“It is necessary… for a man to go away by himself… to sit on a rock… and ask, ‘who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” - Carl Sandburg
Contemplation is one of my favorite tools for consciousness work, and introspection. To question your reality very deeply is an efficient path to genuine understanding. How would it even be possible to achieve an understanding if you're not going to question anything?
You can use contemplation for any topic. What is meaning, what is understanding, what is the self, what are senses, what is nothing. These are some great questions to be asking. Going straight to the most fundamental questions will make the process of understanding a little bit quicker. Because when you understand the roots of reality it will explain everything else that has sprouted from them. The most undeniable aspects of your experience are the things most people don't question. If you understand something why would you question it, right? But what people don't understand is that they've acquired a false understanding of everything they think they know. Mere beliefs.
Everyone has a childhood. When we go through the process of growing up we are heavily obligated to learn how things work, and how to operate in this modern society. You have to learn your identity, language, everything they teach in school, and obviously much more. But the thing is, this is all man made stuff. Everything you have ever learned is just a tool for survival, and it is not truth. The essence of reality is not man made, and you cannot learn this, let alone form anything external. It can only be realized internally. Knowledge is just a big web of beliefs. These beliefs make it harder to realize truth. After childhood conditioning you have to trace back your steps to pure consciousness. Unlearn everything, and truth will reveal itself.
Just like anything else, you wont be successful if you're going to eventually quit. Find out what you want to know, and do not stop questioning everything about it. Dig in as much as you can into your topic. The expansion of awareness takes time, and is a tricky process all together. When I first became curious about the nature of meaning, I sat down for twenty minutes everyday to simply ask “what is meaning?” I didn't figure it out until four months later. And for certain people and certain topics, it will take longer than four months, or shorter. You need a deep desire and commitment. Consistency is the key.
Deep thought and questioning naturally evokes a lot of deep emotions. Sometimes they can be hard to deal with, but It is an indication that you're on to something. Plus you can learn how to deal with your emotions in the process, which will be extremely helpful for the rest of your life. Another indication that you're making progress is becoming more confused than you have ever been in your life. Like I said, everything you “know” is a belief. And if this were obvious it would just be common knowledge. I know it sounds crazy but you just have to be open minded. You wont get any insight of your own if you're closing yourself off to it with a belief. The more you question everything the more you realize how little you actually know for certain. The more you realize this the more confused you become. The more confused you become the closer you get to truth. You learn to love and crave confusion. At this point I'm so confused, I'm confused about my own confusion.
I’ve only had one serious breakthrough from contemplation, but it was a really great experience. Theres nothing like realizing an absolute truth just from questioning by yourself. It’s very rewarding. This alone is really exciting, and makes life much more mysterious. Also, it leads to the question; where do thoughts come from? If you can receive insight (a powerful thought that you've never had before thats not based on any past experience providing a deeper understanding) how can we assume we are controlling our thoughts. From my own experience, you clearly can not control insight.
Contemplation isn't rocket science. All you need to remember is question EVERYTHING. Question the way you think your experience works. Question your identity and where it is placed. Question your own questioning.
For me, contemplation gives my life excitement, insight, confidence, awareness, and understanding. As well as vast confusion. What I love most is being genuinely intrigued about reality itself. It brings me into a closer relationship with myself and my experience. This is why I’m writing this. To pass this on to all of you. I’m always gaining new insight and learning about my life and as I grow personally I want to help guide as many as I can to do the same.
Thanks for reading, and Stay Curious!