I’ve posted occasional reflections here about the More Beautiful book group I started with some friends. We’ve been contemplayting one chapter a week of the More Beautiful World for 6 months. We’ve one more chapter to read: “Initiation.” I recently shared some ideas with the group after we discussed the penultimate chapter “Destiny.”
A little voice in my head says: “Contemplaying our hopes and aspirations may be delightful, but what about the dark side of life? What about loneliness, apathy, anxiety, misery, grief, shame? What about the rage that ferments beneath long unmet needs?” Is the art of contemplaying applicable for these experiences?
Contemplate is from Latin contemplatus, past participle of contemplari “to gaze attentively, observe,” from the prefix com- “together” plus templum “temple.” The original meaning of Latin contemplari was “to mark out a space for observing auguries or omens,” and the temple was a holy space reserved for this purpose.
So, contemplation in the original sense entails gathering with kindred spirits in sacred space to discern, look deeply, seek insight that guides our path forward in a world filled with noise, fear, distraction and confusion. There is a craft to creating settings and occasions for contemplation.