So I have decided to replace the linear mindset I have been practicing all my life with a different mindset.
And while I’m at it I’m going to throw out other related mindsets, like the personal/impersonal mindset (and the idea that anything is not both) and the private/public (the idea that anything is not public).
I’m going to practice an active/contemplative mindset.
It means I’m here, I’m engaged to the degree I can be and paying attention to the physical and mental experience of life without endowing them with illusory constructions and the appearance of inevitability- and that I am going to reflect, and experience my feelings, and lift both in my thinking/feeling to deeper consideration drawn from both the physical and mental experience of life.
And why am I doing this? Because I don’t want to be robbed of my moments any longer. I don’t want the many wonderful experiences of connection in love, for example, to be relegated to the scripts of loss, or regret, because of a completely false way of thinking about our life in time and space.
You see, we are essentially born creatures of action/reaction. Right from our earliest moment on earth we are acting and reacting to stimuli both around us and within us. This action/reaction process carries on in all those bodily functions we take for granted and don’t have to think about except when they go wrong.
And if this constant action/reaction process was all there was to life our experience of life would be like a game where you are at the mercy of whatever prompts your response.
But fortunately we were born with another faculty- reflection. So as we are experiencing other people in relationships and events we are making representations of these in our mind. Then we begin slowly to reflect on certain patterns of representation and choose how we are going to act, perhaps choosing to do differently to achieve different ends sometimes.
So the seeds of the contemplative process are there from the beginning, as are the beginnings of our sense of purpose. For as we practice reflection in our life- sorting through values and beliefs in self-awareness- purpose arises along with the sense that there may be a design to our life and we were put here to do something with our lives.
Without an active/contemplative approach to one’s own life you won’t have the quiet and space within yourself to discern the movement of these inner practices. And if you buy in to appearances, namely the linear mindset, you will be drawn to do more and more of your searching for answers in the external world- as well as more and more blaming of other people and events for what is stopping your life from going the way you want it to go.
Consider as well that we live in a marvelous natural world that is doing basically the same attempts at homeostasis as our bodies are constantly, and the same processes of action/reaction- reflection in its ecosystems as our minds are doing…
And there is suddenly something very active and very contemplative going on all around and all within us just in the act of being here.