Contemplation: Just A Mystic Activity
I’ve read Islamic tradition revealing that Mohammad, exactly like Moses, Abraham, and Jesus, was wont to go to a mountain. While there they would contemplate life and its meaning. This was not recreation, this was not “getting away from the crowds.” This was contemplation, a necessary element of the mystic traditions. And not just david hoffmeister church youtube.
Let’s look at why just a little before we go any further:
“It is requisite for the good of the human community that there should be persons who devote themselves to the life of contemplation” – St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Thomas Aquinas’s disciple, Peter Pieper wrote: “For it is contemplation which preserves in the midst of human society the truth which is at one and the same time useless and the yardstick of every possible use; so it is also contemplation which keeps the true end in sight, gives meaning to every practical act of life.”
Even Plato knew that a person could, through contemplation, ascend to the “form of God.”
In Christianity, contemplation refers to a content-free mind directed towards the awareness of God as a living reality. Think for a minute about that. A content-free mind. We’ll need to come back to that.
You should note that in Christian mysticism specifically, you have contemplative prayer (contemplation), which is a form of prayer distinct from vocal prayer as well as meditation.
But why should you contemplate. Life is much easier if you don’t think about it and as a mystic, you must think deeply. Very deeply. All the knowledge is available, but you must reach for it. It will take a considerable amount of time. How long? As long as you live and then a lot more when you are not.
But contemplation is only the beginning. You have to get really really quiet with yourself. Really quiet and listen. Then contemplation will bring illumination. A mystic doesn’t use contemplation as an end-all. Contemplation brings knowledge. Then you must dwell on that knowledge and let it lead you into yourself even deeper.
In order to do this, it is requisite that you are able to clear your mind. This is easier said than done. It takes a lot of time and experience, but it must be done. You cannot learn about mystical matters as long as your mind is constantly distracted by all the little things that life is made up of. Even if you get away from phones and crowds, bodily functions and insects will constantly be at you for your attention.
That’s where a content-free mind comes in. You simply cannot listen to God when your side itches. When a fly buzzes your ear. When the kids need more chocolate milk. When your boss wants you to focus and hurry up.