel like “my Self” and “All” are the same thing, so my question does not even make sense. I offer my Self to my Self, I offer my Self to the Truth of Being, I offer my Self to All that IS.
To what am I giving? My Self–the Truth of Being–All that IS.
For what am I grateful? My Self–the Truth of Being–All that IS.
What receives my gift? My Self–the Truth of Being–All that IS.
What receives my gratitude? My Self–the Truth of Being–All that IS.
All that is given is received. Anything given is received by All. Anything given returns from All. Imagine that.