Concentration, Meditation and Contemplation
““All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Concentration: An accumulation of focused awareness achieved through limiting the attention to particular objects or phenomenon. Most practices that are called meditations involve concentration as a gateway to meditation. Walking in Spirit, (WIS), is a walking meditation and we begin by placing our attention on our internal experience and feelings.
Many of us come from towns and cities and have busy lives that keep our minds and emotions constantly stimulated. WIS is a rare opportunity and invitation to let go of all that and relax into who we really are beyond the personality. It often takes a couple of days to calm the mind but silently and mindfully walking in beautiful, wild nature makes it almost inevitable. Busy minds calm easily in the tranquility of the forests and mountains of Somiedo Natural Park.
Conserving the awareness of internal feelings, we extend our attention outward and include our sensory perceptions of the external world. In this way we initiate an uninterrupted internal/external experience that allows perception to land in the living sensation unfiltered by the mind. The goal is to hear-feel, to see-feel, to taste and smell-feel and, ultimately to FEEL-FEEL. In this way we move towards, not so much a meeting of mind with nature but, a meeting of nature with nature! Intuition!
Any time in Nature has the potential to be meditation. When we put our full attention on what is around us — the sounds, the sights the smells and the feelings – without labeling them and becoming mentally involved with them, we can begin to develop meditation. Notice how the mind wants to identify and evaluate things but do so from another perspective. When thoughts and impressions come in, simply let them come and go without your involvement. Let the experience of being alive in this moment be what it is without comparing it to some other situation or experience. When you become aware that your attention has been captured by your mind, bring it back to your sensory experience of the natural world. It’s not hard… it’s so beautiful out there.
Meditation: Strictly speaking, meditation is those moments where awareness detaches itself completely from personality and thinking. Like a drop of water falling into an ocean, it becomes a part of a greater presence that, even though it retains a fragrance of individuality, is rooted in the collective and transpersonal all. This is ego death! Even concentration now becomes unnecessary as there is no I to do the concentrating. This is the flow-state where actions are propelled and guided by intuition and everything is revealed as synchronous. I call this state the sacred reciprocity ritual of the continuous, spontaneous!
Contemplation: From the transpersonal state of meditation it is possible to deliberately reconnect with the I and examine life situations, dilemmas and problems in a much more creative and intuitive way. It is now that the real challenges that we face as individuals can be revealed along with solutions and future possibilities and purposes.
Walking in Spirit is a 7-day silent walking retreat in Somiedo Natural Park, Asturias, Spain. Next retreat is June 9th-15th. See site for details.