“The Meditator” or “Contemplative”
The Ways of Contemplation & Meditation
The Contemplative or Meditator within us is drawn to quiet
and solitary introspection to discover an inner truth
and a universal connection with the numinous.
- Do you long for inner tranquility, focus and insight?
- Are you comfortable spending considerable time alone in silence?
- Are you called to discover truth and meaning through deep introspection?
The contemplative enjoys being alone and absorbed in his or her own thoughts, sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours or even days. It is a manifestation of that aspect of our consciousness that enjoys observing the world around us and reflecting on the truths revealed through our life-experience or the wisdom of the world’s great philosophers, scientists and spiritual teachers.
The terms contemplation and meditation are defined differently among various spiritual traditions, so I will offer the following definitions so that we are all on the same page.
Contemplation generally refers to thinking deeply and thoroughly. From a spiritual perspective, it refers to a state of consciousness that lies at the border between pure, non-conceptual meditative insight and the conceptual mind that seeks to name and define ineffable spiritual experience. It is characterized by tranquil concentration and profound observation of both the conceptual and the meditative mind. Contemplation is the state of consciousness through which we travel back and forth between the sacred and the secular, the divine and the worldly.
Meditation, on the other hand, has a slightly different connotation. It refers to a wide variety of practices that bring the mind into a state of focused tranquility and profound insight. Meditation enables the mind to become tranquil, one-pointed, blissful and absorbed in a non-conceptual focus on the Ultimate Reality, however that is defined within a spiritual tradition. Often, meditation is described as a ‘non-dual,’ because in its state of absorption there is no distinction between the subjective and objective elements that occur in normal perception.
The Contemplative seeks fulfillment through such solitary and internal spiritual methods as meditation, prayer, mindfulness, breathing, mantra, silence, reflection on sacred writings, disciplined observation and control of the mind, and purposeful cultivation of virtuous thoughts, emotions, words and deeds. Contemplation can occur anywhere and in any situation. Most importantly, contemplation and meditation lead us to the spiritual essence of our being and, for some traditions, unity and oneness with a divine or universal consciousness.
To read more on this, refer to the book “Mandala: Creating an Authentic Spiritual Practice.”