Over the past few years as I have been reading and researching in the world of contemplative prayer and meditation I have started to write down some of my favorite quotations – from ancient masters to modern scientists.  I thought some of you might also enjoy these (and I’ve included citation information where available).  As I continue to add to this list, I will update this post along the way. I make no claims that this list is exhaustive – it simply represents my own idiosyncratic musings of what has caught my attention.  Perhaps you might find some inspiration?
Happy contemplating!
The World Will Be Saved By Beauty
  • This was one of Dorothy Day’s favorite lines, which is adapted from Fyodor Dostoyevski’s The Idiot.
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“Resting quietly in the presence of God”
  • St. Gregory the Great (6th century), Morals on the Book of Job, Preface.
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Mindfulness is an “awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future,” Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144–156, at 145.
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“Paying attention to what’s naturally arising in the present moment with kindness and curiosity.”
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“Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning. Meditation teaches you to systematically explore your inner dimensions. It is a system of commitment, not commandment.”
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Contemplation is “a third way of knowing that complements both the rational and the sensory…designed to quiet and shift the habitual chatter of the mind to cultivate a capacity for deepened awareness, concentration, and insight.”

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“Keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality.”
  • Thich Naht Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness (Boston: Beacon Press, 1987), 11.
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“how we pay attention to the present moment in ‘and open, kind and discerning way'”
Contemplation captured in the acronym “COAL” – Curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love.
  • Daniel J. Siegel, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2016), 225.
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“Consciousness is that which is most intimate to our experience—that which lies beneath thought and feeling. It is awareness itself, the experiencer. “
  • Hari M. Sharma and Christopher Clark. Ayurvedic Healing : Contemporary Maharishi Ayurveda Medicine And Science, 2nd Ed. (London: Singing Dragon, 2012)

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“For contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit of love”
  • John of the Cross (16th century), The Dark Night of the Soul, I. 10. 6.

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“Contemplation is a wordless, imageless prayer into which God invites the Christian who has devoted himself or herself for a prolonged time to discursive prayer. Contemplation, as John says, is precisely a general, loving knowledge of God”
  • Mark O’Keefe, Love Awakened by Love: The Liberating Ascent of St. John of the Cross (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2014), 78-79.

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“the transcendent experience of reality and truth in the act of a supreme and liberated spiritual love…contemplation is [the human person’s] highest and most essential spiritual activity”
  • Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation (San Francisco: Harper, 2003), 34.
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“Mysticism” is a modern word for what the Christian tradition previously called “mystical theology” (a life-style, not an academic discourse), or “contemplation.” I prefer to speak of the “mystical element,” which is a part of a concrete religion, such as Christianity or Judaism. I have described this elsewhere as follows: “…that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of what the mystics themselves describe as a direct and transformative presence of God”
  • Bernard McGinn, Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism (New York: Modern Library Classics, 2006), xiv.
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Recollection, an interior state in which “the soul collects its faculties together and enters within itself to be with its God”
  • St. Teresa of Avila (16th century), The Way of Perfection, 28.4.
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“Mysticism is the art of union with Reality.  The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater or less degree; or who aims at and believes in such attainment.”
  • Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism, 3.
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c. 1200, “religious musing,” from Old French contemplation or directly from Latin contemplationem (nominative contemplatio) “act of looking at,” from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari “to gaze attentively, observe,” originally “to mark out a space for observation” (as an augur does). From com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + templum “area for the taking of auguries” (see temple (n.1)). – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=contemplation
noun
noun: augur; plural noun: augurs
  1. 1.
    (in ancient Rome) a religious official who observed natural signs, especially the behavior of birds, interpreting these as an indication of divine approval or disapproval of a proposed action
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“In the mystic way, reality is neither seized nor deciphered.  Nor can it be committed to ideational formation.  Instead, it is engaged – delicately, knowingly, and passionately.  It is engaged by being loved”
  • Walter Holden Capps & Wendy M. Wright, Editors, Silent Fire: An Invitation to Western Mysticism (San Francisco: Harper, 1978), 1.

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To Be Continued, as I Discover More Wisdom to Share…

deepened awareness, concentration, and insight.”

  • Tobin Hart, “Opening the Contemplative Mind in the Classroom,” Journal of Transformative Education 2.1 (2004).  http://journals.sagep

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