Undoubtedly, the last year has been a challenging one – for some more, for some less, but definitely for all of us in a certain way. And with all the challenges it threw on us and currently the new one continues, it is a good time for contemplation.
Contemplation needs time. It’s like meditation. If you never meditated before or don't practice it regularly you cannot expect any effect or enjoyment immediately. First, you struggle. You struggle, because it feels uncomfortable. Physically, maybe because you are not used to sit still for so long on the ground, maybe you feel tension in your back or neck etc. But mostly, as a beginner, you feel uncomfortable in your mind, because it is not calm where it is supposed to be calm. You may feel not “made” for meditation, inaptly to do so. Not because you are hopelessly restless or anxious. No, maybe you just have too many thoughts and ideas wandering around. You are inpatient, used to fix and receive everything instantly. Or maybe you are anxious indeed, not used to stand the stillness. Whatever it is, give it time.
Same with contemplation. For me, contemplation in the meaning of self-communion means a prolonged, ongoing passive meditation and reflexion, similar to a monk’s life in a monastery. Discipline and a self-caring lifestyle become key. Practice questions such as
- What do I really need?
- What does this or that make with me?
- What does serve me well? (especially in respect of food, habits but also with whom or what I want to spend time with)
- What is truly me?
A healthy nutrition, personal hygiene, body and mental rituals, enough sleep are also important. For days, for weeks, for months and with this, deceleration and stillness can arrive. It’s a practice to accept what is, to put you first without becoming selfish.
For those who keep ongoing struggles with the classic meditation form; there are some alternatives with similar meditative character such as
- chopping vegetables
- gardening (spring is near!)
- walking or running (it’s fast but meditative)
- playing an instrument
- chanting (you know the rules, do it alone)
In the end, what counts is to accept what is. From buddhism we learn that all is temporary, everything will pass. And the more we look inwards the more we can feel and learn.
older blog post on meditation