Shalom Place Community
What are the basics of contemplation?

This topic can be found at:

31 July 2006, 03:09 PM
What are the basics of contemplation?
Originally posted by luminousday:
[qb] I guess I have questions about whether Zen practices and christianity are cog of what Christianity is. I have just started a Zen calligraphy group mpatible. As I have no one who seems to have interests in both these areas id welcome comments, feedback advice etc.[/qb]
Hi Luminousday,

When you wrote this I was on a retreat with a retreat leader, Sr. Rita, who said she is particularly interested in dialogue between here Centering Prayer in the Christian tradition with Zen meditation.

From what I gathered, it has a lot to do with being awake to the present moment. Wink
02 August 2006, 08:54 AM
it has been interesting to read your insights on the differences between an empty meditation focused on blanking the mind and a focused awareness of Gods love and presence, which, although full can still be {empty).

04 August 2006, 02:28 AM
I believe that it makes for a powerful combination. David Hawkins has calibrated Zen Catholicism as the highest level of truth in Christianity. Educated Westerners have a tendency to think too much, which may be why Zen remains the most popular form of Buddhism in the West. Also, Zen requires little doctrinal adaptation for the Christian. I'll be more focused on it in September, Ryan. Thanks for bringing it up. Smiler
04 August 2006, 04:00 AM
Hi guys,

sorry to jump in here without having fully read the whole thread. I read the wikipedia link and I was just wondering how we listen to a guy who calibrates Krishna, and Jesus on the same level, but not Jesus and God? Surely Christianity on it's own should have a higher calibration than any other religion, philosophy etc. If he can't even see that how can he really see anything.

But perhaps I don't know enough about the subject.
04 August 2006, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by Ryan July 31:
God is good, so good, beyond all our efforts to imitate. And the goodness of God is the only true satisfaction for our deepest thirst. When we drink from that well, at some level, we transcend the cycle of thirst/satiety/thirst/satiety... we thirst no longer.
Sorry Ryan. Being new here I have become a little lost in the threads and just this moment read your post. I like what you are saying here about drinking from the well and transcending the cycle of thirst/satiety. It�s so true and so freeing!

I was also interested in what Luminousday had to say regarding,
an empty meditation focused on blanking the mind and a focused awareness of Gods love and presence, which, although full can still be {empty)
I have no experience in Zen at all. However, when I think of an awareness of God�s love and presence which goes beyond thoughts and thinking, while the word �focussed� doesn�t come to mind, the notion of a fullness which is so full that it is beyond words and, in that sense, empty, is very meaningful to me.
06 August 2006, 10:14 AM
This poem poem by John of the Cross is so beautiful it gives me goosebumps.

Surely I know the spring that swiftly flows
even during the night.
The eternal spring is deeply hidden,
but surely I know the place where it begins
even during the night.
I don't know its source because it has none
but know that all beginnings come from this one,
even during the night.
I do know that nothing can equal its beauty
and that from it both heaven and earth drink
even during the night.
I know there is no limit to its depth
and no one can wade across its breadth,
even during the night.
Its brightness is never clouded over,
and I know that from it all light flows,
even during the night.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. Hope you are all having a good day. God bless.
17 August 2006, 11:18 AM
For me the apophatic approach to God is very important in my contemplation. Evagrius of Pontus's approach of 'pure prayer' whereby we learn to remove our conceptions of God and purify ourselves of the key vices or negative psychological states which disturb our inner mental tranquility (i.e. anger) is especially attractive to me. In my prayers and contemplations of God I do my best to let go of whatever selfish or egoistic thoughts intrude so I desire God and God's prescence alone. States like anger, acedia (sadness) or random images and desires can easily disturb my attempts to focus. Usually study of scripture or the works of a great saint helps me regain perspective in contemplative practice.

The work called 'The Cloud of Unknowing' along with St John of Cross are also ones I closely follow, since these mystics set out a safe path of apophatic contemplation based firmly on scripture and on Christ. I also use these to help me in my path.

The Christian spiritual heritage is extremely rich in contemplative resources. Both Catholic saints (such as John of Cross) and also Eastern Saints (such as those in the Philokalia) offer a range of means of contemplation. I find my faith is enriched whenever I study a great contemplative of the East, as well as those of the West.