Last night just after I got in bed, this thought materialized.
It’s not a question of doing versus contemplation — but doing what should be done, and contemplating what should be contemplated.
In other words, don’t be tempted to make either doing or contemplating a general overarching principle, but let the situation show you which is necessary at the moment.
Doing can be very good — if the house is dirty and I clean it, if laundry is piling up and I wash and dry some, if a project gets my attention and I work on it, it not only accomplishes something but provides the sense of accomplishment. And it can be a reminder that I am not just my mind, but my body, too, and part of living is living in and through my body.
Contemplation can be very good — if emotions are troubling me and I reflect on them, if an issue is worrying me and I think through it, if I pray or read or watch or listen, if things are going well and I enjoy it with gratitude, it helps keep me grounded and centered and aware, not tossed about by every wave that comes over me.
Doing can be pathological when it becomes a means of trying to take control I don’t really have, trying to expiate guilt, trying to avoid a feeling or thought or experience that promises discomfort, etc.
Contemplation can be pathological when it becomes morbidly wandering through a maze of circles and spirals that give no insight or healing but only more confusion and fear and despair, when it becomes a way of avoiding prayer and faith or doing what needs to be done.