Conversation with David Rome about ‘Contemplative Thinking’

In this conversation, we talk about ‘Contemplative Thinking’: How it differs from what we usually describe as ‘thinking’, and how it fosters creativity.

Three phases are described:
– Pause: Unless we pause, we tend to keep going on the same track with our blinders on. Think about the cartoon situation of the character walking off the edge of the cliff, not realizing they’re no longer on firm ground.
– Orienting: We make a deliberate effort to pay attention to our body, not just to thoughts. Not that thoughts are bad… But we’re depriving ourselves of much of our processing ability if we cut off our body.
– Getting out of our own way: Instead of trying very  hard, as if we were trying to squeeze ideas out of a tube, we gently allow ‘felt sense’ information (e.g. intuition, hunch, insight) to come up from inside.

‘Contemplative Thinking’ occurs naturally. What helps us get better at it is to observe it when it happens, so that we become more aware of it. Please share with us moments of ‘contemplative thinking’. Use the feedback form

In case you want to come back to specific explanations of this process after listening to the podcast as a whole, see:
– Description of the 3 phases: From 18’45” to 20’50”
– How this is not just a shift in intentionality, it is a different body experience that allows fresh thinking: From 21’00” to 25’30”
– How this applies to real life, in real time: From 25’30” to 34’00”

By the way, this recorded conversation is an instance of creative thinking fostered by an environment that is safe and stimulating. David’s presence and his way of holding the space made it possible for me to go further into the concepts than I had before, with a sense of effortlessness, as if I was observing their unfolding and describing it,

Rome-DavidDavid I. Rome is the developer of Mindful Focusing, an integration of Eugene Gendlin’s Felt-Sense Focusing and Buddhist mindfulness-awareness practices ( He is the author of Your Body Knows the Answer; Using Your Felt Sense to Solve Problems, Effect Change, and Liberate Creativity (Shambhala Publications, 2014). David currently serves as board president for the Focusing Institute. Earlier in his career, David studied Buddhism and trained in meditation and other contemplative practices with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whom he also served as private secretary for many years.