Contemplative Practices, How Useful Are They?

Contemplative Practice? What is it anyway?

According to Jared Kass, Ph. D. Director of the Institute for Contemplative Education, “contemplative practice is an experiential mode of learning and self-inquiry.”  While according to studenthealth.missouri.edu on Stress Management, “contemplative practices are practical and transformative which allow for the development of skills for quieting the mind in the midst of our hectic lives.”

According to Jared Kass, there are two major types of contemplative practice:

(1) Contemplation of behavior.

This is the type wherein contemplative practice teaches us to examine and change destructive forms of behavior. When stressed out, angry, or afraid, we tend to act on impulse, more often in ways that harm others or in which we will regret later on. On such times, contemplative practices can be a resource to regulate destructive emotions, make thoughtful decisions, develop a more focused mind, and deepen inner peace.

(2) Elevation of awareness.

The second type is about using meditation, prayer, the arts, and observation of the natural world (and many other techniques) that can help us restore our ability to rise above our anxieties, and to perceive life’s mystery and beauty. Contemplative practice can become a vehicle for a deeper relationship with God.

More research into contemplative practices revealed that the fields of psychology, medicine, and education have already recognized that contemplative practice can contribute to well-being and maturation, as Jared Kass said.  Even business industries already recognize the use of contemplative practices as good leadership skills.

An article Sophie Lambin published on LinkedIn entitled “Changing Minds – Unlocking Leadership Through Contemplative Practices” tells about the benefits of contemplative practices and how leaders can unlock their potential for themselves, their employees and ultimately for the performance of their companies.

Contemplative practices can open for us a wider venue that can help us develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve our focus and attention, reduce stress and enhance creativity, supporting a loving and compassionate approach to life (www.contemplativemind.org/practices).

A few minutes is all what it takes to set a different mindset each day.  If only we can start the day right in that just few minutes by meditating or making use of other contemplative practices (yoga, tai chi, even writing), we can already make a world of difference in how we react on certain situations that assail us in our daily lives.

It only takes a few seconds to completely destroy our day but with a positive mindset at the start, our reaction to any situation is quite different than when we let our emotions run wild.
A calmer disposition at any given stressful occasion is worth striving for than taking medication pills for high blood pressure. As Bill George, a Harvard Business School Professor, said, it’s a choice between “meditation or medication.”

How about you? What is your choice?

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Stress, How Dare You? (Poetry)

  • Each of us has our own way of coping for stress
  • Some rant and rave, some simply fall in great distress,
  • Some cry in defeat, anger or deep frustration,
  • And some laugh it off in fervent aspiration.
  • Stress, how dare you, to make people suffer greatly?
  • You are one wicked lady affecting many
  • Whose emotions you provoke very easily
  • And thus tamper with their lives so very rudely.
  • But with an indomitable spirit, we can
  • Probably beat this depressing ugly madam
  • So with positive thoughts, let’s face stress, we should not run
  • Let’s blow it away with a demeanor so calm..

You and I (Poetry)

  • You are a gift from God to me,
  • You are part of my destiny,
  • Let me tell you this honestly,
  • Forever, together we will be. 
  • Wirh all of my reasons to live,
  • With all of my heart to give,
  • I want to shower you with love,
  • With all of me and heavens above.
  • You and I, we will create,
  • A world that is, for us, so great,
  • That no one can imitate,
  • No evil can penetrate.
  • You are the pillar of my strength!
  • Will you be there to what extent?
  • Can I entrust my everything?
  • Will you love me, until the end?
  •  You and I, we will create,
  • A world that is, for us so great,
  • That no one can imitate,
  • No evil can penetrate.
  • Can I trust you, with all of me?
  • Will you love me for eternity?

    Everything Happens for a Reason 

    Have you ever wondered why things that we deemed bizarre or seemed impossible to happen, happen?   For example, that news of a piglet born with the face of a monkey in China.(https://www.google.com.ph/amp/s/www.thesun.co.uk/news/2356772/bizarre-piglet-with-the-face-of-a-monkey-born-in-china-but-family-decide-to-raise-it-like-a-baby/amp/). 
    Or have you ever asked yourself why God allows war, famine, grief, or corruption to exist?

    It is said that everything in this world has a reason for its being.  Be it something that makes us laugh or cry, flare up or calm down, amazed or horrified.  

    So, let us ponder for a while what some of these things that could have an impact on our lives or what purpose they may serve. 

    1.  Life hurdles.

          “Life’s hurdles are so much like a hurdle race.”  Well, that quote sums it up.  If one has to see the end of that race, one has to jump over each hurdle placed on the path to the finish line with lithe and grace within the time set or ahead of it to become the winner.  

          To face life’s hurdles, each trials thrown our way must be overcome with a positive attitude and rosy outlook in life.  Each hurdle will be more difficult as before.   Each jump will be as painful as the next, or even more.  

           Remember:  life’s hurdles are there to be tackled or jumped over, not evaded, for through each painful experience, we learn and become a much better person.  

    2.  Standing up.

          Attention!  

          Isn’t that always equivalent to getting anyone to turn their eyes on you, or get them to stand up and become alert?   

          Just like getting someone aware of what you wish to say, it also pays to get yourself always in attention and ready to face whatever life brings your way.  No one really cares enough to push anyone at anything.  Or if there are, there can only be a few of them and an encounter with them in your lifetime is but a few.  So to reach one’s destination, one must first take a stand and go for it.

    3.  First step.

          No adventure is taken.  No task is accomplished.  No goal is reached.  No one ever succeeds. That is, without taking that first courageous step to achieve something.  

          If life is like a hurdle race, taking that first step is the bravest thing one can make to start up the game. Just like a baby when it first let go of the hands guiding it, it may wobble and feel uncertain, but as it gain confidence being able to stand up on its own feet, taking the first step must be quite an achievement.

          Life is a never-ending learning process.  So if life is, let’s say, like learning swimming, one must take that jump on the cold water first.  So take that plunge!

    4.  Finish line.

          Goal.  Dream.  Success.  Whatever you want to call it.  

          One never steps on a starting line unless one meant to finish it, or do you?   

          As we walk on this journey we call life, we set for ourselves goals after goals.  As we grow older, our goals become bigger and harder to achieve.  We try to test ourselves how deeper we can go or how higher we can reach.  

          Some people become more aggressive, more ambitious, greedier.  Some have to fight their way through just to survive, while some just breeze through it without breaking sweat.  But, by whatever means, each of us will strive towards reaching that finish line we set out ahead for ourselves.

    5.  Pain.

          Going through life, weaving our way through it, facing one trial after another, pain is but a part and parcel of our lives.

           People, though, have a tendency to ignore discomfort and pain until it becomes unbearable.  Are they just masochistic enough to bear pain until they cannot take any more?

          It’s just that people seemed to forget or chose not to acknowledge the fact that if there is pain, there can be an underlying cause for it.  Oftentimes, to only find out later, that is, very, very much later, that they are already suffering from a very serious problem.  

          Remember, pain is our own body’s alarm system, a warning signal, that something is amiss, that our body needs attention or that we just need plain rest for over-extending ourselves.

    I can go on and on about many other things that we either ignore or take for granted, yet, all these are but examples of things in our lives that have their purposes which comprise the entire cycle of our existence.  

    The mere fact we are alive right at this moment has a purpose.  So, what do you think is the purpose of your own existence?

    Tips for an Organized Day

    It’s a hectic world we live in, don’t you think?  Having to juggle time between work, family and our passion (for me, it is writing) is quite a feat, that being able to make this post on schedule is already such an achievement.  Don’t you feel like there is no enough time for us to do everything we meant or wanted to do?

    Don’t you wish and pray each morning that your day will go smoothly?  As a parent, don’t you always reprimand your children for being disorganized?  As a common citizen, don’t you wish there is order in how the government does things?  

    In short, we always wish that everything should be in order and organized.  Even if we cannot make the world agree and follow our wishes, should we not at least take charge of our own lives?

    Here are tips for a more organized day:

    1.  Pray.

          Before we start with anything in mind, we should first seek silence in our mind and talk with God, asking for His wisdom, blessing and guidance in everything we plan to do.  We should pray before planning, before the execution of the plan and after everything has been done at the end of the day.

    2.  Create a list.

          On the night before, make a list of what you plan to do the following day, either in your mind or (if you have a tendency to forget what you have resolved in your mind),  a reminder in your cellphone or on a notebook.

    3.  Adhere to the list.

          That list may not be all perfect but you should try to adhere to it as much as possible.  No good planning ever succeeds without concerted effort being put into it. There must be conviction and adherence to the plans and rules we have set up for everything to go as smoothly as we wish it to be.

    4.  Be prepared for any contingencies.

          No matter how much we plan though, there are times that some things go haywire.  Do not panic! Calm yourself!  Try to settle such contingencies as fast as possible so it won’t displace so much of what you already planned for the day.  If it is something that would take so much of your precious time, then if possible, place it among your priorities the following day when you create another list at the end of the day.

    5.  Be positive.

          No matter whatever events that may happen during the day that may disrupt our carefully planned schedule, just always look at the bright side of things.  As long as we know how to handle ourselves in the face of adversity, nothing is insurmountable.  Think positively.  Act positively.

    All of these tips come down to a firm hold of our own senses, a firm belief that giving our mind and heart to a task we set for ourselves will bring the expected result, as well as a confirmation of our faith not only in ourselves but also in the divine guidance of someone above us.

    May these tips help you, my dear readers, in finding your own set of rules to follow to make your day more organized.  Have smooth-sailing days from now on, everyone!!!  See you again next week on my next post.

    (Please like and share this post.  I would love to read comments as well.)


    A Piece of My Mind

    A passion for writing. 

    This is the driving force that has always urged me secretly, an ardent desire to share my thoughts to the world in general about anything under the sun, a burning flame to raze a path I could traverse on my own.

    Ever since I was in elementary school and was able to create a two-liner poem, I felt I really got the talent for it.  In high school, I got to join writing contests and even won some.of it.  I went to places like Sta. Barbara, Iloilo. Tacloban, Leyte and even Baguio City as Regional and National Contestant for Feature Writing.  Wow!  I said to myself.  I have God-given talent.  This must not come to waste.  When I was in college, I get to fully appreciate the fact that God gave it to me to grab the opportunity to make use of my talent to continue my studies.  I was a Feature Writer on my first year and second year in college.  Won a place in the Editorial Writing Contest and was even able to go to Boracay as a member/writer of The Eagles during those years then became the Editor-in-Chief of a departmentalized school paper, El Commerciante, during my fourth year which gave me a full scholarship to finish my studies as a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree-holder.

    After college, finding a job, getting married and having a family made life busy.  My aspiration to create a Masterpiece got swept under the rug.  Immersed in the day-to-day struggle of making ends meet, thoughts of writing totally fled out of my mind.

    Years later, my eldest daughter told me about Wattpad.  I joined the site on August 2013, published two completed stories in Tagalog and have three on-going stories, two of which are written in English.

    I could say it is the ultimate answer to my deepest wish but it is not going as well as I expected.  I get mental-blocked, or I’m just too tired to think what to write next, or I’m just plain lazy.  Well, I could line up a list of reasons but won’t it come down to just plain alibis?

    Then, I began to follow some interesting blog writers in LinkedIn.com, particularly Anders Liu-Lindberg, who somewhat with his articles made me feel like I wish to become a blog writer myself. 

    Also in LinkedIn, I met a self-published author, Joseph Rogers, who kindly told me about WordPress. 

    To make the story short, I am here now at WordPress after so much twists and turns and hopefully pave my own way here, create pieces of work people can relate to, works of art that came from “a piece of my mind.”