Contemplate to break negative cycles

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Life happens. Sometimes you are the cause, other times you are the witness and other times you are subjected to the results of those events. Everyone faces the same challenges in life. But what is there to do, now. Lament? Or turn pessimistic? Or worry? Or be non-chalant? None of these are an intelligent response.
Wherever possible it is much better, I think, to learn from what is happening around us. Begin this practice by simply familiarising yourself with the things around you. Perhaps you will set aside a little time to do this and then gradually bring the practice with you into your day. Say you sit on the train with your head buried in a boring newspaper because that’s just what you do.
Try taking in the details instead, all those interesting people or views you have never noticed before. Ah, and there’s an elderly woman who would hugely appreciate a sit-down and thanks you for being so kind when you offer your seat; if you’d been reading your paper as usual you wouldn’t have even noticed her.
For me, contemplation is bliss. It helps me to really relax. It is like swimming in a deep ocean. I have peace of mind, which is very much a blessing and shows that the aspiring mind is functioning. I’m not one for bliss in sensual terms, but through contemplation I feel a deep understanding that is very peaceful and profound. Just by looking around me I am then inspired; it happens almost spontaneously. Contemplation is nothing but turning the mind inwards.
Meditation is a deeper journey along the same path, that transcends the material world of thoughts and ideas. As you consider the situation around you more often, I also encourage you to meditate on your own personal situation, your ups and your downs. There is no need for you to keep this secret from yourself and push your feelings down; reveal them to yourself so you may contemplate them and learn whatever lessons you can. This is often not as easy as it sounds—we have so many layers of ego and misunderstandings about ourselves. that it is sometimes easier to cheat ourselves. You have to open your secrets to yourself and really explore them from different angles. For example, if you are feeling fearful or anxious about something, then don’t simply dismiss yourself as being silly, self-absorbed or weak.
Contemplate what is behind those feelings, what is at their heart, and then begin to see if you can look at them from a more positive angle. Yes, you are fearful, but if you are fearful of something going wrong then this often means you have in front of you an exciting opportunity to do something meaningful. If you are fearful, for instance, that something may not last, can you bring yourself back into the present and discover your inspiration again, rather than focusing on your fear of loss?
Meditation and contemplation are very helpful for breaking negative cycles. Using your aspiring mind, you may see a situation from a new angle, or find a lesson in the challenges of the day. If you find yourself saying, ‘Oh, here I go again,’ or, ‘Why does this always seem to happen to me?’
you can spend a little time giving yourself room to breathe and think more clearly, and perhaps you will see that you needn’t follow the same pattern again and that you may find new inspiration to take a different path. Through this practice you will begin to let go of the wild, wandering mind and also the distractions we all have which often take up so much room in our minds. Instead of imagining all the negative ‘what ifs’ that may occur from a situation in your life you will instead be thankful for where you are
right now.
I have seen a few texts that speak of compassion and loving kindness, and say that one has to first be compassionate to oneself and then you can begin to practise compassion to others. But even to get to that stage requires contemplation and meditation. Every episode of life is a significant marker to your nature, your attitude or your personality. You can dissect your responses only when you review them—and that is what contemplation is all about.
Something happened. Why did it happen? Why did it end like it did? Could there have been a different outcome? What could I have done differently to change the outcome? This is the material of contemplation; this is the beginning of meditation. At the very least, this is the state of a new discovery of yourself. Every component of your personality can similarly be researched by yourself and the understanding it will bring will be the stepping stone to a new, more aware, more peaceful person.

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