Dulcina and I started comparing notes on Monday. The first two sections we read were on meditation and contemplation. I have to say, I think meditation is definitely one of the neglected disciplines. I mean, I've occasionally heard a pastor or speaker mention that we should meditate on God's word, but that's about it. I've never really known the nuts and bolts of how it's done.
The first section we read was written by Thomas More, an awesome dude who stood up to King Henry the Eighth (to six spouses was wedded. One died, one survived, two divorced, and two beheaded. Sorry, this always pops into my head whenever I hear King Henry the Eighth) and told him that it was wrong to divorce his wife and make himself head of the church. For his boldness, he was executed. But they do say that he went to his death gracefully, even joking with his executioners. Sounds like a good guy to me.
His work was a poem of some of his own meditations called "A Godly Meditation," and it almost takes my breath away. Each one of his lines is just amazing and full of depth. For example, he writes,
Gladly to be thinking of God,
Piteously to call for his help,
To lean unto the comfort of God,
Busily to labor to love him.
I mean, seriously. Am I really always glad to think of God? Do I eagerly turn my mind to him during the day? And what about "piteously to call for his help." His use of "piteously" reminds me exactly of my helpless position in this world. What can I do on my own? If I think that I can live life on my own, I find that I'm utterly mistaken and have to call for his help. I could go on, but I won't. Basically, More's whole poem is awesome. You should buy the book and read it.
The next section is written by Joyce Huggett. I'd never heard of her before, but I'm glad that I read her section. She actually explains the difference between meditation and contemplation (the former is more focused on scripture while the latter is more focused on God's love) and tells you practically how to do it yourself. Awesome stuff.
For me personally, I think mediation is easier. The point of meditation is to take a bit of head knowledge and roll it around it our heads until it "trickles down to our hearts." With meditation, I have something tangible to think about, to focus on. Contemplation, on the other hand, is hard for me to grasp. Instead of words, you're supposed to focus on God's love and let its reality envelop you. That seems so much more intangible, and I know I haven't "gotten" it. Although, I suppose that is the point of a discipline; it's hard and you have to practice it.
So I'd love to hear from you guys. Have any of you read anything from either of these guys? Or have you read/learned anything else about meditation and contemplation?