Contemplative & Meditational

Part 2 of 8 in the series Future Spirituality

In terms of spiritual practice, the great common denominator among practitioners is a form of meditation: mantra repetition; candle-gazing; conscious breathing; labyrinth walking; the creation of Mandalas; and others.

What these practices have in common is that they are all methods of focusing the mind in order to gain clarity and insight. Your own approach is to combine elements of what works for you; anything that helps one focus and quiet the mind is a good choice.

There is increasing evidence that meditation is also a healthy choice.

Contemplation/Meditational research and acceptance of the benefits has become an increasing trend in the new millennium.

“The enormous strides in the field over the last three decades have been mainly driven by two synergistic lines of advancement. The first of these is the convergence of meditation research with the explosive growth of basic neuroscience in recent years. The second is the emergence of mindfulness meditation as the dominant paradigm for clinical research and application in the field.” Joseph Loizzo

Recent studies show the holistic health benefits of meditation, with evidence that mediation practice slows the decline of cognitive degeneration as we age. Research continues on an range of deditational practices—including Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Kundalini Yoga, TM Siddhi, Qi-gong, Cabbala, Christian mysticism, and Sufism— and results are converging with related mechanism research on the parasympathetic nervous system. Loizzo believes that this research may “explain how integral meditation may affect the primal centers of mind/body regulation in the brainstem.”

Varieties of Contemplative Experience studies are also underway in Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Sufi traditions.

As we understand more the deep links between psychological and spiritual aspects of consciousness, human willingness to involve meditation as a holistic practice will increase.

“The coming spirituality will be contemplative because it represents the maturity of the inner experience. Every form of spirituality or the mysticism that reaches that height of maturity does so precisely because it is contemplative.

Contemplation is the capacity to know the divine and oneself in intimate relationship with it beyond the finite and the impermanent. The interiority of contemplative awareness is a process of simplification and clarification of the self that prepares the individual for union with God, integration with the absolute

Contemplation is awareness beyond the need for thought; it is free of rational analysis. it achieves its perfection in the silence of resting in the divine presence.”

Wayne Teasdale – The Mystic Heart

 

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