Literally, meditation is defined as: “the act of meditating; continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation; transcendental meditation; devout religious contemplation or spiritual introspection.”1 Contemplation, on the other hand, is defined as: “the act of contemplating; thoughtful observation; full or deep consideration; reflection: religious contemplation; purpose or intention; prospect or expectation.”2
Meditation is more of a response to something like after reading a passage in the Bible. Meditation is to study God’s Word and to think of ways in which it can be applied in one’s day-to-day life. Contemplation is more of reflecting without necessarily using any reading material. It is an act of deep, thoughtful thinking that leads to a renewed mind and heart.3 These two terms often come together and are usually associated with prayer.
The Christian faith has prayer as one of its major pillars. One has to communicate with God and vice versa. Humans talk to God in prayer and God talks to humans through the Bible. It is in this manner where meditation and contemplation enter in. Through this exercise, man learns discipline, calmness and a sense of security. Through constant mediation and contemplation, one becomes more “spiritual” and “holy.”
The Buddhists also practice meditation. This is done to discipline the mind and the body. Yoga is “a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.”4 Both the Christians and the Buddhists believe that by subjugating the body through meditation and contemplation, one is able to reach a higher level of spirituality.
Why is there a need to subjugate the body and make it submit to one’s mind? Father Rolheiser’s book5 leads the reader to the reason why humans need to commune