How to do Meditation at the Center for Contemplative Practice
Contemplative Process Therapy (CPT) aims to be a psychotherapeutic interventional modality to address the lack of psychological reserve found within the entire range of adult mental health illnesses. Its central construct is that of “Core Spaciousness” denoting the accessibility to an ‘adaptive space’ that views personhood, interpersonal constructs and the elemental environment as contained within a framework of psychological and ecosystemic openness or spaciousness.
It aims to engender a state of meditative contemplation that bestows tremendous flexibility despite the events and circumstances you might find yourself amidst. This is done through three stages that are interwoven in the contemplative process:
- Fragile link contemplation
- Resilience contemplation, and,
- Spaciousness contemplation
The contemplation in CPT is non discursive and analytical with the end point being the awareness of spaciousness and openness within which everything is contained. In learning how to engage in contemplation, this meditative contemplation process can be very helpful and aids in putting the usual impediments in attaining contemplative absorption into the right context. Following the CPT process, one acquires the contemplative skills to put life events and mental events into the proper perspective and begin and sustain a personalized meditation practice.
Core Spaciousness is a construct that derives from Dzogchen Buddhism. Rigpa is the primordial ground that is free of conceptual elaboration and is a union of wakefulness and emptiness. This union of cognizance and the absence of an inherent findable nature of whatever appears is like space, which has no arising, no abiding and no ceasing, and which rests upon nothing. This openness, spontaneity and absence is a state of pure potential, and is described as core spaciousness in CPT. The manifestations of personhood and all objects in relation to the one are conceived as mere appearance within the field of spaciousness. While this construct derives from buddhism, there is no requirement for belief in adopting CPT. This is because, the state of potential which core spaciousness is, is very much a natural phenomenon and can be seen as a state of ‘pre-manifestation’ or the source or setting for all physical and psychological objects. All apparent existence can indeed be visualized as downstream to a phase of absolute potential, a phase where there is zero manifestation and a state that contains within it the seed of all that does and can exist. In CPT, such a core spaciousness is seen to be in equilibrium with physical and mental phenomena and to be temporally co-occurrent with all that is.
However, there is a great deal of strength of substance in the notion that the basis of everything cannot be made into an object. In CPT, this basis is seen as inclusive, spontaneous and of the nature of space that contains within it everything and yet itself , rests on nothing. Through a focus on this absence of reference, CPT aims to abrogate the emphasis that we all lay on our centres, like work, relationships, money, health and such. Instead we shift our awareness to an essence that itself is not an object, to be discerned, categorized and manipulated and is at the same time universal and primordial ground. Not nothing and neither something.
Our ability to access this essence is the domain of resilience work. It is embedded because, in truth, we are never separate from this essence. The essence, as it were permeates the expressions, and in resilience work, we use the expressions to access the essence. This is done through various means, vital to all of which is the principle of anchoring. In CPT, anchoring is a way to invest repeated attention on a chosen “entity of focus”. There are three principal anchors in CPT – a body anchor, an object anchor and the query anchor. By using these anchors, we learn to use everyday, relative reality to connect with what CPT terms the primordial ground of core spaciousness.
In learning how to engage in contemplative practice, such a focus on the ground as opposed to the details can be most enabling and in CPT is the returning point of all contemplative, fragility and resilience work.
Fragile linking in CPT is described as the tendency to impute applicability to phenomena that can equally be discerned as impartial. Inferential assessment of the fragile linking process leads to the generalization and subsequent globalization of aversive stimuli more so than stimuli that is pleasurable. In the context of fragile linking, neutrality learning is described as a process of attenuating this tendency to impute applicability by singularly focusing on only the phenomena in question rather that any associated inferences or ascriptions.
If you would like to learn more about contemplative process therapy and contemplative practice, or would like to receive coaching either online or on a one to one basis, please get in touch with us.