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What is Meditation ?

The difference between prayer, contemplation and meditation

In Switzerland there are a lot of meditation groups and meditation teachers. You also may book meditation courses or meditation retreats in Switzerland. Properly most of those events are adapted on the needs of the participants. Even music or sound can take place in those "meditations". – But what is meditation really ?

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The Prayer

The prayer needs words. It has given words as the Father-Our or it is a free prayer.

The only prayer in Christianity that was given to us directly is the Father-Our. In particular I love this prayer in its original language Aramaic (Jesus spoke Aramaic as well).

For me, the prayer of Nicholas of Flue is the most impressive and most condensed prayer at all. In three lines all has been said.

The rosary is a prayer given by the church and may help to focus the thoughts.

In the free prayer we use our own words, e.g. to praise God. The petitionary prayer is very common, the prayer for forgiveness as well.

The quiet prayer, the witch is done without any words, is actually contemplation or a meditation.

The Contemplation

One does contemplate over something. There is an object, en occurrence or a text in its centre.

Typically is for monks and nuns the contemplation for hours over the tabernacle (the Blessed Sacrament in a church). Common is also the contemplation over the Passion of Christi.

The contemplation is an examination of something. It is a relaxed thinking-about-something.

To lead a contemplative life means to be totally God-focused and practically not following any actions towards the outer world. As an example, the Saint Nicholas of Flue was leading such a contemplative life.

The contemplation in the Christian mysticism leads to the union with God through purification as Nicholas of Flue or Meister Eckhardt – beside lots of others – have put it in example.

The Meditation

In the meditation one is sitting quietly (typically with crossed legs, in the lotus posture) and one is attentive aware.

That's all.

In the meditation one does not think. Because, thinking means to be occupied with the transitory or with the change. The Absolute, the Truth or God can not be grasped with the five sense organs nor with the mind.

In that moment you start to think, a thinker transpires. As a thinker you are separated from God. When you think about God then God will be on one side and you are on the other side as the observer. This contradicts becoming One.

The aim of meditation – beside the purification (burn out karma) – is enlightenment, that means the absolute realization. Or even clearer said: there is no difference any more between the observer and what is observed.

That is the moment where the drop of water gets united with the Ocean.


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