Meditation & Contemplative Prayer, Introductory Quotations

Why meditate?

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
          — Proverbs 4:23

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
          — Matthew 5:8

Still your mind in me, still yourself in me,
And without doubt you shall be united with me,
Lord of Love, dwelling in your heart.
          — Bagavad Gita

If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
          — Third Zen Patriarch (606)

How to meditate?

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
          — Tao Te Ching

Be still, and know that I am God.
          — Psalm 46

As a river empties into the ocean, empty yourself into Reality.
          —Pirke Avot 2:4

Try to make your spiritual intellect deaf and dumb during the time of prayer, for then you will really be able to pray.
          — Evagrios of Pontus (circa 346 – 399)

Your thoughts are a veil on the face of the Moon.
That Moon is your heart, and those thoughts cover your heart.
So let them go, just let them fall into the water.
          — Rumi (1207 – 1273)

The experience of meditation

Meditating on the perfection of wisdom awareness is like meditating on the sky….   The sky is without conceptual thought; the perfection of wisdom awareness is without conceptual thought.
          — Perfection of Wisdom Sutra

Stillness of spirit is an endless worship of God
And a standing in the very Presence.
          — John Klimakos (circa 570 – 649)

Once the heart has been perfectly emptied of mental images,
It gives birth to divine and mystical concepts that play within it
Just as fish and dolphins play in a calm sea.
          — Hesychios (circa 6th or 7th Century)

This pure mind at the source is intrinsically always completely clear and fully aware, but worldly people do not realize it; they only recognize perception and cognition as mind, so they are shrouded by perception and cognition.   That is why they do not see the very essence of their spiritual luminosity.   If they would just directly be mindless, the very essence would appear of itself, like the sun rising into the sky, lighting up everywhere, with no further obstruction.
          — Huang Po (9th Century)


As soon as you sense any lingering or obstruction… just make your mind clean and free, like space, like a mirror, like the sun in the sky.
          — Yuanwu (1063 – 1135)

Father, help me to realize that now is eternity and that there is only the dimension of the now in which to awaken to Thy unquenchable love that will not let me go.   Strip me of all further evasion and postponement, that this very hour I may abandon my heart to Thee.
          — Bernard of Clairvaux (1091 – 1153)

If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently….   And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.
          — St. Francis de Sale (1567 – 1622)

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