+1 (562) 583-1288 support@essayhandler.info
Module One Contemplative Reflection

 Contemplative Exercise One: Planting a Seed


  • For this exercise you will need:
  • A seed. Any seed will do, but you might want to choose one that is big enough to inspect easily and which you are confident will grow. Snow peas or regular pea seeds are quite a good choice, as are sunflower seeds. It’s up to you!
  • Materials for planting this seed – you can plant it (or them, if you choose) in a pot or outdoors – it’s up to you.
  • Instructions. (Note that it’s probably easier to read through all these instructions before you start the exercise, rather than following them as you go along).
  • Sit in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
  • Do a calming exercise for 10 minutes – you might choose to do the ‘not doing’ exercise in Tobin Hart’s paper, or you could choose another practice, but make sure that it is contemplative and involves relaxation, silence, and introspection. If you are still confused about what a contemplative practice is, go to the Contemplative Practices link on the home page, or click here. If you’d like more detailed instructions on how to practice, try this site on mindfulness meditation.
  • Hold the seed in your hand. Examine it closely – try to pay attention to what it looks like so closely that you could pick it out from a whole bowl full of other seeds. Notice any colors or patterns of the seed, notice its shape and the texture of its surface. Notice its weight, its temperature, and how it feels in the palm of your hand or between your fingers. Do this for at least a couple of minutes.
  • Now, still holding the seed, close your eyes and think about other aspects of the seed – where did it come from, and how did it get to be in your hand, now? What potential is in the seed?
  • Now let go of your more focused thoughts about the seed and just open up your mind to the thoughts that come up. This is a bit like the deep listening exercise described in the Tobin Hart article. Perhaps the seed exercise evokes certain memories or emotions in you. Perhaps you feel resistant to this exercise and your mental chatter is very negative. Whatever it is, just notice the thoughts like bubbles or clouds in the sky, and try to just notice them with non-judgmental interest. Whenever your mind wanders off, just gently bring it back to the exercise without criticizing yourself. Now plant the seed, either outdoors somewhere accessible to you, or in a pot indoors. It is your job to nurture this seed during the semester. It will be the foundation of more contemplative exercises, and is also a metaphor for your learning process over the next six weeks. Try to maintain your contemplative state of mind while you plant the seed. Think about all the causes and conditions that must combine to make growth possible, including your action in planting and tending the seed.
  • Finish the exercise and, while it is fresh in your mind, jot down your reactions to this experience – try not to censor it too much. These thoughts will form the basis of your reflective discussion posting which you should write below. You are not required to respond to others for contemplative assignments, but you are welcome to if you would like to.
  • For more information about how to do these postings click on writing contemplative