Contemplation is really the art of being able to look at reality exactly the way it is without your destructively damming cognitive distortions. It is the wondrous ability to be able to see life exactly the way it is without buying into your social constructs, your upbringing and your past traumas. In fact, contemplation may be better described as re-looking at reality.
There are 7.8 billion people in the world today. All of us with different perspectives and viewpoints. Nevertheless there is still one singular reality (truth) that we are all striving to understand, bask-in and explore.
So our life journey is to reach a point in our lives where we are capable enough to get through all the distractions, distortions and clutter and cycle upwards to becoming much more aware of what consciousness is and how it envelopes each one of us with such love, care and an unbreakable purpose that it is almost unfathomable to the naked mind.
At some stage in life each and everyone of us will discover that what we are thinking will never quite get us the answers that we need. Thinking always tends to end in more questions than answers at the end of the day leaving the mind afraid and the soul unsatisfied. So what we need to come to understand is that we need to go above our thinking. I suppose in science we could call this metacognition. We need to go above our intellectual capabilities and understanding and discover why IQ and EQ will never be enough to get us to a lasting place of blissful contentment that explodes the soul into light. This happens when we can contain the idea that we are not just our minds and that we are not just neurochemical cocktails in skin suits. This is the spiritual and holy journey to CQ or contemplative Intelligence. A place of realisation where you can see God in everything and everyone.
When I was younger we were all judged by the level of our IQ. As we know from history most of the judgements people have made about skin colour, the feminine and anyone who has any otherness in them normally ends in disaster. In this way too we judged any child who wanted to run and play, instead of sit as a problem child with an attention deficit. Today we know that our intelligence quotient is no accurate judge at all about who we are, what we are capable of, and where our lives are leaving and leading us. IQ or the mind are not enough to help us understand who we are and what we are doing and where we are going, and particularly why we are doing all of this growing and conscious awakening anyways. Since it ends in death the mind and its defences can tempt us to keep our eyes closed and live life with eyes wide shut.
We have many people in our Centre for healing in South Africa from all over the world with extremely high IQs. These people have often thought themselves into extreme anxious, stressed and depressive states. To get well and heal themselves from their current states of bewilderment they begin to understand that what they need to do is transcend their thinking. Thinking cannot be stoped, only transcended and included. As you think so shall you be maybe the most important seven words ever strung together in a sentence. How we think in the first half of life really creates our persona and defines our characters for a time. With divinity at our core, we are even more than persona’s or ‘masks’ as the Latin word originally suggested.
“Faith strips the mask from the world and renders meaningless such words as anxiety, danger and fear, so the believer goes through life calmly and peacefully, with profound joy, like a child, hand and hand with his mother.”
-Charles de Foucauld.
Learning about your contemplative intelligence and capabilities will teach you how to go above your every day streams of thoughts which means we are all capable of going above your problems, situations and events that hold you captive. Although we have around 85,000 thoughts a day the problem is most of these thoughts are the same as they were yesterday and a decade ago and when we were two years old. Most of these thoughts no longer serve us and this is why we find that 98% of people are spending 98% of their time on things that don’t matter.
The sacred place where mind and spirituality meet
Once people start practising the art of contemplation they will soon find that they shall discover not only everything in the world as if it was new, and perhaps experienced or discovered for the first time but they will also discover themselves as new, fresh and invigorated by life. It really is quite remarkable to see how much we are capable of when the shackles of the mind are stripped away. This unleashing of energy, chi or shakti is common place and comes to people who are born-again, or who have awakened consciously. Choose the words that suit your understanding best. It makes little difference to the miraculous ways in which we as human beings, so animalistic and basal in nature at first can come to know the divine within and without when consciousness allows one to do so.
Life is so abundant broad and wide that we could never even get close to understanding our own bodies and minds, or the ocean or the cosmos for that matter. Life and our minds can be overwhelmed by the ideas of this flowing, chaotic complexity we feel subject to at times. Thankfully the law of complexity crumbles under the practice of contemplation when we align body, mind and spirit with the power of silence and surrendering which are some of the core pathways to finding your Sacred Self within. Chaos dissolves into order not when we fight life, but rather when we submit to its loving embrace. It was mother Teresa who said “Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
All are welcome to do our Course in Contemplation and learn from the dessert fathers, the sufis, sages and even the stoics who have always quietly carried the torch of our contemplative capabilities to the next generation.