The contemplative life

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Lately, I felt an inner ache for a more peaceful and contemplative life. Over the last year, something has shifted inside me and my focuses have changed. Expanded, maybe. I want to be wholesome, not exclusive. After thinking a lot about how “small is wonderful” I began to cherish life in the smallest ways, to the biggest ways – in all the ways that life comes.

I have been contemplating how to live a bright, vibrant life and what this means to me. For me, this means to live with consciousness and presence.

To open up each moment and live in the essence of it. To pursue the quiet pastimes of reading, writing, thinking. I used to do a lot of that a few years ago, but as I started getting busy with other things (and sometimes busy with the wrong things), my practices of contemplation and solitude fell away. There’s nothing wrong with “busy”. But I want to be conscious of my “busy”. And I want to be happy during my “busy”.

If you want to change how your life feels there is a process to it. You first have to make the commitment to creating what you truly care about. In this way, your mind becomes organized and focused. Once your mind is focused, your emotions and feelings begin to re-arrange and organize themselves. Then comes your body and your vital life energies. They re-orient themselves to what you have focused on. Once these elements are pointing in the direction that you have committed to, your ability to create and manifest is awakened. And life will being to feel the way you want it to.

I would like to share with you some notes I written on what it is to live a quiet, contemplative life.

 

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Quieten

This means to quieten our thoughts, our mind, our emotions. Turn the dial down on the sharpness of life. Live Hushed and be comfortable with silence.

Listen

To listen more. To be totally absorbed in listening. To stop my incessant running commentary of life. To be there more for another person. To listen to their stories. To listen to uplifting words and to only speak the words that grow wings on the back of the listener. To listen to the sounds of nature, the birds singing, the wind amongst the leaves. To listen to spiritual music, divine sounds.

Read

To curl up with a book on a Sunday afternoon, under the grey light of the late autumn sun. To read books that fill us with hope. To build stories in your mind. To read divine wisdom and gorgeous prose.

 Write

To sit at the table and handwrite a story, a letter, a poem, a diary entry, a prayer, a wish list.

Contemplate

 To lay on your bed with nothing but the sound of rain drops against your window pane and melodies of your thoughts and feelings.  To contemplate true love, happiness, aspirations, values, dreams, hopes, the magnificence of life. To consider the feelings of others, your dharma, your next step.

To face difficult thoughts, inner challenges with bravery. To know yourself intimately. To observe your thoughts without judgement and to choose which ones to keep and which ones to let go.
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Prayer
Beginning and ending each day in prayer. To live each day as a prayer. An ache. A dedication to something sacred.
Meditate
Spending time in stillness, washed and cleansed by the golden light of the divine.
Gentle
To practice non violence; non violence in words, thoughts and deed. To be a gentle presence. To come and go swiftly, and with ease, like a soft warm breeze.
Presence
To melt into every moment. To pay attention on life flowing around you. To become part of humanity. To do what ever is required of you in that very moment and do it well and with heart. To be there for someone or something. To truly be there. To see things with clarity. To be born again in every moment.
Simplicity
 
Simplifying your routines, your day, your heart and your mind. Finding the essence of it all. Have only things that you love and add value and beauty to your life.
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Wholesome
 Whole foods and wholesome heart. Let everything in our life be as organic, pure and wholesome as it can be.
Nature
Revelling in how glorious nature is. Hand picking flowers. Adoring earth. Growing and helping things grow. Watching the seasons change. Learning to love the rain.
Sunrise
To stop ignoring a miracle that happens every morning. To share a sunset with someone we love. Or in solitude. To wake up with the earth. To perform sun salutations each morning. To live with the cycle of the sun.
Beauty
Always looking for the beauty in everything around us. To create something beautiful in this life time and in this world. To make beauty our craft.
Appreciation
To think about what we are grateful for. To share that gratitude. To write a thank you note. To make a phone call. To show up at a doorstep with home made jam or hand picked flowers or a warm hug.
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Walks
Go for walks, just you and the road.  Listen to something pleasant. Think pleasant thoughts. Become inspired by nature and life as it happens around you. Just walk. Just walk with no particular destination in mind. Walk and walk and walk until you want to come back home.
Friendships
 
To be a better friend.  To truly listen to a friend and exist in their world. To cherish your friend and the friendship they bring. To sit with a friend, to laugh together and share stories.
Fresh, Bright, Vibrant
 
To open your windows and the let the sunlight and freshness pour into your room. To keep our internal energies vibrant and pure. To live in holy cleanliness.  To renew our inner energies and our surroundings.
Silence
Spend some part of your day in silence. We live in such an overstimulated world, where life in silence feels not only uncomfortable but unbearable sometimes. But be silent anyway. Listen to the sounds that happen around you naturally. Birds singing, wind in the leaves, laughter, distant conversations, footsteps, the sound of your own breath.
 I have learned that the only time we can truly listen, is when we are silent.
Peace
Create peace around you, and make your life glow with peace. Try to resolve all conflict situations with your peaceful energy and intentions. Step away from conflicts. Focus on peace instead. Let things be. Let people be. Let life happen. Accept reality with love and open arms. This is reality. Choose peace.
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Calm
Try to everything you need to do calmly. Fold your laundry calmly. Cut the vegetables for dinner calmly.  Face uncomfortable situations calmly. Speak calmly. Make decisions calmly. Think calmly.
Space
Create space in your life, both physically and metaphorically. De clutter your home. Create space in your home. Let the energies flow. Create space in your life for the new to enter. Opportunities need space to grow. Be open.
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Just some ideas for us to think about this Sunday. Sundays are always my most slow paced and contemplative day of the week. I would like to let this energy leak and spill into the rest of the week too. 
Take care,
Malavika xo

5 thoughts on “The contemplative life

  1. Laura says:

    I’m going to prin it to re-read it, because your post is full of wisdom to apply everyday, little by little, to our lives till that becomes a nice routine. Thanks

    Laura

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  2. turbulenttwilight says:

    Hello,I stumbled on your blog and found it interesting and many of your perspectives are something I can really identity with in this phase of my life. What are your thoughts on free will and karma. If karma dictates that you are going to be such and such a person with specific attributes and a certain trajectory for life, how much can free will change that? After all isnt how strong or weak your will power is,also a part of your karma? A samskara?

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    • Malavika says:

      Hello,

      I think this is such a good question.

      The law of Karma is quite a complex topic and I still have a lot of learn, experience and decide for myself about it.

      I believe that all that happens (or does not happen) is due to the force of Karma.

      I believe we have power over our destiny, and we can work off our karma and lighten it’s load on us. When we face especially karmically entangled situations where the karmic ties run deep, it can be difficult to exert that free will, though it is possible, and important that we do.

      Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has a quote on this “Rain is destiny. Whether we get wet or not is free will”

      So I do think that everything about us and our life is a part of our Karma (as you said), but I believe we have to ability to increase of decrease our capacities. And it is important that we break through the cycle of Karma. Cycles don’t progress. They just go round and round in circles. Something has to change, to advance, to improve in order for us to advance on our spiritual path.

      I don’t think we need to think too much about Karma, our karma or the karma of others. I think we just need to live our life in the best way that we can, and always try to break past deeply ingrained cycles. It’s like gravity. It is a powerful force that we experience every day of our life, but not one that we think about every day.

      You have inspired me to collect my thoughts on this topic and share it in a post! Thank you so much for that. Also, what do you think about my thoughts on Karma? What are your thoughts?

      Like

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