Contemplation means thinking about an action before performing it. In the life of the intellect, ‘contemplation’ refers to thinking profoundly about something. And in the spiritual life, contemplation is a kind of inner vision or seeing, transcendent of the intellect, facilitated through practices such as prayer or meditation.
Considering contemplation as a particular spiritual-mystical state of mind, one must ask oneself what this state is. First of all, it is the immediate embracing of phenomena in an irrational way involving the soul. The mind here sees but does not think, meaning it is presented in its sensitive rather than logical function. The mind becomes a sense, a spiritual vision. Then the mind begins to see what it has not seen before, not ordinary material things, but their inner spiritual-intellectual nature.
Behind matter, it sees substance; in things, it sees their logos-causes; in nature, it sees essences, ideas. As a result, a new, unfamiliar function of the mind appears, in ascesis, meditation and prayer. The capacity for direct vision appears. The basis of ascesis is precisely suppressing the mind’s sensitive and thinking function to awaken it to higher activity. In that sense, the task of contemplation is the restoration, reintegration of the individual in his primary intellectual activity. But the mind is not the last stage or the goal, rather the means of reaching the contemplative peak. Contemplation carries an element of intellectual activity.
“True mysticism,” said Olivier-Maurice Clément, is to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Contemplation is the act of creation. By making borders to inherent thinking, we create the illusion of the existence of material things by giving them labels, meaning, and giving them names.
Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said: By giving me the name, you deny me. Giving me my name or a label, you reject everything else I potentially can be.
We transport thoughts to matter by giving them names and labels, but at the same time, we create it by recognition of its being. Creativity is our native nature and our natural existence capability. The creation of tight things automatically creates the illusion of time, making the illusion of density in space.
Also, the putting together of disparate things—a falling apple and gravity, an overflowing bathtub, and specific gravity, tells us that creativity needs space to thrive. Also, many people get creative ideas when they let themselves play. We could say the eureka story is a scientific haiku, beautiful and straightforward with a revelatory twist. It’s the essence of an idea. It doesn’t give you any sense of the steps or preparatory stuff, but people love them because it simplifies things and takes away all the hard slogging. It’s an analogy everybody understands. Eureka’s stories are a compression of decades and decades of work into one inspirational moment.
So this thing about changing your perspective — it’s fundamental for humans. We can do this with anything. Let’s play around with the Earth, zoom into the ocean. Let’s have a look at the ocean and view it up close, look at the waves. If we go to the shore, we can kind of smell it, right? We can hear the sound of the waves. We can feel salt on our tongues. So all of these are different perspectives. We can go into the water. We can see the water from the inside. If you can view a structure from the inside, then you learn something about it. That’s somehow the essence of something. So when we do this and take this journey into the ocean, we use our imagination. It’s a requirement for changing your perspective. And this thing about changing perspectives should sound a little bit familiar to all of us because we do it every day. And then it’s called empathy. When I view the world from your perspective, I have empathy for you. If I really, truly understand what the world looks like from your perspective, I am empathetic. Changing your perspective makes your mind more flexible. It makes us open to new things, and it makes us able to understand something.
Albert Einstein was the first who reached the moment of Heureka, Aha, Halleluyah – that empty space is not “nothing” but “something”. Something with specific properties and the existence of space – practically with the unthinkable quantity of energy. Richart Fraiman said that one cubic meter of empty space contains enough power to boil the world’s oceans.
Experienced yoginis and deep meditation practitioners know that being in stillness has incredible power.