The power of contemplation

In my post “to solve or not to solve” I referred to a process of contemplation that I have used. In his wonderful book “Anitya”, Paul Twitchell describes contemplation in the following way:

“Contemplation is to view, to consider with attention a line from a poem, scriptural verse or saying and keep going over it, wondering what the author meant…what it means to you…how it applies to philosophy or looking at it in a hundred different ways, but never trying to hold it, force it or keep it, simply being interested in it, as it holds the attention”.

Some may think of contemplation like meditation. For me, contemplation is a more active, creative and imaginative process. It is the purposeful creation of an inner experience. I do this most regularly with my eyes closed, but also I have found journaling to help me. As Paul Twitchell describes, finding a passage or quote from some inspired writings can also be powerful.

So what relevance has that to ethics or doing good?

So much attention is placed on ‘outer processes’ like thinking, analysing, discussing, and utilising tools like policies and frameworks in order to make sense of the world and better decisions. In my experience (although sometimes I forget this), dedicating time and energy to inner contemplation can be a useful and powerful tool in any aspect of one’s life. In my work, it has helped me arrive at better and more rounded decisions, and often with more grace than I would have otherwise.