Updated: Nov 13
Are you wondering what contemplation is?
Do you naturally contemplate? Do you learn to contemplate? Why would you contemplate in the first place? How do you contemplate? Let's explore what it means together...
Contemplation is a word and concept that comes originally from Greek and Latin.
Let us look at a definition of CONTEMPLATION (Wikipedia, 2022) :
"The word contemplation is derived from the Latin word contemplatio, ultimately from the Latin word templum, a piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, or a building for worship. The Latin word contemplatio was used to translate the Greek word θεωρία (theōría).
Contemplation was an important part of the philosophy of Plato; Plato thought that through contemplation, the soul may ascend to knowledge of the Form of the Good or other divine Forms The Neoplatonists the word theoria, attached to it the idea expressed by the Hebrew word da'ath, which, though usually translated as "knowledge", is a much stronger term, since it indicates the experiential knowledge that comes with love and that involves the whole person, not merely the mind. In Eastern Christianity, Contemplation (theoria) literally means to see God or to have the Vision of God".
In our modern day, when we talk of contemplation, it is often synonymous with thinking, reflecting, debating, deliberating, and sometimes even meditating. However, in Buddhist psychology and the framework of embodied mind training, contemplation is a practice in itself.
As Thupten Jinpa explained in his book "A Fearless Heart: How the courage to compassionate can transform our lives" (2015, p.71-87), in the traditional Tibetan Buddhist structure for practice, you:
1. Set an Intention
2. We receive a teaching
3. We contemplate the teaching
4. We 'set conscious intention' for the meditation
5. We practice meditation with an object
Defining Contemplative Creative Science
Contemplative Creative Science is a discipline of first-person, subjective inquiry into the nature of the embodied mind and its role in Nature, which utilizes methods for developing refined concentration, mindfulness, compassion, and introspection to directly observe states of consciousness and mental functions in their relationship with self, other beings, and the planet.
"Contemplative science offers the rigorous, replicable methods — the contemplative technology — that science needs to expand its scope and encompass all of reality, including the subject pole of experience" Center for Contemplative Research (CCR), 2021
The Contemplative Creative Science (CCS) theoretical framework and approaches are informed by the many forms of contemplative science and arts disciplines in traditional and modern Buddhism (philosophy, science, and Buddhist psychology) and the latest research on neuroscience, mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion.
It is a holistic framework that encompasses different creative avenues and practices to train the embodied mind, inspired by the teachings and curriculum of Nālandā University (5th to 13th c., India) and the contemplative art practices from Shambhala International.
Contemplative creative practices (CCP) are forms of meditation that are a continuum of mindfulness, compassion and awareness meditation practices informed by Buddhist methods of inquiry such as contemplation, deconstruction, and meditation family of practices.
The contemplative creative process is similar to the creative arts therapy; similar modalities are used, such as brush painting, collage, journaling, body movement, clay and natural arrangements, installations, and photography are mediums used to observe and contemplate the mind, as well as cultivate value-based qualities (Ates, 2017, 2022).
At the Centre for Contemplative Creative Science, the modalities used in contemplative creative practices are: brushwork, contemplative photo collage, mindful circles, contemplative writing, contemplative movement, clay and natural arrangements, and contemplative photography. Natural arrangements are bio-based practices on seasonal or five elements (water, air, fire, earth, and space) exploration and contemplation.
Next time, we will discuss contemplative practice and how you can start to implement it in your daily life to complement your meditation. You can follow us if you want to learn more about contemplative creative practices and meditation.
In the meantime, have a beautiful day!
Emma JM. Ates