I went to a meditation group Sunday night, led by a man who studies in a Buddhist tradition and offers this weekly guided meditation at a local yoga studio. It was my first time to attend and I do believe I’ll go back every Sunday, when I can. The meditation was on mindfulness – which is essentially the practice of being aware (of thoughts, sensations, emotions, sounds, etc.) without trying to control, change or do anything. While I’ve practiced mindfulness meditations periodically over the past couple of decades, revisiting it brought up a few things I found useful.
For me, meditation has great merit just in the sense of calm it brings and enhanced awareness. In meditation and stillness, I can know deep wisdom and sense a higher truth. It also stimulates contemplation or deep thought, which I greatly appreciate. With contemplation I can begin to reconcile the gaps between what I think is real and what IS real. Here are some tips for a mindful contemplation of your own.
#1. Be Aware of Labels. This is a more complex concept than it may first appear. After all, some labels can be quite necessary to our very survival (i.e. big bear approaching the car, bear can eat me, roll up the f*%#ing window now!). But we have been conditioned over time to label absolutely everything and mostly those labels are opinions, judgments, and basically boil down to ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The meditation teacher suggested simply noticing when we are labeling. The noticing leads to greater awareness of how labels impact our thoughts, choices, and emotions.
#2. Let Thoughts Pass by Like Clouds. Have you ever considered “your” thoughts might not be yours? They aren’t things that you can own and may not even be within our control. While we can’t actually own a thought (and proving that you have a purely original, unique thought would be impossible), we most definitely can attach to our thoughts. And we can label our thoughts. And we can chase our thoughts. With mindfulness, we observe thoughts come up but instead of all the drama around them or getting completely lost in thought, we look at them, perhaps ask some questions about the nature of their existence, but then allow them to simply pass by.
#3. Gentle Observation. Mindful contemplation and meditation are always most effective when you stay in that space of the Gentle Observer. Be as infinitely patient and loving with yourself as you would be with any person or creature that naturally triggers that degree of kindness in you. If you observe your inner dialog becoming judgmental, harsh, impatient, or argumentative, something else (most call this ego) has entered the scene. Your True Self has the ability to shift attention away from the voice that you know intuitively takes you off the path you wish to venture down. The distracting voice will fade and the Gentle Observer can once again continue down the contemplative path.
One final thought on this topic I’d like to mention is something I’ve read a lot about. That is the Law of Attraction. Everything is energy and everything vibrates at a particular frequency. The bottom line with this law is that those things that resonate at a similar frequency are attracted to each other. So, if you want to attract more experiences into your life that align to an aware, reflective, calm, gentle state of existence, then spending time in mindful contemplation should help to attune your vibrations in that direction.
Use this information for your own deep, mindful contemplation and perhaps you will have an interesting revelation or two!