Merriam Webster definition of contemplation: 1. concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion, 2. an act of considering with attention, 3. the act of regarding steadily
What Contemplation is not. It is not a relaxation exercise. Whilst it may contribute to one becoming relaxed, this is simply a side effect. Contemplation is therefore not a technique but instead, prayer. Contemplative prayer is not a charismatic gift. Contemplative prayer is not a Para psychological phenomenon such as precognition, out of body experiences, levitation or other extraordinary sensory or psychic phenomena. (Contemplation involves centering prayer) Centering prayer is a method of moving this developing relationship with God beyond words, beyond thoughts to the level of pure faith. - Thomas Keating Source
Below are a series of quotes that evolve from being straightforward to heady and lofty. I get lost somewhere in the middle.
Simple Thoughts on Contemplation...
“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.” - Lao Tzu
“A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, 'Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?' . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one's time—the stuff of life.” ― Carl Sandburg
“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” - Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Complex Thoughts on Contemplation...
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” ― Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers
“To broaden one's prospective is to push back the swirling winds of ignorance.” ― Joel T. McGrath
As we come to grips with eternity, our mortality and our relationship to God and others it causes some of us to stop and think and to consider restructuring our lives to be centered on what is most important. For me what is most important is my relationship to God and others. This is where I am and some of you may be too. God bless you in your journey. - gus