Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | September 13, 2011

Thinking, Meditation, Contemplation

In the eastern mindset, meditation and contemplation receive a lot of attention, as it should be. But we may tend to overlook a bit thinking. Now, thought does get a lot of attention; in tai chi, mind intent plays a very important role; in yoga, thoughts are considered powerful things that can be sent out into the world to affect the world around you.

But what I want to spend just a few minutes on is thinking. A lot of us go through life not thinking things through. We must learn to think, in a logical, conscious way. We should spend time thinking, not in an obsessive way, but in a quiet, orderly way, weighing the pros and cons of things, trying to come up with solutions to problems. Part of thinking is study. Gaining knowledge of a subject, doing the research. When I was learning tai chi, a very important part of the journey was reading everything I could, getting as many videos as I could. You need to think it through. Reflection is important. Many people on the spiritual path suggest that we engage in self examination, to think over the events of the day, to see what we weren’t happy with, how we could do things better.

So, thinking, study, conversation–running ideas past your friends, is important. It helps to focus your ideas and make sense of things. After thinking and reflecting, meditation comes into play, where you can take an idea or concept and use it as a tool for meditation.

In trying o differentiate the three, thinking, meditation, and contemplation, I see thinking as the way of consciously, logically ordering your thoughts. In meditation, we take one or two concepts and sit in silence, allowing the ideas to cultivate, to allow the subconscious mind to work. In contemplation, the contemplative, almost antithetically, actually acts on these thoughts, lives them, is them. The contemplative life is an acting out and experiencing of the things you have thought out, and meditated upon.

And although it’s really a different subject, we cannot forget that thought power exists, that mind intent is pivotal.



  1. I think what the I Ching scholar does may be summed up like this: he thinks things through.

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