A dear friend came to visit me recently. We have been friends for sixteen years, and for whatever reason, our paths continuously keep crossing and weaving new patterns in new places. We both found it curious, despite being far apart and living different lives, how similar our life paths have become. Over delicious meals and long walks on the beach, we agreed the most valuable treasure we desire at this stage of our lives is peace of mind. This led to invigorating conversations on how to attain a peaceful mind as we both shared our personal perspectives. For him, a peaceful mind depended upon a steady flow of positive thoughts along with a conscious mind, body, spirit connection. For me, the choice to slow down my mercurial Virgo mind by making time and space for contemplation was gifting me with a peaceful mind.

We talked at length about the challenge to have peace of mind in our current, crazy world where everything seems to be precariously at the tipping point of imbalance. In a world where corruption, greed, poverty, disease, conflict, violence, economic instability, environmental destruction, animal extinction and resource depletion are all the norm, how does one rest the mind? We confirmed how hard it was to consistently nurture positive thoughts when the global, and often local, environment could feel so negative. At the end of the day, it all comes down to choice. We have to choose to believe in the power of positive thinking. We all know how easy it is to succumb to negative thoughts when our bank account is empty, our relationship is rocking and our dreams elude us. Negative thoughts, despite how justified we may feel in having them, are a waste of energy. For a brief time, they may serve us with lessons we need to learn. If we get stuck in negative thinking, we will create a negative reality for ourselves. Our work is to consciously witness our tendencies and patterns towards negative thoughts, and choose to replace them with the positive. Good thoughts keep us in the flow of higher vibrations from which we can attract and manifest more possibilities for the life we want. Negative thoughts produce lower vibrations which limit the natural flow of all the good things life has to offer. if we place our faith in this invisible flow, nurture it with good thoughts, we can trust the inevitable outcome will be positive, no matter what.

We cannot achieve peace of mind solely through the mind for we are more than our minds. We are spiritual beings in physical bodies. We must consider the whole mind, body, spirit connection. If it is true that everything is energy, then we are essentially energy beings. We take in energy around us through our senses, and these sensations translate into our thoughts. If our sensory experience of life feels good, then we will have positive thoughts. Likewise, if our sensory experience of life does not feel good, we tend to negative thinking. If much of what we experience in life does not feel good, we can overcome this by allowing ourselves to feel the beauty, joy and goodness whenever and wherever possible. For me, I look for all the good in life even when my mind is trying to pull me down, When I can allow myself to embody these good sensations, my mind begins to rest while a soothing trust tells me all is just as it is meant to be. It is a state of grateful acceptance.

I am reminded at this moment of a favorite movie, Chocolat, where the French village official prides himself on his restraint from chocolate sweets, only to inevitably find himself ungracefully immersed in a store front window full of chocolate delights. When we are feeling deprived of life’s gifts and pleasures, it is time to examine where and why we are shutting down to our senses, time to observe our thoughts.

Though we are spiritual beings having a human experience, the spirit component is frequently overshadowed by the mind and body components. We too often measure and judge the state of our lives by our intelligence and the appearance of our bodies, while the light of our spirit remains hidden. The mind body spirit connection is a mystery, and to understand it we must embrace each component. Our imbalances result from the separation we allow within ourselves, and thus in the world. When we are physically sick, our healing needs our mind and spirit. When we are mentally depressed or stressed, our healing requires our body and spirit. And when we are spiritually empty, our healing needs our mind and body. Our mind body spirit connection is divinely woven to create the “whole” within us, and our threads are linked to one another and all of life.

Dragonfly reminds us that we evolve out of the emotional darkness into the spiritual light. We molt, and grow, through our senses, feelings and thoughts until one day our bodies grow wings to fly.

Meditation has become a popular practice to help people turn their focus inward and quiet the mind. I personally do not believe one can ever quiet the mind. As long as we are alive, taking in bodily sensations around us, the mind is at work processing those sensations. Certainly, if we sit on a quiet mountaintop, sensing all the natural beauty around us, our minds can rest in that beauty. And some can rest their mind while on the subway. I am just not sure the goal of meditation should be to quiet the mind as much as to activate the mind on deeper levels to keenly witness and observe our thoughts in response to our sensations from our environment. When we quiet the mind, we are quieting the mental level of Beta, the endless stream of distracting thoughts. Beyond Beta lie the mental levels of Alpha, Theta and Delta. The mind is still active in these levels, but different. These levels require our bodies, our breath, to take us there. I propose the concept of contemplation over meditation as to meditate is to think contemplatively. The dictionary defines meditate and contemplate as synonyms, both meaning to view with continued attention, observe, think deeply about, intend. The meaning implies we are thinking when we meditate, thus the goal to still the mind is futile. Unlike the word meditate, the word contemplate holds a special definition: a space in heaven marked off for augural (divine) observation. The word auger as a noun means prophet, and as a verb means to divine or predict from omens and signs. Contemplate implies when we look to the heavens, whether the space is inward or outward, we are engaging in divine observation. This observation is not limited to the mind, but involves all of who we are as mind, body and spirit. It allows us to connect to the Great Spirit in all life, embody it through all our body senses and deeply reflect and observe our thoughts and feelings. Our journey both inward and outward is to make divine observations, to understand ourselves and others as spiritual, mental, emotional and physical beings.

Contemplation is an unforced, natural state in which we are all prophets witnessing at every moment the signs of our divine connection to life. It allows for the whole of us to show up. It encourages us to feel, sense, think, reflect, muse, imagine, plan, intend, expect, observe and inevitably understand our purpose. Contemplation is not so much a discipline as it is simply being in the flow of life at each moment, aware of the signs. Whether we choose the practice of meditation or contemplation, our goal is to journey inward to find that space of heaven within us so we can connect to that space of heaven waiting for us in the world. To think contemplatively is to gift ourselves with peace of mind…to know our wings will ultimately unfold.