Chapter 7.4 Contemplation


“Contemplate on what you want, not on what you do not have. “
Yogi Berra      Baseball Player/Quote-maker

Could it be that Yogi knew “The Secret”?  Focus on the positive and not on the negative. There are a couple of degrees in the art of deep, deep thinking. Contemplation and Meditation. Contemplation is a more accepted form of working on our problems in Western society than meditation.  Unfortunately we often don’t even take enough time to contemplate our issues. 

Contemplation is a lot like blue-skying.  When you look into a blue, cloudless sky, you don’t have distractions.  You can tap the infiniteness.  Being able to focus on a problem, in quiet, without interruptions can achieve remarkable results.

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)    Irish Playwright

I found that commuting in my car (especially before cell-phones) often gave me that time to contemplate on stuff that for which I didn’t seem to have time to do at work or at home.  You only need three or four minutes sometimes.  Turn off the radio and think.  Think through your topic.  Develop an action plan.

To me, the main difference between Contemplation and Meditation is that in Contemplation one is actively problem-solving whereas in Meditation the goal is to stop thinking to allow the subconscious to lead one to resolve.

“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)    French Author ‘The Little Prince’

Contemplation is an action plan for the future.  One of the contemplation topics that I have focused on recently is this scenario, which is definitely not an original concept: 

If I was told I only had one year to live, what would I do?  On what would I focus? 

This question really helps me sort out what it is that I’m doing that isn’t really earth-shattering important … and what it is from which I gain fulfillment.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.”
Greek Proverb

OK, a little problem here for many. Most still have to work, we still have to provide food, shelter, and trinkets.  One can’t just quit one’s job to completely enjoy their personal fulfillment needs. (Or maybe you can?) But if you had enough money to last for that one last year, what would you do? I would highly recommend this exercise for those that are nearing retirement.  You may not have the thirty years you think you’ll have, but (I hope not) maybe only twelve months.

Place your hand over your chest and feel your heartbeat.  That is actually your life clock ticking, counting down the moments you have left.  One day it will stop.  That is 100 percent guaranteed, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.”The Meaning of Life        Bradley Trevor Grieve

Of course the first thing that may cross the minds of many people often revolves around unadulterated fun, lavish travel, personal gratification.  I must say that these things hit a high-mark on my list!  But I’ve got to believe that many people would like to do something more earthwhile eventually … helping the human race to improve, to continue.

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
T.S. Eliot  (1888-1965)    American Playwright and Poet

But even within the framework of having to go to work each day, some interesting insight and even alterations of routines can be achieved.   Career moves or life-style changes can grow from Contemplation. 

“Only do what your heart tells you.”
Princess Diana  (1961-1997)    Princess of Wales,

 The analysis of my schedule, and understanding why I have to do certain things that I’d rather not, has made me review my priorities.  For now, my mantra is to live my last twelve months, within what is reasonable contemplating my life’s resources. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have the satisfaction in the end that I have experienced many interesting things of which I have dreamed. My goal is few regrets.

“It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret”
 Jackie Joyner-Kersee    American Track and Field Athlete


One Response to “Chapter 7.4 Contemplation”

  1. J Says:

    To me this is your best chapter yet. Recentenly I have been trying to spend time each day in quiet contemplation and have found it to be amazing for my spirit and life. For me contemplation, gives me the peace to live for the joy of today and the promises of tomorrow, Leaving regrets in the past. I would like to have a copy of this chapter if you wouldn’t mind. This chapter speaks to me and would like to review it from time to time. Thanks. J

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