Contemplative Quotes (84) Spiritual Sayings

Summary: Definition of Contemplative. The contemplative life is one filled with deep and serious thought, and is often associated with monks, nuns, philosophers, and theorists.


Introspection, or 'sitting in the silence,' is an unscientific way of trying to force apart the mind and senses, tied together by the life force. The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents. 
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

I live a very secluded life, a very contemplative life and a very meditative one. That is my ideal life.
~ Alice Walker

Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet.
~ Thomas Aquinas

All of our great traditions, religious, contemplative and artistic, say that you must a learn how to be alone - and have a relationship with silence. It is difficult, but it can start with just the tiniest quiet moment.
~ David Whyte

The wise man knows how to run his life so that contemplation is possible.
~ Gabriel Marcel

The act of contemplation then creates the thing created.
~ Isaac D'Israeli

Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.
~ Mother Teresa

Compassion will no longer be seen as a spiritual luxury for a contemplative few; rather it will be viewed as a social necessity for the entire human family.
~ Duane Elgin

Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness.
~ Thomas Merton

The true contemplative is one who has discovered the art of finding leisure even in the midst of his work, by working with such a spirit of detachment and recollection that even his work is a prayer
~ Thomas Merton

The happy man needs nothing and no one. Not that he holds himself aloof, for indeed he is in harmony with everything and everyone; everything is "in him"; nothing can happen to him. The same may also be said for the contemplative person; he needs himself alone; he lacks nothing.
~ Josef Pieper

There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.
~ Thomas Merton

One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you.
~ Thomas Merton

Happiness lies in virtuous activity, and perfect happiness lies in the best activity, which is contemplative
~ Aristotle

The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.
~ Thomas Merton

For in order that man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.
~ Thomas Aquinas

The Christian life, and especially the contemplative life, is a continual discovery of Christ in new and unexpected places.
~ Thomas Merton

My biggest past mistakes have been when I made decisions out of ego rather than spirit. When I acted too quickly. When I wasn't contemplative or reflective or prayerful enough, and I ended up making what I would only later see to be unwise decisions.
~ Marianne Williamson

If you want to know anything about community, you have to realize that the contemplative side is essential. Community without retreating and quiet time never survives.
~ Henri Nouwen

The Bible is not primarily a written or printed text to be scrutinized in private, in a scholar's study or a contemplative cell. It is a body of oral messages, announcements, prophecies, promulgations, recitals, histories, songs of praise, lamentations, etc., which are meant either to be uttered or at least read aloud, or chanted, or sung, or recited in a community convoked for the purpose of a living celebration.
~ Thomas Merton

Obstinacy and heat in argument are surest proofs of folly. Is there anything so stubborn, obstinate, disdainful, contemplative, grave, or serious, as an ass?
~ Michel de Montaigne

I decided years ago that if I'm going to keep teaching contemplation, then the last years of my life should be contemplative.
~ Richard Rohr

The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.
~ Thomas Merton

When you are deeply contemplative, you listen more carefully and understand things which cannot be articulated.
~ David A. Cooper

Contemplative prayer [oración mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.
~ Teresa of Avila

Modern definitions of truth, such as those as pragmatism and instrumentalism, which are practical rather than contemplative, are inspired by industrialisation as opposed to aristocracy.
~ Bertrand Russell 

To Time it never seems that he is brave
To set himself against the peaks of snow
To lay them level with the running wave,
Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low,
But only grave, contemplative and grave.
~ Robert Frost

So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' - then you should abandon them.
~ Gautama Buddha

It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called.
~ Henri Nouwen

Man's activity consists in either a making or doing. Both of these aspects of the active life depend for their correction upon the contemplative life (that is, the Hero).
~ Ananda Coomaraswamy

In spiritual growth, it is important to avoid imbalances between academic or intellectual learning and practical implementation. Otherwise there is a danger that too much intellectualiza tion will kill the more contemplative practices and too much emphasis on practical implementation without study will kill the understanding. There has got to be a balance.
~ Dalai Lama

Art is not communicative, art is not reflexive. Art, science, philosophy are neither contemplative, neither reflexive, nor communicative. They are creative, that's all.
~ Gilles Deleuze

When we are on the water, our contemplative impulses range from the intense to the nearly absent.
~ Paul Schullery

Fly-fishing is solitary, contemplative, misanthropic, scientific in some hands, poetic in others, and laced with conflicting aesthetic considerations. It's not even clear if catching fish is actually the point.
~ John Gierach

We need the wisdom of women, and the experience of married people and parents, and the depth of the contemplative if we are to be formed as preachers.
~ Timothy Radcliffe

How do you design it so that people can form a space of their own, and feel quiet and contemplative?
~ Michael Arad

As strenuous challenge or contemplative retreat, the parks and other units of the national lands offer welcome respite from the world, a safety valve for body and spirit.
~ T. H. Watkins

Attention is riveted on what is tangible, useful, instantly available; the stimulus for deeper thought and reflection may be lacking. Yet human beings have a vital need for time and inner quiet to ponder and examine life and its mysteries... Understanding and wisdom are the fruit of a contemplative eye upon the world, and do not come from a mere accumulation of facts, no matter how interesting.
~ Pope John Paul II

Prayer is nothing but that complete surrender, complete oneness with Christ. And this is what makes us contemplative in the heart of the world; for we are twenty-four hours then in His presence: in the hungry, in the naked, in the homeless, in the unwanted, unloved, uncared for. For Jesus said, Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.
~ Mother Teresa

I like to think of the landscape not as a fixed place but as a path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet. To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its mulitplicity and endless variety, come in.
~ Gretel Ehrlich

Other forms of relating to God that have unique value in connecting us to Him include contemplative prayer and centering prayer.
~ Larry Crabb

The meditative state is the highest state of existence. So long as there is desire, no real happiness can come. It is only the contemplative, witness-like study of objects that brings to us real enjoyment and happiness.
~ Swami Vivekananda 

We should all without shame enrol in the school of contemplative prayer.
~ Richard J. Foster

This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.
~ Tilden Edwards

Certainly my films are cinematically unusual, and quite contemplative in their pacing compared to conventional films, but I think overall they are quite engaging, accessible, and even funny.
~ Jenni Olson

The animal has its happiness in the senses, the human beings in their intellect, and the gods in spiritual contemplation. It is only to the soul that has attained to this contemplative state that the world really becomes beautiful.
~ Swami Vivekananda

Since the moment of self-consciousness comes to a permanent end - and a new journey begins- is such a decisive stroke or milestone in the contemplative life, I can only speculate why so little has been said of this breakthrough; in fact , I may never get over the silence on the part of writers who say nothing about this second movement.
~ Bernadette Roberts

Our life of contemplation shall retain the following characteristics: —missionary: by going out physically or in spirit in search of souls all over the universe. —contemplative: by gathering the whole universe at the very center of our hearts where the Lord of the universe abides, and allowing the pure water of divine grace to flow plentifully and unceasingly from the source itself, on the whole of his creation. —universal: by praying and contemplating with all and for all, especially with and for the spiritually poorest of the poor.
~ Mother Teresa

The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls - women's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

No one's quite figured out how to make the images come to the viewer. I guess if they put it on a conveyor belt, you could stand in one place like at sushi restaurants. That could be a next generation of museums. Someone should try that. I think ideally you want to have a contemplative space for the viewer. And shuffling around like a chain gang does work against that.
~ David Salle

We become, after the arrival of the printing press in general, more attentive more attuned to contemplative ways of thinking.
~ Nicholas G. Carr

A lot of people do their practice. They meditate on compassion. Then they yell at people afterwards. NThat is not quite working. One of the things I try to emphasize is contemplative meditation - bringing your thought and intention into meditation.
~ Sakyong Mipham

Inspirational Psychology includes the practical application of identifying the thoughts and mistaken beliefs that cause us pain, along with a contemplative practice to discover our true nature, which is Love.
~ Lee L Jampolsky

You cannot grow in the integrative dance of action and contemplation without a strong tolerance for ambiguity, an ability to allow, forgive, and contain a certain degree of anxiety, and a willingness to not know-and not even need to know. This ever widens and deepens your perspective. This is how you allow and encounter Mystery and move into the contemplative zone.
~ Richard Rohr

While the accompanimental [sic] figures come from Prelude, the melody is wholly original to this theme. First stated on a lonely duduk, and then in octaves by the violins and violas, it is a melancholy and contemplative tune.
~ Bear McCreary

I was thinking about dying the other day the death thought came while I was sitting on the toilet peeing - that's where I have my most contemplative thoughts.
~ Madonna Ciccone

Usually when I draw, I try to be in a contemplative mood. I try to keep my mind as empty, vacant and tranquil as possible. The outer mind is like the surface of the sea. On the surface, the sea is full of waves and surges; it is all restlessness. But when we dive deep below, the same sea is all peace, calmness and quiet, and there we find the source of creativity.
~ Sri Chinmoy

Meditation is a good starting point, or even a little bit of contemplative reflection, asking questions like: Who am I without my name or form? What is my purpose if there is one? What do I want out of my life? What am I grateful for? Just a little bit of reflection like that starts you on the journey.
~ Deepak Chopra

Science is a contemplative possession of reality through exclusion of all illusion, error and ignorance.
~ Georges Canguilhem 

There is no thing as a man who does not create mathematics and yet is a fine mathematics teacher. Textbooks, course material-these do not approach in importance the communication of what mathematics is really about, of where it is going, and of where it currently stands with respect to the specific branch of it being taught. What really matters is the communication of the spirit of mathematics. It is a spirit that is active rather than contemplative-a spirit of disciplined search for adventures of the intellect. Only as adventurer can really tell of adventures.
~ Alfred Adler

A contemplative life has more the appearance of a life of piety than any other; but it is the divine plan to bring faith into activity and exercise.
~ Lord David Cecil

Meditative state is the highest state of existence. So long as there is desire, no real happiness can come. It is only the contemplative, witness-like study of objects that brings to us real enjoyment and happiness. The animal has its happiness in the senses, the man in his intellect, and the god in spiritual contemplation. It is only to the soul that has attained to this contemplative state that the world really becomes beautiful. To him who desires nothing, and does not mix himself up with them, the manifold changes of nature are one panorama of beauty and sublimity.
~ Swami Vivekananda

One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.
~ Thomas Merton

There's no Biblical definition of contemplative prayer
~ Mike Bickle

Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative faculties. He who easily comprehends all that is before him, and soon exhausts any single subject, is always eager for new inquiries; and in proportion as the intellectual eye takes in a wider prospect, it must be gratified with variety, by more rapid flights and bolder excursions.
~ Samuel Johnson

In general, it can be said that no contemplative life is possible without ascetic self-discipline. One must learn to survive without the habit-forming luxuries which get such a hold on men today. I do not say that to be a contemplative one absolutely has to go without smoking or without alcohol, but certainly one must be able to use these things without being dominated by an uncontrolled need for them.
~ Thomas Merton

In contemplative prayer we seek to become the person we are called to be, not by thinking of God, but by being with God. Simply to be with God is to be drawn into being the person God calls us to be
~ John Main

You know, Monsieur, that, although the contemplative life is more perfect than the active life, it is not, however, more so than one which embraces at the same time contemplation and action, as does yours, by God's grace.
~ Vincent de Paul

Mathematics is not a contemplative but a creative subject.
~ G. H. Hardy

Because of his supernatural outlook, he could always work very calmly and effectively and finish things on time. This was a reflection of the reality of a harmonious and attractive blend of prayer and action. It clearly showed that the sensibilities of a contemplative soul in no way lead to agitation or nervousness.
~ Salvador Bernal

Another of the things I started to do during this time was what Buddhists normally call "meditation" or, in Christian terms, "contemplative prayer". It began to supersede deipnosophy as my favorite hobby.
~ Sara Maitland

I cannot imagine why my vision will have some value in the world..and yet I know it will..I think I will count because I am patient and recueilli (contemplative) in some degree.
~ Gwen John

Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.
~ Thomas Merton

But nothing is yet clear on the subject of the intellect and the contemplative faculty. However, it seems to be another kind of soul, and this alone admits of being separated, as that which is eternal from that which is perishable, while it is clear from these remarks that the other parts of the soul are not separable, as some assert them to be, though it is obvious that they are conceptually distinct.
~ Aristotle

As long as I continue to take myself seriously, how can I consider myself a saint? How can I consider myself a contemplative? For the self I bother about does not really exist, never will, never did except in my own imagination.
~ Thomas Merton

I confess that I have as vast contemplative ends, as I have moderate civil ends: for I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
~ Francis Bacon

Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy is a major contribution to art therapy literature and practice. Laury Rappaport introduces a contemplative method and philosophy grounded in the body's felt-sense of experience and its innate and largely unrecognized wisdom. This intellectually provocative, yet thoroughly practical text, establishes Rappaport as an emergent leader in the art therapy world and author of a book that every student and art therapist must read in order to appreciate the depth and breadth of our discipline.
~ Shaun McNiff

The natural historian is not a fisherman who prays for cloudy days and good luck merely; but as fishing has been styled "a contemplative man's recreation," introducing him profitably to woods and water, so the fruit of the naturalist's observations is not in new genera or species, but in new contemplations still, and science is only a more contemplative man's recreation.
~ Henry David Thoreau 

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Contemplative Quotes - (84) - Awakening Spiritual Quotations
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