Meditation is defined a mental exercise of regulating attention, either by focusing it on a single object ( " focused attention meditation"), or by keeping it open flowing through whatever is in our present moment experience ("open monitoring meditation"). It involves relaxing the body, calming the mind, going beyond discursive thinking, and looking inside. The objective usually is to take you to deeper states of consciousness, to experience yourself beyond the mind, or to "see things as they are".

Meditation is a type of contemplative practice, which is a broader category. There are other types, such as prayer, inspirational reading, and visualization. In this post I explore contemplative practices that come from the Christian tradition. Some theologians see meditation as distinct from prayer, but others do not; those who make a distinction define meditation as inwardly directed, and prayer as directed to something outside the self.

In Eastern traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism) meditation is usually practiced with the purpose of transcending the mind and attaining enlightenment. On the other hand, in the Christian tradition the goal of contemplative practices is, one may say, moral purification and deeper understanding of the Bible; or a closer intimacy with God/Christ, for the mystic stream of the tradition. ...[Continue reading on Live and Dare]