Is there a relation, Sweet Mother, between concentration and contemplation?
There can always be a relation between everything, but usually one means by contemplation a kind of opening upwards. It is rather a state of passive opening upwards. It is a fairly passive form of aspiration. One makes this movement rather like something opening, opening in an aspiration; but if the contemplation is sufficiently total, it becomes a concentration. Yet it is not necessarily a concentration.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 7, pp. 273 – 74
In the perfect silence of the contemplation all widens to infinity, and in the perfect peace of that silence the Divine appears in the resplendent glory of His light.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II: CWM, Vol. 14, p.142
What is real meditation then?
It is an active and deliberate concentration on the Divine Presence and a sustained, alert contemplation of that Sublime Reality.
The Mother – More Answers from the Mother: CWM,Vol. 17, p. 24
A single day spent in contemplation of the supreme Truth is worth more than a hundred years lived in ignorance of the supreme Truth.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 3, p. 227
If you remain in meditation or contemplation without working, well, you don’t know if you have progressed or not. You may live in an illusion, the illusion of your progress; while if you begin to work, all the circumstances of your work, the contact with others, the material occupation, all this is a field of experience in order that you may become aware not only of the progress made but of all the progress that remains to be made. If you live closed up in yourself, without acting, you may live in a completely subjective illusion; the moment you externalise your action and enter into contact with others, with circumstances and the objects of life, you become aware absolutely objectively of whether you have made progress or not, whether you are more calm, more conscious, stronger, more unselfish, whether you no longer have any desire, any preference, any weakness, any unfaithfulness—you can become aware of all this by working. But if you remain enclosed in a meditation that’s altogether personal, you may enter into a total illusion and never come out of it, and believe that you have realised extraordinary things, while really you have only the impression, the illusion that you have done so.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 7, p. 287 – 88
Ignorance is dispelled by a growing consciousness; what you need is consciousness and always more consciousness, a consciousness pure, simple and luminous. In the light of this perfected consciousness, things appear as they are and not as they want to appear. It is like a screen faithfully recording all things as they pass. You see there what is luminous and what is dark, what is straight and what is crooked. Your consciousness becomes a screen or mirror; but this is when you are in a state of contemplation, a mere observer; when you are active, it is like a searchlight. You have only to turn it on, if you want to see luminously and examine penetratingly anything in any place.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 3, p. 101
Art is nothing less in its fundamental truth than the aspect of beauty of the Divine manifestation. Perhaps, looking from this standpoint, there will be found very few true artists; but still there are some and these can very well be considered as Yogis. For like a Yogi an artist goes into deep contemplation to await and receive his inspiration. To create something truly beautiful, he has first to see it within, to realise it as a whole in his inner consciousness; only when so found, seen, held within, can he execute it outwardly; he creates according to this greater inner vision. This too is a kind of yogic discipline, for by it he enters into intimate communion with the inner worlds….
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 3, p. 110
There are two words used in English to express the Indian idea of Dhyana, “meditation” and “contemplation”. Meditation means properly the concentration of the mind on a single
train of ideas which work out a single subject. Contemplation means regarding mentally a single object, image, idea so that the knowledge about the object, image or idea may arise naturally in the mind by force of the concentration. Both these things are forms of dhyana; for the principle of dhyana is mental concentration whether in thought, vision or knowledge.
Meditation is the easiest process for the human mind, but the narrowest in its results; contemplation more difficult, but greater; self-observation and liberation from the chains of Thought the most difficult of all, but the widest and greatest in its fruits. One can choose any of them according to one’s bent and capacity. The perfect method is to use them all, each in its own place and for its own object; but this would need a fixed faith and firm patience and a great energy of Will in the self-application to the Yoga.
2) What should be the objects or ideas for meditation?
Whatever is most consonant with your nature and highest aspirations. But if you ask me for an absolute answer, then I must say that Brahman is always the best object for meditation or contemplation, and the idea on which the mind should fix is that of God in all, all in God and all as God. It does not matter essentially whether it is the Impersonal or the Personal God or, subjectively, the One Self. But this is the idea I have found the best, because it is the highest and embraces all other truths, whether truths of this world or of the other worlds or beyond all phenomenal existence,—”All this is the Brahman.”
Sri Aurobindo – Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest: CWSA,Vol. 36, pp. 293 – 94
…. correct contemplation. Egoless thought concentrated on the essence of things, on the inmost truth and on the goal to be attained.
How often there is a kind of emptiness in the course of life, an unoccupied moment, a few minutes, sometimes more. And what do you do? Immediately you try to distract yourself, and you invent some foolishness or other to pass your time. That is a common fact. All men, from the youngest to the oldest, spend most of their time in trying not to be bored. Their pet aversion is boredom and the way to escape from boredom is to act foolishly.
Well, there is a better way than that—to remember.
When you have a little time, whether it is one hour or a few minutes, tell yourself, “At last, I have some time to concentrate, to collect myself, to relive the purpose of my life, to offer myself to the True and the Eternal.” If you took care to do this each time you are not harassed by outer circumstances, you would find out that you were advancing very quickly on the path. Instead of wasting your time in chattering, in doing useless things, reading things that lower the consciousness….is better to be moderate, balanced, patient, quiet, but never to lose an opportunity that is given to you, that is to say, to utilise for the true purpose the unoccupied moment before you.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 3, p. 250
“The number of hours spent in meditation is no proof of spiritual progress. It is a proof of your progress when you no longer have to make an effort to meditate.”
Questions and Answers 1929 (21 April)
That is, instead of being in a state of tension, instead of making a tremendous effort to silence the inner machine and be able to concentrate your thought upon what you want, when you do it quite simply, naturally, without effort, automatically, and you decide to meditate for some reason or other, what you want to see, learn or know remains in your consciousness and all the rest disappears as by a miracle; everything falls quiet in you, all your being becomes silent, your nerves are altogether soothed, your consciousness is wholly concentrated —naturally, spontaneously—and you enter with an intense delight into a yet more intense contemplation.
This is the sign that you have succeeded; otherwise it is not the thing.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 4, pp. 120 – 21
—not its appearance, for apparently it will be the same thing, but its quality. And life will change its quality, and you, you will feel a little different from what you were, with a peace, a certitude, an inner calm, an unchanging force, something which never gives way.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM,Vol. 4, p. 121 – 22
…man’s present nature is limited, divided, unequal,—it is easiest for him to concentrate in the strongest part of his being and follow a definite line of progress proper to his nature: only rare individuals have the strength to take a large immediate plunge straight into the sea of the Divine Infinity. Some therefore must choose as a starting point a concentration in thought or contemplation or the mind’s one-pointedness to find the eternal reality of the Self in them; others can more easily withdraw into the heart to meet there the Divine, the Eternal: yet others are predominantly dynamic and active; for these it is best to centre themselves in the will and enlarge their being through works. United with the Self and source of all by their surrender of their will into its infinity, guided in their works by the secret Divinity within or surrendered to the Lord of the cosmic action as the master and mover of all their energies of thought, feeling, act, becoming by this enlargement of being selfless and universal, they can reach by works some first fullness of a spiritual status….
Sri Aurobindo – The Synthesis of Yoga – I: CWSA, Vol. 23, p. 279
…. The mind is a thing that dwells in diffusion, in succession; it can only concentrate on one thing at a time and when not concentrated runs from one thing to another very
much at random. Therefore it has to concentrate on a single idea, a single subject of meditation, a single object of contemplation, a single object of will in order to possess or master it, and this it must do to at least the temporary exclusion of all others. But that which is beyond the mind and into which we seek to rise is superior to the running process of the thought, superior to the division of ideas. The Divine is centred in itself and when it throws out ideas and activities does not divide itself or imprison itself in them, but holds them and their movement in its infinity; undivided, its whole self is behind each Idea and each movement and at the same time behind all of them together….
Sri Aurobindo – The Synthesis of Yoga – I: CWSA, Vol. 23, p. 322
…. Contemplation of God in Nature, contemplation and service of God in man and in the life of man and of the world in its past, present and future, are equally elements of which the Yoga of knowledge can make use to complete the realisation of God in all things. Only, all is directed to the one aim, directed towards God, filled with the idea of the divine, infinite, universal existence so that the outward-going, sensuous, pragmatical preoccupation of the lower knowledge with phenomena and forms is replaced by the one divine preoccupation….
Sri Aurobindo – The Synthesis of Yoga – I: CWSA, Vol. 23, p. 517 – 18
Contemplation of the Divine
Occupied exclusively with its joyful contemplation.
Mildly fragrant single salverform flower with five separated petals that are light pink with white on one edge and with a delicate fringed corona; borne in loose cymes. A prolific flowering shrub with stiff lanceolate leaves.
The Mother – Spiritual significance of flowers