Understanding the Tree of Contemplative Practices
On the Tree of Contemplative Practices, the roots symbolize the two intentions that are the foundation of all contemplative practices. The roots of the tree encompass and transcend differences in the religious traditions from which many of the practices originated, and allow room for the inclusion of new practices that are being created in secular contexts.
The branches represent different groupings of practices. For example, Stillness Practices focus on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. Generative Practices may come in many different forms but share the common intent of generating thoughts and feelings, such as thoughts of devotion and compassion, rather than calming and quieting the mind. (Please note that such classifications are not definitive, and many practices could be included in more than one category.)
Because this illustration cannot possibly include all contemplative practices, we offer a free download of a blank Tree that you can customize to include your own practices. Activities not included on the tree (including those which may seem mundane, such as gardening or eating) may be understood to be contemplative practices when done with the intent of cultivating awareness and wisdom.
YouTube Relaxation Videos
Absolutely Sleeping Music, (K-MusicLife Sounds, YouTube, 7:10)
Eight Hours of “Waterfall Sounds” and “Sleep Sounds” (yogaduke, YouTube, 8:01:01)
Four Hours of Ambient Study Music To Concentrate, (Quiet Quest, YouTube, 3:44:55)
Echoes of Time, (C. Carlos Nakai from The Canyon Trilogy, YouTube, serene Native American flute music, with a picture of Nakai backlit by the sun at the Grand Canyon, 3:49)
Earth Drum – “Spirit Vision” (David & Steve Gordon), YouTube, serene and lovely contemporary Native American informed-drumming music utilizing Taos log drum and Incan pan along with other instruments and ocean/forest nature scenes, 6:30. (Other David & Steve Gordon music automatically starts after “Spirit Vision." )
“Serotonin Release - Alpha Waves for Serotonin & Endorphins - Binaural Beats - Meditation Music” (Magnetic Minds, YouTube, 1:30:00)