Whilst in the life of the intellect ‘contemplation’ refers to thinking profoundly about something, in the religious life contemplation is a kind of inner vision or seeing, transcendent of the intellect, facilitated by means of practices such as prayer or meditation.
Contemplation teaches you to think about thinking, and may be the highest form, of intelligence that we have. It is a dance with the physical, psychological and the spiritual and has a tendency to heal people, and then transform them. SO Why the hype about Contemplation? It heals people of depression, anxiety and stress related issues. It teaches self regulation. IT restores ones energy, sleep patterns and a whole lot more. How do we know this? Through 50 000 studies and 500 000 papers on the subject and its related mindfulness practices. Contemplation is a new level of meditation. And from what we hear it works miracles! Contemplative Intelligence is a skill you can learn to perform better, heal and grow in many areas.
Contemplation is both personal and communal, internal and external. It helps us let go of our usual, self-focused way of thinking and doing things so that our compassionate, connected, and creative self can emerge. Through contemplation we develop the capacity to witness our egoic motivations, bringing this awareness into our day-to-day actions and living with increased freedom and authenticity.
What Thomas Merton said about contemplation
Contemplation is the highest expression of our intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant source. Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that source. It knows that source, obscurely, inexplicably, but with a certitude that goes both beyond reason and beyond simple faith. For contemplation is a kind of spiritual vision to which both reason and faith aspire, by their very nature, because without it they must always remain incomplete. Yet contemplation is not vision, because it sees ‘without seeing’ and knows ‘without knowing’. It is more profound depth of faith, knowledge too deep to be grasped in images, in words or even in clear concepts. It can be suggested by works, by symbols, but in the very moment of trying to indicate what it know the contemplative mind takes back what it has said and denies what is has affirmed. For in contemplation we know by ‘unknowing’. Or, better, we know beyond all knowing or ‘unknowing’. Thomas Merton is very well known as one of the founders of contemplative practises, an art that was almost lost 500 years prior.
Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from him who has no voice, and yet who speaks in everything that is, and who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of his. But we are words that are meant to respond to him, to answer to him to echo him, and even in some way to contain him and signify him. Contemplation is this echo. It is a deep resonance in the inmost centre of our spirit in which our very life loses its separate voice and resounds with the majesty and the mercy of the hidden and living one. He answers himself in us and this answer is divine life, divine creativity, making all things new. We ourselves become his echo and his answer. It is as if in creating us God asked a question, and in awakening us to contemplation he answered the question, so that the contemplative is at the same time question and answer.
What is Contemplative Intelligence
Learning how to use his methods of Contemplative Intelligence for healing, even long-standing conditions or life blocks, can change not only your thinking in a short period of time, but also your entire neurological chemistry if practiced over time. These practices are simple, and are highly focused around mindful awareness that pull you out of your limbic system of egoic defense mechanisms of fight, flight and freeze and push you towards your prefrontal cortex where creativity, empathy and ingenuity reign supreme. This exercise is known as practicing contemplative fitness and shows that mindset is far more powerful than any knowledge we can gather to help us heal. The more reps you do each day, the better your outcomes will be. email Mark for information on the 12 week contemplative intelligence courses that can be done at our Center for Healing and Life Transformation or online. Contemplative Intelligence has been developed as a core principle of the healing work of Mark L Lockwood(BA)(hons)(psy) in healing depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma and personality disorders.
Research on Contemplation
RESEARCH SHOWS EXTRAORDINARY LONG TERM BENEFITS of contemplation. Research from 5000 studies and 50 000 reports from Yale, Harvard and Stanford show extraordinary benefits of mindful practice that gets us out of survival mind and emotional memory in the body to a new place of higher thinking, feeling and functioning. Harvard Medical School Phd’s recently announced “extraordinary, long-term benefits” Virgina medical school found that anxiety, mild depression, chromic pain, asthma, ADHD, and high-functioning autism, that can be treated with mind-based interventions. Browns university showed open-awareness and concentration, each with its own psychophysiological and neuro-cognitive effects. Insomnia, stress, anxiety spectrum disorders, and mental health though to proven insomnia, stress, anxiety spectrum disorders, and mental health improvement research at Harvard medical school. More information on this and the course is available on the website. https://markllockwood.com
For more information on What is Contemplation and how it heals visit the center or do a course online. Both can really heal your life. It doesn’t matter which you do first. Dont survive in 2023. Thrive.