Question: Is contemplation what develops when we do breathing exercises?Sri Chinmoy: There are three stages: concentration, meditation and contemplation. Now, we should start with breathing exercises. Physical postures and deep breathing we have to do even before concentration, even before we enter into the subject, let us say. First we relax our body and try to breathe deeply. When we are breathing in and out, we have to do it so gently that if we place a thread in front of our nose, then it will not move to and fro. At that time, we can feel that our breathing is perfect for concentration. Then, when we concentrate, we have to feel that we are focusing our attention on one subject or one object. The mind is not roaming; mental thoughts have all ceased. When this happens, when there are no thoughts, no ideas, concentration is perfect. And then we feel the necessity for meditation.
When we enter into meditation, we see vastness before us, all around us, and we try to enter into that vastness or let it enter into us. Finally, we enter into contemplation. That is the last stage, when we become what we have been aspiring for. For a long time we have been aspiring to become something, to grow into something. When we contemplate, at that time the knower becomes the Known, the lover becomes the Beloved Himself and the finite becomes the Infinite. Each becomes part and parcel of each other.