One question that continually comes up when discussing meditation is what makes it different than just plain old contemplation?
For some, contemplation involves starting out with some issue, problem, or question and spending some quality focused time thinking about possible solutions. Meditation, on the other hand, for others involves plopping oneself down, focusing within, and allowing whatever feelings, thoughts, or beliefs to arise without attaching oneself to any one thing. That said, when it comes to setting a meditation intention, isn’t that just a cute way of posing a question in the form of a statement?
In this latest Deepak Chopra Care 2 post, the author and spiritual teacher considers the difference between the two. Although he doesn’t come to any solid conclusion, the point is, regardless of what you call it, take the time to sit quietly, focus inward, and cultivate that relationship with self.
Contemplation begins with a thought that attracts you; as you consider it, its attraction expands and deepens. As it does, a feeling emerges from the idea or image that you began with. Whatever the feeling, if you stay with it long enough, a change occurs. By subtle degrees the feeling becomes impersonal. It is no longer suffused with personal associations and memories.
Something may be glimpsed behind the screen of thought, a sense that you had entered a deeper reality. Next, you may sense a hidden presence that cannot be described but can still be felt. Grief may give way to joy. Awe may give way to ecstasy, wonder to a sense of lightness or floating. These changes signal the approach of the soul. They transform an everyday idea into something rarefied and pure.
Read more from Chopra on contemplation vs. meditation here.