Contemplative practices vary and emerge from diverse traditions. As disciplines of body and mind, they share a number of features:
Contemplative practices have figured prominently in religious, philosophical, and humanistic traditions since antiquity. The boundary that defines what falls within the category of contemplative practices is somewhat hazy, but from a general perspective, we can say that this form of training emphasizes self-awareness, self-regulation, and/or self-inquiry to enact a process of psychological transformation. These practices thus involve some form of mental training, even when they also involve physical movement or dialogue-based exercises. Although contextualized differently among the traditions that use them, contemplative practices are typically viewed as practical methods to bring about a state of enduring well-being or inner flourishing.
- Davidson, R. J., Dahl, C. J. (2016). Varieties of Contemplative Practice. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3469.
Image by Maia Duerr and Carrie Bergman, courtesy of CMind, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree), used with permission.
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