Brownie, our dog, sat looking up the tree; ears cocked, and tail tensely wagging. He
was attending to a monkey. Just one thing filled his consciousness: the monkey. No
thought disturbed his total concentration, no worry for tomorrow. Brownie was the
nearest thing to Contemplation I have ever seen.You may have experienced some of this yourself when you were totally absorbed watching a cat at play.
Here is a formula for Contemplation, as good as any 1 know: Be totally in the present.
Drop every thought of the future, drop every thought of the past, drop every image and
abstraction, and come into the present. Contemplation will arise!
After years of training, the disciple begged his Master to bring him to Enlightenment.
The Master led him to a bamboo grove and said, “See that bamboo, how tall it is ?
See that other one there, how short it is?”
And the disciple was enlightened.
They say Buddha practiced every form of asceticism known to the India of his times,
in an effort to attain enlightenment. In vain. One day he sat under a bodhi tree and enlightenment occurred. He passed on the secret of enlightenment to his disciples in
words that must seem strange to the uninitiated: “When you draw in a deep breath, oh
monks, be aware that you are drawing in a deep breath. And when you draw in a shallow
breath, oh monks, be aware that you are draw-ing in a shallow breath. And when you
draw in a medium-sized breath, oh monks, be aware that you are drawing in a medium-
sized breath.” Awareness. Attention. Absorption.
This kind of absorption one sees in little children. They are close to the Kingdom.
- The anecdote was adapted from 'the Song of the Bird' - by DeMello