“We normally keep our minds so busy that we fail to hear the passing whispers of angels.”

J. Henderson

Contemplation is a technique in which we open our minds to incoming impressions, inspirational guidance or answers to problems or questions which we set ourselves.

It is similar to meditation, but in this case we need only a quiet, relaxed, introspective state of mind in which we can allow our thoughts to flow, similar to free association. This is explained as allowing your mind free rein to explore all impressions, thoughts and ideas that spontaneously enter.

Through contemplation we connect to the creative power of our subconscious minds and are able to gain answers, new insights and inspiring thoughts and ideas. This can be useful in business as well as in our personal lives. It can also be used simply as part of your mental development, as it helps you build a working relationship with your subconscious mind. Bringing a certain sense of peace and connectedness, contemplation can also help one heal emotionally.

Although it can be used anywhere, I have found that contemplation works particularly well outdoors during a slow walkabout or nature ramble. In this case I would liken it to a ‘walking and talking’ meditation, combined with a process of free association.
Contemplating Nature also brings a sense of presence. When we focus intently on various aspects of our natural surroundings, from the colour of leaves to the smallest insect, we increase our mindfulness of the present moment, of the ‘now’.

Contemplative thoughts can be easily distinguished from day-to-day thinking, as the ideas presented are often philosophical and generally quite poetic in form.

The process

Find a suitable quiet place to sit indoors or take a walk outdoors in your garden or in a nature reserve. Strive for a relaxed state of mind.
Decide on what you are contemplating. It can be a specific problem, an object, a verse or an idea
such as the beauty of Nature. Set an intention to engage deeply and then pose your question to your
subconscious mind.
An intention is a precise thought which represents a sincere request or instruction, without any hesitation or doubt, as to exactly what you want from your subconscious mind. It must be simply worded and unambiguous.

For example:
“I open myself to inspiration on the aspect of beauty in Nature.”

Once you have phrased your question and set your intention, let go and move ahead with your next action with the belief that it will be carried out as requested. It is this confident, powerful state of mind that ensures the co-operation of your subconscious mind and which will open you to inspirational guidance from within, or even outside your own mind.

Now simply relax and allow a free-flow of impressions, thoughts, symbolic ideas and even images relating to your question and set intention to pass through your mind. Initially speak your thoughts out loud. Describe what you are thinking or feeling. This usually comes out as deep and colourful words or possibly even further questions.

For example: “I can see the beauty of Nature, but from where does it come?”
As you continue to express your impressions, feelings and thoughts in words, let your subconscious mind take over. You may begin to utter strange words out loud without even thinking.
For example, “I see this beauty, it is all around me.”
“This beauty comes from its source.”
“There can be only one source to all things.”
“I am part of this source.”
And so on…

Notice how your thoughts become deeper and more philosophical. If they are at first strange incomprehensible, write them down and interpret them later.

At the end of the contemplation give thanks and acknowledgment for the guidance received. Once you have practised contemplation for a while, you may find that you begin to receive messages and revelations much quicker. This means that you have built up a good relationship with your subconscious mind and it is spontaneously releasing information to you.

Dr Jimmy Henderson

Dr Jimmy Henderson is a cognitive scientist with an honours degree in philosophy (metaphysics) and a Ph.D in psychology from the University of South Africa. He has studied mind and spirit for over 35 years as a member of the Rosicrucian Order (AMORC) and is also a Lifeline counsellor and trainer. He was previously in SAPS management until his early retirement and is now a distance tutor for UNISA in psychology, a distance facilitator for Metavarsity and the published author of a number of books, e-books and articles on the power of the mind and spiritual development. He has been a guest speaker at many different venues as well as on local SA radio stations. As a result of his studies Dr Henderson is able to provide a unique psychological perspective on spirituality in his books and articles.