Contemplative Practices – Affirmative Self-Inquiry
Contemplation and affirmative self-inquiry may be helpful in improving your awareness of your better parts of self – your positive strengths and traits. Our self-critical mind often causes us to spend far too much time on critical, negative thinking about ourselves and about others. The practice below may be helpful to you in shifting your mind to a happier, more productive, positive stance. This approach combines some of the processes found in adaptive lectio divina, contemplative inquiry, and appreciative inquiry. Some aspects of these approaches to creative cognitive processes have ancient roots.
Simply follow the steps below.
Step One) Simply sit in mild meditation. If you are not a meditation practitioner, simply sit quietly with a cup of tea and look out a window or look at a neural object in your home. Just sit! Relax! Notice! Do your best to stay focused on an object of meditation (your breath or object at home) or the scene outside your window. Do your best NOT to evaluate anything. Remain in the present moment of just sitting. Simply rest.
Step Two) Within your deeper, meditative state simply ask yourself (inquire) WHAT is your most positive, meaningful trait as a person. Do your best NOT to be too perfectionistic OR too devaluing in this inquiry. Find the middle way – What is your most positive or most meaningful strengths or trait?
Step Three) Repeat step two.
Step Four) Contemplate when, where, why and how this positive trait activates itself in you. Are there any patterns? If so, what is the pattern?
Step Five) Focus on your innermost feelings when this strength activities in you. What is that feeling?
Step Six) Going deeper into yourself in a meditative state, what is your most important, meaningful strength as a person?
Step Seven) Simply sit in the feelings of joy with the reality of having that strength. Allow!
Step Eight) Stop! If you keep a journal, write a statement in your journal about this personal experience of positive inquiry.
Note: This inquiry contemplation may also be done in dyads or with a significant other. One person thinks and speaks; the other person listens (no comments). Then switch roles.
For more information refer to Appreciative Inquiry into Organizational Life: Toward a Theory of Social Innovation.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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