Whenever I think about contemplation, I think of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker1. A man is depicted as being deep in thought through every expression of his being.
Contemplation is defined2 as full or deep consideration; reflection; thoughtful or long consideration or observation. This is closely connected to a form of meditation which is focused on activating the mind to deeply consider something. It is not like the emptying or clearing of the mind or something similar which is promoted by Eastern religions.
Contemplation or meditation is allowing yourself the time and space to deeply consider a thought, idea, or object with a view to understanding it better. For the Christian, this includes understanding how it relates to God’s love for us and our’s for Him.
I suppose if I were honest, this is one of those skills that I haven’t done enough to develop. Sure I’ve had a variety of experiences when I’ve been truly contemplative (thanks Dan). Most of the time though, I rush through things and seek to find the quick solution / answer, so that I can move onto the next activity, task, book, etc.
I only really have myself to blame for not developing this skill. I’ve let myself get absorbed into a short attention span lifestyle. I’ve become easily distracted and prone to following “rabbit trails.”
So I’ve decided to address this by setting myself on a path of learning to contemplate better. I pray that God will bless me with the ability to focus better so that I can better understand Him and His world.
1 Norton Simon Museum, http://www.nortonsimon.org/.
2 “contemplation.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 14 Jun. 2014. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/contemplation.