Contemplative Meditation – Christian tradition

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Contemplative meditation exercise for Christians

1. Decide to spend 20 minutes every day to stay still in silence.
2. Choose a time of the day which suits you (a quiet time, not too late at night when you may fall asleep).
3. Choose the same place to meditate. You may want to close your eyes.
4. At the beginning of each meditation ask the Holy Spirit to join you.
5. Stay faithful to this exercise in times when you are sad, you experience emptiness, despair, confusion or happiness, love and fulfillment.

Why is this important to practice?

With time you will see an increased integration of your thoughts, actions, emotions and spiritual life. It will foster your mental wellbeing and self knowledge with your capacities and shortcomings.

What shall I do during my 20 minutes?

Start by concentrating on your breathing and on the life that moves your body from the beginning of your life. Christian scriptures call this life bios (from the Greek, βίος).
1. Name emotions that move your body, for example, ‘I feel despair’ or ‘I feel excitement’.
2. Name thoughts that come to your mind. Letting them come to you easily and leave your mind easily.
3. Your mind may sometimes be critical towards yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself. If certain thought come to you obsessively repeat the ‘Jesus prayer’ (focusing on your breathing repeat the name of Jesus or O Christe Domine Jesu (Taizé Community song – click here) ).

Through this faithful stillness with time your attention will be taken to the inner life of God which the Scriptures call zōḗ (ζωή).
This inner life is very often sensed with an increased capacity to love and an increased sense of being loved.

If you would like to know a bit more please access Centering Prayer or go directly to the website of Contemplative Outreach.

I. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your
intention to consent to God’s presence and
action within.
• The sacred word expresses our intention to
consent to God’s presence and action within.
• The sacred word is chosen during a brief period
of prayer to the Holy Spirit. Use a word of one
or two syllables, such as: God, Jesus, Abba,
Father, Mother, Mary, Amen. Other possibilities
include: Love, Listen, Peace, Mercy, Let Go,
Silence, Stillness, Faith, Trust.

II. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed,
settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred
word as the symbol of your consent to God’s
presence and action within.

III. When engaged with your thoughts, return
ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
• “Thoughts” is an umbrella term for every
perception, including body sensations, sense
perceptions, feelings, images, memories, plans,
reflections, concepts, commentaries, and
spiritual experiences.

IV. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence
with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Welcoming Prayer video – learning to stay in a moment and experience our emotions as they are.

On Psychological Experience of Centering Prayer with Thomas Keating


Other variations:

Meditation with the Scripture

Meditation with an Icon

The Examen – Ignatian Spirituality

More about prayer life, centres, retreats and courses at The Jesuits in Britain