In our last post we discussed meditation. We learned it was the stage which directly succeeds concentration. Unlike focused attention, i.e. concentration, meditation is more of an active attention in which the mind rests on one thought until active thought disappears. It seems like a contradiction: the mind is active and attentive, but also at rest with an object. In this sense it can be considered a state of “no thought” because activities of the lower consciousness are beginning to be repressed. The mind isn’t focusing on an object anymore, it is resting on it. Awareness is increased and flashes of intuition come to the waking conscious. Many people eventually reach this stage in the process of meditation if they are faithful to practice daily.
On the other hand, contemplation is a rare experience. It is the practice of a lifetime, and is a giant step beyond stage 2 meditation. Whereas meditation eventually brings one to a place of “no thought” on the object or thing where active attention is placed, contemplation can be described as a merger with that object. There is nothing in relation to it any longer. The object considered and the meditator become one.
Lee Bladon, in his work The Science of Spirituality, states that contemplation is “…a higher form of meditation that transcends linear mental thinking, and is therefore difficult to put into words. Contemplation activates the soul and develops the super-conscious component of the meta-conscious. The mind becomes fully absorbed in the object or concept it is contemplating, and an indescribably profound and multi-faceted understanding unfolds from this intimate union.”
The visions of the prophets and saints in the Bible are the images and sights received through the stage of contemplation beyond meditation. This is the state in which one communes with God. Here God and man are one. In meditation one receives great insight and intuition. In contemplation one receives God and the fullness and beauty of consciousness itself.
This is what the Apostle Paul truly meant when he said:
“…I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven…how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:1-4).
They are not lawful to utter because regular consciousness cannot describe or define them.
What happens to cause this state of consciousness?
In true contemplation consciousness is no longer centered in the mental body. Arthur Powel states:
“…as the mental body is stilled, the consciousness escapes from it and passes into and out of the laya centre, the neutral points of contact between the mental and causal body.
This passage is accompanied by a momentary swoon, or loss of consciousness, the inevitable result of the disappearance of objects of consciousness, followed by consciousness in the higher body. The dropping out of objects of consciousness belonging to the lower worlds is thus followed by the appearances of objects of consciousness in the higher world.”
This is the conscious states of the prophets when describing the heavenly realms where angels and the images of God / Gods and Goddesses are experienced. Read Ezekiel’s description of the opening of the heavens to reveal visions of God as he was next to the river of Chebar to see my point.
It is also in this blissful state that the Christ within is fully realized. It is a life-changing experience and it should be the goal of every consistent meditator. It may take a lifetime to achieve, but it is well worth the effort.
Contemplation is hard to achieve because all desires, wants, and wishes must be truly eradicated before this state of consciousness can ever be reached. “Self-detachment” is the key word here.
If you study the prophets of the Bible, they were completely self-detached and utterly devoted to the Lord. This is a rare person indeed. Most of us aren’t ready for such a calling! Thanks for reading this three-part series.