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The Four Stages of Advanced Contemplation

aka thinking about stuff is an ancient practice

Like a lot of authors, I write because there are so many ideas packed in my thought.

When it’s all going well, writing and sharing them creates a flow like a well oiled machine. Ideas percolate…I write about them…new ideas generate and mature…I write about them…

Fellow introverts can especially relate to these concepts of contemplation, but maybe you didn’t know that contemplation is an ancient practice, and there’s a progression to the process.

The stages were identified and named by ancient yogis and I’ll keep my summary short. Then you can go about your day and contemplate it!

Sravana

Sravana means listening. Picture a student sitting at the feet of the teacher and taking in every word.

In sravana you’re taking in or absorbing without interaction.

Today we’re not typically sitting at the feet of a teacher, but instead we’re reading a blog article or a book, watching a YouTube video, listening to a podcast, or sitting in a seminar.

Whatever the format, we’re absorbing the information without chewing on it or analyzing it. That comes next.

Manana

Manana is the “chewing on it” phase. We use our words to talk it through, maybe internally or maybe with others.

It’s a state of contemplation without joy or grief.

You may watch that video over and over again while you continue to work through it in your own thought.

In manana we use our language, our words and narration to ponder what we’ve just absorbed.

Nididhyasana

In nididhyasana the words fade away. You’ve been absorbed into the meaning.

Like cradling your newborn baby, you don’t have to say a single word or think a single thought to be deep in an overwhelming sense and state of love.

It’s silent because the understanding is beyond words. It’s formless, wordless insight.

You’re no longer thinking, you just are. Information has become knowledge. This is nididhyasana.

Sakshatkara

Finally the wondering and the activity of the mind falls away.

You’ve taken it all in, you’ve pondered and contemplated, you’ve been absorbed in the meaning and feeling, and now there are no more questions.

Sakshatkara moves beyond the individual insight. It’s beyond the functioning of the human mind.

The questions disappear, not because you’ve humanly answered them all but because they’ve been resolved.

It’s a state of self realization. You are one with the universal consciousness.

It’s likely you’ve been practicing the ancient art of contemplation your entire life.

Naming the stages and understanding the differences can act like a road map for you as you move along your spiritual journey.

Thanks for reading, and you may enjoy this piece too:

Isn’t Wondering Just the Same Thing as Worrying?
I’m asking for a friend

Enjoy!

I made a 5-day Guide to Mastering Happiness, and it’s yours for free! Click here to get the guide for free!

Originally published in Change Your Mind Change Your Life at Medium.com

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