People often believe contemplation is the same as thinking about something. But when I use the word it means rather ‘contemplating what an existing condition is like’. If you feel angry or resentful, contemplate that feeling. This isn’t to say you should try to figure out why or where the feeling came from, but look at the way it is. Let it be and notice what it feels like as an experience in the present.
The three characteristics of impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and not-self (anatta) are the guiding suggestions. Not in the sense of going around thinking that anger is just impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self, or to project those ideas onto experience, but to look at impermanence and to contemplate it. I remember noticing the passage of time—of how the sun rises and sets—and using impermanence as a subject to contemplate for the day or for several days. We can notice visual change and sound. When an aeroplane flies over or somebody says something, for example, we can be aware of how sound is very definitely impermanent, fleeting, ephemeral. And taste and touch—are these things permanent? No! (more…)
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