Based on Praying the Way Jesus Prayed
The words contemplation and meditation used to scare me a little. First of all, they implied sitting still, which has always been hard for me. Second, they indicated some sort of discipline in regard to my thought process. And although I am good at being analytical (I’m an editor, after all), I have a very active right-brain function. That is, my imagination is used to its freedom. How can a fidgety daydreamer contemplate, anyway?
But teachers and writers such as Mark Link, SJ, have enlightened me. Contemplation is more about seeing what is right in front of me than it is about seeing something mysterious within. And meditation takes the seeing a bit further, connecting it to aspects of my life right now. Maybe an example would help.
My husband and I have two dogs and two cats, all of them rescues. Perhaps because they are rescues who now have shelter and food and affection, they are particularly cuddly and demanding (well, okay, codependent). One of the cats stays to herself more, does not care for the rough-and-tumble of being around the other three. So sometimes I take her to my workroom and shut the door, and we have quiet time. She nuzzles and purrs, and I contemplate how perfect she is—her golden color, soft fur, symmetrical and lovely little face, dainty paws, and so on. This is contemplation.
It occurred to me one day that, perhaps as I sit with Kitty and enjoy her presence—“love on her” is what I call it—I might allow God to “love on” me. Just sit quietly together, enjoying the company, admiring the beauty and the affection. When I allowed my time with Kitty to lead my thoughts to my relationship with God, the contemplation became more focused; it became meditation.
That’s a simple example, but perhaps you can now look at your own days and moments and identify contemplation and meditation. Or at least see opportunities to let them develop.
When was the last time you became totally absorbed in something? How did that feel? What was the effect on you?
What moment this week can you turn into an opportunity to contemplate or meditate?