Monday, January 19, 2009

adyashanti and nonduality

The camera makes him nervous, but he is very clear.

contemplative practice a la Garrison Institute

Contemplation - the practice of reflecting deeply - transforms one's 
state of mind, changing perceptions and opening fresh possibilities 
for action. If, as Einstein said, we cannot solve problems with the 
state of mind that created them, then contemplative practices are an 
indispensable part of the solution to today's real-world problems. 
Contemplation is not passive or theoretical, but active and practical. 
When skillfully applied, it can be a wellspring of social as well as 
personal change.

The active ingredient in contemplative practice is direct personal 
experience that encompasses more than just rational, logical, or 
conceptual content. Authentic contemplative practice generates deep 
insight into the essential interdependence of all forms of life and 
between life and the inanimate environment. Contemplative perception 
awakens unselfish compassion for others, and the combination of 
contemplative insight and compassion represents the purest and surest 
force for positive social change.

The Garrison Institute believes that contemplative methods will come 
to be broadly used as an effective and wise force for cultivating the 
essential human qualities of insight, caring, altruism, ethical 
behavior, and courage. On an individual level, all people have the 
innate capacity to grow and transform to higher orders of 
consciousness. On a systems-level, the more intractable or anxiety- producing the problem, the greater the need for contemplative 
perspectives on it to help find new, effective, and ultimately 
transformative solutions. By giving rise to new vision and wisdom, 
contemplation will lead to fundamental and much-needed value shifts in 
society. This is true not only of the social and environmental 
challenges in our time; a genuine, rigorous, and fruitful intercourse 
between Western science and contemplative wisdom is now both possible 
and necessary.

The Garrison Institute is home to diverse contemplative methods. While 
the visiting teachers of Retreats at Garrison often derive their 
practices from wide-ranging spiritual traditions, our Initiatives 
apply the secular, non-sectarian contemplative forms best suited to 
their goals. For example, Garrison Institute Initiatives have 
variously employed breath, walking meditation, techniques for 
developing concentration and awareness, attention training and 
refinement practices, loving-kindness practice, expressive movement, 
visualization, art-making, mindfulness, movement, values-based 
conversation and active listening.