Contemplation is a deeply reflective word—a gentle, almost soothing assembly of syllables. You don’t rush contemplation. In fact it’s almost scripture that the word be pronounced with even tones and in the slowest and most meditative manner attainable.
Contemplation is the very kind of pastime for which languorous summer evenings were born. Your shoes in the grass, feet up in a hammock, and nothing more significant than a misty notion noodling around your noggin.
Not even an idea, mind you—just a notion.
Because a notion isn’t demanding. A notion has no outcome of any real consequence. And a notion is the fodder of a ruminating mind, all of which leads us back to… contemplation. Contemplation has oodles of hours to waste batting a notion around until tedium takes hold or the dinner bell rings.
Whereas… an idea? Well, an idea insists your brain get up off its frontal lobes and do a little legwork. An actual idea demands hard, cold calculation and ties up too much gray matter at one time. A single idea is exhausting. But a notion?
Well, with a notion you can…… do it.
Or you can…. not do it.
Or you can do it.
And so on.
Because it’s a notion and it’s accountable to no one. And notions are why they invented contemplation. A notion is about as far down on the scale of wistful, glassy-eyed ponderings as a human mind can handle and still be functional.
Here’s an example of a notion:
Since a cat’s voice is already really, really high, wouldn’t it stand to reason that, if you feed a cat helium, its voice would then become so high that only dogs could hear it?
Okay, now that’s a notion. The kind of innocent nonsensical distraction that diverts a brain from all that makes sense in the world. Too much sense actually and far too little room for the soul to breathe.
The sad fact of the matter is that most folks can’t be bothered with contemplation. Apparently nobody with a life has that kind of time on his hands. And still I wonder what my life would be if I never took two minutes or ten hours to step outside myself and ruminate on the origins of a daffodil.