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Contemplation – contemplations in words & images

Category: Contemplation (Page 1 of 8)

An Inner Journey Meditation for the Outer World

From The Way of the Pattern Catcher

What is the relationship you have with yourself?

Look inward:

What do you notice?
What do you name?
What do you nurture?

On your journey inward, what do you see, what do you find?

Do you find any harshness?
Do you tread near a softness?

Do you touch numbness?
Do you taste kindness?

Do you sense a certain disquiet?
Do you happen on a joy?

And if so:

What is it to notice your harshness?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To see what harshness has for you. To hear of its purpose. To hold its counsel.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your harshness in this way?

What is it to notice your softness?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To see what softness brings you. To value its salve. To offer it gratitude.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your softness this way?

What is it to name your numbness?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To feel the absence of feeling. To recognise it exists. To honour its place.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your numbness in this way?

What is it to name your kindness?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To savour the safety it offers. To value its nature. To delight in whom it touches.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your kindness this way?

What is it to nurture your disquiet?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To recognise what it points to. To welcome its presence. To listen deeply to what it has to say.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your disquiet in this way?

What is it to nurture joy?
To be with it for what it is – to acknowledge, accept and appreciate its role.
To let it bubble inside you. To follow its lead. To share as it wants to be shared.
What do you notice when you enter the relationship with your joy this way?

And as this is so and as it is as it is: What are you noticing now?
What is the relationship you have with yourself in this moment?

For the relationship you have with your self
Is the relationship you have with the world.

Martin © 2023


Poised on the edge of happiness

The precipice

The shadow

The howl

I’ve seen and felt them all

To fall or fly

The light before me

The light within

Patient pilot as infinite flame

With all that is

With all to be

And the choice unfolding

In turning toward

To ask humbly

May you guide me

Grace and Mercy

May you light the way


Martin © 2023

Still Empty Clear

To notice
We find stillness

To receive
We find emptiness

To see
We find clarity

And in the finding,
to be with what arises
and what falls,
includes everything in the way
and everything that is the way

Therein, to be with what is,
Is the finding

And so,

To listen
We find a place within

To be with what is
As it is

To be who we are
As we are

To be with all that is
As it is

To be still



Becomes, a way

To find the way

To be.



Martin © 2023

A Fresh Approach Was Necessary

The part of me that I describe as ‘rational mind’ (RM) prioritises the type of thinking that is pragmatic, logical, linear, reasoned and cognitively sound. And is ever able to articulate, explain, and make sense of the world in accordance with these priorities.

RM looks at the world through this lens and this lens only.

It privileges what appears ‘sensible’ over what presents as ‘emotive’. Rejecting what it can’t explain, make sense of, or reduce to logic, RM feasts on empiric data, conclusive proof and indisputable evidence. It assumes itself to be a vital aspect of my human experience, if not ‘the’ vital aspect.

No doubt it has good intention. However, there’s a downside.

If allowed to run unchecked, the mystery of what exists outside empiricism and logic does not reveal its gifts. Matters of the heart move to second place. The valency of deep human connection becomes diminished. Exhaustive explanation is preferred over quiet and sustained observation. The Knowing Knower trumps Beginner’s Mind. And regrettably, justification cancels grace.

This friends, has been my past experience. And after several personal jolts and a significant wake up call, I decided a fresh approach was necessary.

Given RM’s privileged position and preferred role of Overlord, I chose principally to work with it and not oppose it, my approach was one of respect and appreciation.

By ‘work with’ I mean; engage my Organising Self through empathy and oversight, to invite in other faculties and human functions to facilitate a kind of internal partnership.

RM did not see it working this way at first, however through encouragement and persistence, RM began to appreciate there was much to gain working alongside certain balancing agents. Agents such as: curiosity, objective inquiry, humility, curiosity, and compassion, with timely contributions from imagination and creativity.

Depending on each situation I noticed  how the role of each agent could temper or assuage, support or align with RM’s most articulate and singular force.

And when able to catch the moment I saw how I could call on the good governance of my Organising Self to guide us toward inner partnership and integration.

In navigating life’s challenges and opportunities this way, I’ve witnessed a creative dance unfold: rational integrating with emotional, logical dancing with imaginative, control and judgment making room for curiosity, clinical embracing compassionate and so it goes.

I acknowledge that I’m a work in progress; happily I can share that as the partnership evolves I’m encouraged by and reminded of the maxim – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The benefits of inner partnership are delivering a kind alchemy;  where 1 plus 1 equates to 3.

Curiously and with good humour, RM can see the logic of this.



Martin © 2022

On the Day that Worry Danced with Me

I have worry
It comes most mornings, on first waking

Stirring in tangled ways all through my middle
it creases up my brow

Staying for hours, sometimes days
We career and struggle between this disturbance and that

Between us there is tension
Worry’s concerns, are the ones, I am trying, not to have

The more I wrestle or push it away
the stronger it comes back at me

And so it has been for many years
Almost a daily routine, until

One morning in meditation 
an angel spoke to me 

It said – why not greet Worry – thank it
see what it has for you

And taking this suggestion
I made attempt at inner conversation

Gratefully I can tell you, 
As if in surprise and wonder; Worry relaxed 

And to my amazement
almost instantaneously, it beamed 

Wonderfully, in that moment,
released and joyful

We began to dance together 
In exploration of trust and alchemy 

And weaving as we stepped,
came a pattern, mutual and beneficial

A Pattern I can today repeat
A Pattern steeped in listening, 

Where noticing and
regarding due concerns, has become

A dance of discovery and
Of mutual solution

A dance of love and lore.

Martin © 2022

Finding Peace in The War Against Myself.

For my children, my grandchildren, and for all of us

I wanted to share with you that for a long time I’ve been struggling in an internal debate – been stuck in rumination, fear, and anxiety.  One part of me wants to trust life. Accept things as they occur. Be in the present moment. Another part is afraid to let go. It worries that if I stop worrying about the future I won’t be prepared for worst case situations.

When things don’t work out the way I want them to, I give myself a hiding. I’m really hard on myself. Blame myself for trusting someone or not seeing it coming. Blame others. Kick myself down the spiral staircase into the basement. That place in me where fear, blame and shame live, I reckon.

This war against myself has been going on for years. The opposing factions of trust and fear rise and fall depending on what’s happening at the time. If things are going well it’s relatively calm, although part of me never really stops worrying. When things aren’t going well it gets really intense. In a funk, I become debilitated – completely stuck. Go really quiet. Go dark.

I’m happy to share  that recently things have started to get lighter. There’s been recent success in bringing the factions to the table for peace talks.

Wanted to share with you that I’ve recently and successfully discovered a critical move.

It begins with the invitation. The welcome.

I’ve discovered it’s about how I hold myself, how I ask the questions, how I bring the different parts of me to the table. You see they all play a role in my self preservation.

The invitation has to recognise and honour all the voices. Let each one know they’re valid.

Let’s say one of them has a voice of ‘Trusting Life’ and another one, the voice of ‘Fear & Control’. To work with them I see that I need to invite them to the table with respect, with gratitude and compassion.

They’ve got to trust and feel that I mean to hear and hold what they have to say. When I show up with non-conditional positive regard they sense and feel this and I’ve noticed they’re more likely to open up.

When I do this, amazingly, I often hear things from them I didn’t know or had forgotten. They feel heard. I get to understand them. And we start to work together.

Listening to a sample of an internal conversation at one time you might have heard something like: “I’m worried you’re not moving fast enough“. Followed by: “Yeah, you’re failing, lift your game.” To: “Do not share this with anyone.” To: “You’re going to fall behind on this.” and on it would go.

Now, you’d be more likely to hear words like: “OK , I hear you. Tell me more. What are you worried about?” “Let’s work through this.” “It’s all good, you’re doing your best, maybe if you need to, ask for some help.” “All right, what can you do? What do you need?”  It’s a completely different experience.

I also find somewhat miraculously the different parts of me begin to listen to each other. And before I know it they’ve stopped fighting and are working together on a pathway for peace.

As I reflect on this, it dawns on me that the change itself is not derived from seeking change. It hasn’t come from setting an agenda or clever negotiation. And it didn’t come from trying to suppress one or rationalise the other.

It came through the nature and quality of relationship. A relationship formed through compassion, curiosity, non-conditional positive regard and a genuine desire for connection.

There was no bargaining just real listening. Competition replaced by connection.

I’m finding that as I show up to the parts of me this way they in turn are able to show up to one another in the same way.

I’m happy to share that while the questions are not all answered and the work goes on, the war is over and the conversation continues.

Lightness is coming in and I can safely say that the part of me that wants to trust, the part of me that carries the fear, and the part of me that wants to go dark are all committed to showing up and working it out together.

I gotta say – I’m all in for the keeping up the practice and the prayer for ongoing loving internal relationships. To seeing this flow out in turn to others and to all that becomes possible in the loving relationships we can have with one another.


With love
Martin  © 2022

Self-Leadership as Inner Guidance

What part of me do I call on in times of reaction, , impatience, fear, shame, contraction, resentment, or injustice? How do I show up to my ‘Anger’, ‘Judger’, ‘Blamer’, ‘Perfectionist’, ‘Competitor & Comparer’? Who do I call on? What part of me do I find when I’m gripped by fear, bombarded by ruminating thoughts, flooded with doubt and worry? How do I meet the vulnerable parts that I know as: ‘Alone’, ‘Helpless’, ‘Impossible’, ‘Terrified’, ‘Shut down and Numb’?

If, like me, you have these questions, I trust the following contemplation is helpful.

As I show up in the day to day, I’m coming to discern a direct and proportionate correlation between my inner experience and my outer experience.

For example, I notice that: As I am kind to myself it supports me being kind to others. As I am compassionate with myself, I am more able to be compassionate with others. And as I am courageous to face certain uncomfortable truths about myself, I find courage to face certain uncomfortable situations that arise from time to time.

And then conversely; somewhat painfully and sharply I’m struck by the realisation that when at war with myself the world is at war with me. And as I sit in harsh judgment of myself there is little doubt that I am doing the same to others, and on it goes.

What arises is a deep desire to know the part of me that I may call on to guide and help me make constructive, life affirming choices. To live in the former and not the latter.

I start with the understanding that when at peace with my Self I am indeed, at peace with the outer world. I also see that when my centre is known to me, being centred helps me navigate all weathers.

What follows in this contemplation is the understanding that Self Leadership as Inner Guidance comes about from an ability to listen and receive and then to follow and trust. Which inevitably leads to making grounded choices. Is it intuition? Is it the first thought? Is it inner knowing? Is it a still small, yet powerful voice speaking simply and plainly? Is it the voice of the soul? Perhaps the answer is yes to all. I think of it now as my inner guidance system. An Inner Guide.

I notice that when I truly listen to the Inner Guide I am unshakeably at the heart and centre of being true to My Self.

From this I see that being True to My Self is couched in the ability to have an honest and clear relationship with all the parts of me.

When disturbance comes, when disruption arrives, when discomfort rises, when fear strikes: when I am caught in the question of what to do and how to show up. I am learning to turn to my True Self as the Inner Guide. There is space and spaciousness and quiet wisdom here. I am committing to strengthen a relationship with this part of me as I sense it is a most critical piece of self-leadership and dare, I say, self-love.

To follow the logic: to Love my True Self correlates to putting more Love into the World. And if ever there was a time for this, it is surely now.

As I choose to love, so may I give Love. As I choose to listen, so may I be guided. As I choose to lead, so may I follow.

With love.
Martin © 2022

Contemplation on the Movement from Ego Mind toward Eco Mind

For Zach B

This contemplation begins with four questions.

>  What becomes possible when I move from the frame of ‘I want’ toward the frame of ‘what is wanted of me’?

>  What happens within me when I shift the focus from ‘I need’ to ‘what is needed?’

>  What energy manifests when the patterns of: want/don’t want, should/shouldn’t, must/mustn’t, begin to shift toward the manifestation of acceptance, and the ability to simply ‘be with what is’?

>  What occurs when the ‘I’ of wanting becomes the ‘self’ of listening? Listening for what is needed in readiness to respond.

My lived experience of this movement is in the early stages. Initially I notice relaxation followed shortly after by a grip of angst. At first the contemplation brings spaciousness and peace. Then after only a few beats I notice the grip.

I sense this grip to be the ego-mind fearing a loss of power. It kicks in and uses an instinctual survival lever in an attempt to maintain its primacy and the status quo. It does not believe it can have its needs met unless it remains in a perpetual state of readiness to defend itself and/or take what it needs.

It assumes the ‘I’ as seperate from the whole and that it will not be taken care of, unless placed at the centre of all eventualities.

And so I set out to reassure it with the following:

As I stay longer in the state of listening I notice greater spaciousness, ease, and peace. In a state of listening I see clearly that the frame of ‘what is wanted’, is inclusive. In any given situation ‘what is wanted of me’ could well be: to assert a boundary, to take up a cause, to take care of self, to let go a hurt.

Shifting from an ‘ego’ mind toward an ‘eco’ mind moves away from fragmentation toward connection. Away from the central assumption of separateness toward the understanding of wholeness. With Fear driving separateness and Love informing wholeness, the felt experience of the former and the latter show up in remarkable contrast.

Eco Mind does not imply homogeneity. It does not imply abandonment of survival instincts. It points to the understanding that the source motivation for all action and movement can be an attuned response at the deepest level, to what is arising, to what is needed.

The doorway to the experience of Eco Mind appears to open in me as a state of presence. As Being and Doing align I am able to be in a state of ‘Withness’. Able to: Be With what is arising.

I see clearly that if I’m caught in Psychological time – past or future, the rumination of Ego Mind, be it anxiety or fear keeps the doorway firmly shut. The finite loops and patterns of rumination equate to an attempt to solve problems with the same thinking that created them.

In my understanding and continuing practice, what becomes possible in the movement toward the frame of ‘what is wanted’ ‘what is needed’ and the ‘Self of Listening’ is the opening of a doorway to an infinite field of potentiality. A connection to Life energy itself. Toward, as a dear friend once shared, ‘an ability and the choice to Trust Life.

Martin with Love. © 2022

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