Contemplating At The Museum
Someone asked me, “Allen, what is contemplation?”
The sibling question is “Why contemplate?” If the reason for contemplation isn’t fully understood, the what’s and how’s don’t matter. Spiritual contemplation is a calm inner looking at the Allness of God. It is Mind (God) beholding Itself. Contemplation is similar to the quiet, often uplifting, viewing of a great piece of museum artwork.
You’ve, no doubt, been to a museum and gazed at a piece of artwork. You observed the sweep of the curves, the colors, and the shading. As you continued gazing at the picture, you thought about the images in the picture. You noticed things. Without any conscious effort, thought followed thought. You saw new things you didn’t see moments before. More thoughts flowed. This is contemplation.
Take note. You were not trying to get anything out of this contemplation. You were not using it for anything. Not once did you think, “When I’m through looking at this, I hope my life gets better.”
You didn’t try to control the experience, did you? Most likely, wherever your eyes landed on the canvas, you simply basked in the beauty. You did not try to control the experience. And you certainly didn’t try to change the artwork. You merely observed and enjoyed.
Contemplation’s River Of Ideas
This leads to the first point. Spiritual contemplation is a joy-filled experience. Spiritual contemplation is just “observing” the facts of God’s Allness – or some aspect of it. For example, you may find yourself contemplating the fact that, “I and the Father are one, and not two.”
As you “observe” this Truth, Consciousness reveals that there is no separation of time and space between you and God. The flow of ideas further reveals that there is no God and you. Ideas will continue to flow leading to the awareness that there is just I Am – no you, and no God. Somewhere in your “observation”, you will see that you are not a seeker of Truth, but Truth Itself. There is no such thing as what you should see in contemplation. There are no should’s in this observation. Ultimately, this experience is Mind beholding Itself, and its activity is Self-directed. It will always lead to a place of silence where there is knowing without the unnecessary weight of words.
When you gaze at a masterpiece, contemplating its beauty, what you see at one viewing will not be the same thing you see at another viewing. That’s how it is when you contemplate Truth. There’s always something new to see (perceive).
Spiritual Contemplation Brings Your Attention Back To What Is
Why contemplate? As mentioned in the “Prayer Project”, all day long you and I seem to see and sense things that are NOT the Allness of God. You may seem to see a fight in the workplace. You may seem to see a sick person, a homeless person, animal abuse. If you are a news watcher, there’s no telling what hellacious pictures you’ll see.
When we see these things we tend to think about them over and over again. This, too, is contemplation, but how does it make you feel to continually think – contemplate – these lies about the Allness of God? This kind of contemplation is the illusory activity of a mind that seems to exist but doesn’t.
Spiritual contemplation brings our attention back to what IS. It has to. It is ISNESS beholding Itself. When contemplation of God’s Allness is just a quiet consideration of Truth, your very soul smiles. You feel good.
Look Again – Things Aren’t What They Appear To Be
Contemplation is not an escape hatch from the seeming ugliness and messiness or daily living. And it’s a mistake to think that contemplation is impractical. Contemplation is the most practical thing you can do. Here are the benefits of contemplation:
- Contemplation is effortless.
- Contemplation is a hands-off affair.
- Contemplation does not require mental or physical labor to be effective.
Right now you might be saying to yourself, “How is contemplation practical?” Do you remember when stereograms had their heyday? These are large pictures that look like small, misshapen blocks of color. At first glance, you think “Boring!” But the directions tell you to continue staring at the picture, and when you do, your eyes widen and your jaw drops. Now you see a beautiful landscape that rivals a masterpiece.
At first you only saw random chunks of color. You kept looking, and then you saw a magnificent landscape. The landscape was there all along, but you had to keep looking. No effort, no labor, and no planning were required of you to make that landscape. You just had to keep looking.
That’s how contemplation works. It’s all a matter of looking and seeing. Contemplation is Mind’s way of looking (seeing/perceiving) the world (Itself). Where the first glance seems to show a picture of lack and limitation, contemplation reveals a new picture of abundance and plenty.
Perhaps your Body seems to show a picture of weakness and disease. Contemplation of God’s Allness sharpens your view. Now you see (and experience) a Body brimming with health and vitality.
And no work was done. No getting in there to fix and repair. Thus we have a contemplative consideration of God’s Allness as All, revealing (showing forth) God to BE ALL.