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In Heartfulness

Do you know what is a Contemplative Practice?

what is contemplative practice, meditation, yoga and prayer

What is a Contemplative Practice?

Contemplative Practice is the actual application to develop and expand your inner world through deep thoughts. Commonly known Contemplative Practices are meditation, mindfulness, contemplation and yoga where people engage in activities that unplug them out of the hustle-bustle in daily lives, increase their self-awareness and allows them to connect to their values, principles, and purpose.

contemplative /k’n’t’mpl’t’v/

  1. expressing or involving prolonged thought
  2. involving or given to deep silent prayer or religious meditation

practice /’prakt’s/

the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method

The most common misunderstanding about Contemplative Practice is that it’s only for religious people. Like Buddhists prayers or church masses. However, modern Contemplative Practices have detached itself from religion because its science-backed benefits can be shared with everyone – no matter their belief system.

Why contemplative practices make you happier?

Every successful, happy person has one thing in common. They’ll always, I mean always, block time in their schedule for contemplation, i.e meditation, mindfulness or self-reflection. Why?

Because contemplative practices not only treat high blood pressure, ADHD, addiction but also increase self-awareness, focus, creativity, empathy, compassion, and healing from depression, stress, and chronic pain. [1] [2]

According to the National Health Interview Survey, 8% of US adults practice some form of meditation and up to 24% of cardiovascular disease patients used mind-body therapy to aid their healing. [3]

If you’re not convinced that contemplative practices can create a healthier, happier you, this will.

Which statement is the reality?

Happy people contemplate, or people contemplate they became happier?

Let me give you a clear picture to paint the life of a person who does contemplative practices.

Mike starts his day with a 15-minute meditation, 20-minute yoga and read. He works as a Project Manager in a local startup. He makes around 10-15 critical decisions daily, and notes them in his ‘Decision Journal’. At night, Mike spends a 30-minute uninterrupted session with his wife. Before he sleeps, he journals about his day and re-read his ‘Decision Journal’.

That is merely a fraction of Mike’s outer world. His inner world is thriving, unlike the majority of the world who are surviving. When Mike and other people spend time on contemplative practices, they become more aware of their actions and reassess them, stay calm in the midst of turbulence and focus on what matters.

Scientists, researchers, and successful figures have proven that contemplative practices (i.e meditation, mindfulness, self-reflection, journaling) lead people to a happier life. [4] Tony Robbin’s famous ritual, ‘Priming’ is also a form of contemplative practice. [5] So, the answer is “People who contemplate become happier” So, what can you do today to integrate contemplative practices into your life?

Every change starts with a small action.

What is a Contemplative Practice

Bringing any new contemplative practices into your life is a change of lifestyle and could be hard to stick to. The good news is, in the next section, you’ll learn three contemplative practices that will not squeeze your schedule or break your credit card.

Practice #1 – Schedule 5 Minutes for ‘me-time’

The best time is right after you wake up or before you sleep. If it’s impossible for you, analyze your daily schedule and block a 5-minute uninterrupted me-time in your calendar. During this time, you can either meditate, journal, visualize your perfect day, listen to soft music or simply do nothing and observe your thoughts. [6]

Practice #2 – Take a Walk in Nature

If you’re too far away from nature, walking around your neighborhood will do a great job too. This will unplug you from distractions, technology, and other people’s demands. An urban explorer Eugene Quinn said in his TED talk, “Just walk in a direction for an hour, and see what happens. Open up to the potential of finding stuff by accident, finding yourself, and enjoying the freeness of wandering without an objective.”

Practice #3 – Keep Calm and do Yoga

Yoga is a type of movement that connects body, mind, and breath. [7] Connecting these three aspects directs your attention inward consciously and you’ll begin:

  • Recognize habitual thought patterns without judging or labeling them [7]
  • Become more conscious of the now [7]
  • Become more aware of body pain [8]
  • Sharpen your mind with clarity and calmness [8]

We hope this article helps you understand what is a contemplative practice and importantly their diversity and range. There are many forms of contemplative practices but not everything fits everyone. Sign up today to our mailing list to receive our free downloadable guide to contemplative practices and our Be Heartful & Sonder Programmes. We know your time is precious, and working with Hrtfl.net will help you cut through the nonsense to find the right solutions for you.

References:

  1. Carrie Baron M.D. ‘The Contemplative Life’, April 12, 2018, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-creativity-cure/201804/the-contemplative-life
  2. Marino A. Bruce, Kia Skrine Jeffers, Jan King Robinson, and Keith C. Norris, ?Contemplative Practices: A Strategy to Improve Health and Reduce Disparities,? October 15, 2018,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210378/
  3. American Heart Association, ‘Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction’, September 28, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5721815/
  4. Dorcas Cheng-Tozun ‘Why Self-Awareness Is Essential for Life and Work’, April 10, 2018, https://www.inc.com/dorcas-cheng-tozun/entrepreneur-know-thyself-how-self-awareness-helps-you-succeed.html
  5. Team Tony, ‘Train Your Brain In Minutes – Develop A Daily Ritual That Primes You For Success’, https://www.tonyrobbins.com/health-vitality/train-your-brain-in-minutes-4/
  6. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, ‘The Tree of Contemplative Practices’, http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree
  7. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, ‘Yoga’ http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree/yoga
  8. American Osteopathic Association, ‘Benefits of Yoga’ – https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/benefits-of-yoga/

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