When you are in the spiritual life, some questions tend to pop up. And, they cry out for clarifications. One such question arises about contemplation vs meditation. On several occasions, both these terms are used interchangeably. However, both of them are quite different in practice and theory.
So, there is a difference between a meditative prayer vs contemplative prayer. While meditation is a form of prayer, contemplation is an infused prayer. When you understand the Christian meanings of these terms, you can recognize how they are different from each other in someone’s prayer life.
What is Meditation?
Meditation consists of a group of techniques intended to raise your attention and focus. In short, meditation means the transformation of the mind. Meditation practices involve intuitive techniques that develop clarity, concentration, and emotional positivity of certain things in nature. Meditation is a state of consciousness quite different from the waking state.
Meditation greatly helps to center the consciousness within. It is not a part of religion. Rather it is about science. Therefore, mediation follows a specific order along with definite practices to produce effective results. Your mind remains clear, calm, and focused within yourself when you are practicing meditation to the fullest.
When you begin to meditate, you are alert and awake. However, your mind doesn’t get involved in the events occurring around you. It means you are least bothered by the chaotic surroundings. In meditation, you need a state of mind that is calm and pointed in a single direction.
That way, your mind becomes silent. And, when the mind is silent, it no longer tends to distract you from your original course of life. This is when your meditation deepens. When you engage yourself in a particular practice, you begin to learn the habits and patterns of your mind.
The practice further cultivates more positive things within. With constant work and patience, the focused state of mind further deepens. As a result, you begin to develop more energized and peaceful states of mind. This kind of experience has a transformative effect and can lead you towards a more meaningful life.
The objective of meditation is to experience nature and feel its essence. It gives you happiness, peace, and bliss. However, the mind itself is the biggest obstacle between awareness and yourself. Because the mind is unruly, it resists all kinds of discipline directed to its way.
While people use meditation for religious purposes, a vast majority uses it independently of spiritual or religious beliefs. Also, you can use it as a psychotherapeutic technique. There are different kinds of meditation. Meditation is all about letting go of the biases by calming your mind. It helps you see what you are unable to find out with open eyes.
What is Contemplation?
Contemplation is described as something when you gaze at the Lord with love. It is defined as a reflective thought as a result of concentration on the state of awareness about God. Sometimes people relate it to meditation. However, you might be surprised by how deep the meaning of the term can go.
In short, contemplation is being present in both mind and body. You can practice it while singing, walking in a park, being with your loved ones, or washing dishes. Contemplation allows you to respond and work accordingly. Contemplation can be external, internal, communal, and personal.
If you want to let go of your usual self, focused on doing things with compassion to bring out the best in you, contemplation is the way to go. It is through contemplation that everyone can develop the capacity to take care of their egoic motivations. That way, it helps to bring out awareness into the daily activities.
It increases freedom and authenticates deep awareness of God’s self and yourself. The spiritual journey consists of a constant flow of moments and is followed by a natural process to succumb to that very moment. Therefore, you should capture the beauty, truth, and goodness of something that is beyond yourself.
Then you can universalize the moments of beauty, truth, and goodness from reality, including yourself. That’s what people call prayer. Contemplative prayer, on the other hand, is all about remaining silent and open in God’s presence. As a result, it helps your brain to rewrite and allows you to think with compassion.
It fills your soul with kindness and let go of your ego preferences. People begin to move beyond language and start to feel God as a Mystery. There is no need to evaluate, defend, or judge a person. The mind becomes clear and knows the true identity of God.
You are aware of the fact that there is no separation between secular and sacred. Everything is one and has a divine reality. Contemplative prayer is a kind of practice for the whole life. Although it can’t be perfected, it is enough. Every time people pray, they come in contact with the humility and openness regarding not knowing.
What Is The Main Difference Between Meditation And Contemplation?
When it is about meditative prayer vs contemplative prayer, there are some differences. In meditation, one uses reasoning, concepts, and images to think about the basic things connected to God through human intervention. This kind of activity opens your inner devotion towards God and directs your life.
It is interesting to note that meditation is intended to lead you towards contemplation. Mystics and spiritual gurus hold the belief that contemplative prayer is something that can’t be initiated. You can’t even make it happen. The prayer is produced divinely. All the actions belong to God.
You need to work out to dispose of yourself to receive God’s blessings. During this stage, people enter into a world where they have to set prayers without uttering a single word. An awareness that sets you on the right course in having a deep and loving communication with God.
Meditative prayer is all about quiet calmness where people drink as if it’s coming from a fountain of life. Even the Catholic Church has a definition of meditation in its way. According to them, meditation is a quest where desire, emotion, imagination, and engaging thought comes all together. The goal is to make your faith stronger.
Contemplation, on the other hand, denotes the simplicity of the mystery of praying with your heart and soul. It is treated as a gift and a grace. And, you can accept it when you are in poverty and humility. This kind of prayer is made by God and placed in everyone’s heart.
Simply put, contemplative prayer helps people to love God and meditation helps people to know about God from different aspects. Also, it should be bore deep in mind that contemplation and meditation aren’t contrary to each other. Meditation is a stepping-stone towards contemplation.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditation And Contemplation?
Daily life routine tends to create stress and agitates you. Reducing stress and finding harmony in life is what everybody dreams of. Some of the important contemplation vs meditation benefits are discussed here.
Both contemplation and meditation work wonders in reducing a certain amount of stress. It helps you to cope up with the worries of life. And, helps you attain peace and contentment. A few minutes every day of the practice brings a great difference to your mind and body.
Control over your thought process
Generating negative thoughts and pondering over them is an integral part of every human being. People who are stressed believe that they are unable to get a grip over the situation. As such, stress piles up, temper rises, and long arguments evolve. When you bring meditation and contemplation in your life, you stop to develop negative thinking. It keeps your mind at peace.
Different studies have proven that both contemplative and meditative praying practices promote good health. Certain health benefits such as decreased heart attack risks and lowered blood pressure occur because of the reduction in stress levels. Physical problems are because of the issues you face inside. And, meditation helps to overcome them.
Helps you develop a sense of fulfillment
As you know, both happiness and peace of mind are the direct benefits because of the prayers. People tend to seek happiness in their lives. When they discover them, they find peace of mind. And, it is achieved through meditation and self-reflection. Your life becomes enriched with happiness.
When you spend quality time finding your true self, you begin to gain a different type of wisdom. In short, you find the purpose of your life. Also, you begin to appreciate things, both bad and good. Contemplation and meditation help you to put an end to the negative thoughts that hamper your peace of mind.
When you contemplate and meditate, you begin to fall in line with tranquility and peace. That way, it affects your life to a great extent on how you live. After you alleviate all kinds of stress from your life, you begin to focus on the important aspects of your life such as your work and family.
When you continue your life’s journey through meditation and contemplation, it expands your concentration levels. That way, you can achieve success in all the areas of your life.