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The Contemplative Procss

Learning the Steps of the Contemplative Process

Mindfulness & Imagination Definitions

 

Mindfulness Definition

 

1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

2. a mental state is achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

 

Imagination Definition

1. the faculty or action of forming new ideas, images, or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

2. the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.

Mindfulness and Imagination in Contemplation 

 

Mindfulness and imagination are necessary skills for The Contemplative. When a Contemplative visualizes a scene in a story they imagine, they must be highly mindful and aware of all the details. Later, they must be acutely aware and mindful when they enter the scene. While understandably hard, these skills develop over time with practice.

Exercises in Mindfulness

 

1. Practice being mindful throughout the day. Stop the inner chatter and pay attention to the breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be present and become aware of all the surroundings and open up the senses to all that is happening.

 

2. Practice Walking Mindfulness. Slow your breath and walk slowly. Engage the new scenes with all the senses. What do I See, what do I Hear, what do I Smell, what do I Feel?

3. Practice nature-watching mindfulness. Go to a favorite place in nature. Slow your breathing. Engage all the senses. What do I See, what do I Hear, what do I Smell, what do I Feel?

Exercises in Visualization and Imagination

 

1.    Slow down, breathe, and become mindful. Visualize the Cross of Jesus before you. Make the image as solid as possible. See all the dimensions. See all the colors. How does it make you feel? Hold the image for as long as possible. Start with 10 seconds, and when you become more skillful, move up to 1 minute.

 

2.    Visualize a chapel and place yourself before the altar. What do you see? What do you Hear? What do you Smell? How do you feel? Again, start with 10 seconds and progress when possible.

 

3.    Visualize yourself sitting on a bench in a beautiful garden with a river running in the distance. Become mindful and engage all your senses as before. Now visualize Jesus sitting alongside you. For now, do not speak, but attempt to hold the visualization for 1 minute. 

 

4.    Again, visualize the same scene as above but look at yourself looking at Jesus. Hold the visualization for 1 minute or less.

 

5.    Again, visualize the same scene as above and begin a conversation with Jesus. Stay in the scene for as long as possible. After the visualization, please write down your experience and meditate on it. Pray for understanding of the experience.

Thomas Merton's Life and Practices

Thomas Keating on Contemplation

Christian Contemplation Introduction

The Practice of Christian Contemplation

Ongoing Steps to Learning Contemplation

Discernment for Contemplation

Purification for the Contemplative

The Purgative Way

Saint John Paul II on The Rosary

Differences between Meditation and Contemplation

Christian Contemplation Resources

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