This section shows how Contemplative Prayer benefits you, mentally, physically and spiritually.
It encourages you to explore and find new ways that you might find helpful, to experiencing the presence of God.
Good For You
Contemplation is good for your mind.
Many people have discovered that meditation is an aid to learning and spiritual insight. Much research has been done regarding the states of well-being that encourage good learning. In particular it has been noted that there is a link between deep meditation or contemplation and the process of learning. Thus contemplation has immense benefits for teachers and students.
According to these theories the electrical activity in the brain, as it passes through neural pathways, occurs in waves. These are referred to as alpha, beta, theta and delta. Each of these frequencies is thought to be associated with particular thought processes.
Theta waves are characteristic of deep meditation, when flashes of inspiration might occur. People are spiritual beings and it seems that God made us with the ability to communicate with him, and receive from him. For the Christian, the presence of God dwells within, seeking to impart wisdom to us. Meditation helps us physically to get into the frame of mind where we are more likely to hear from God
There is also evidence to suggest that alpha waves during the academic learning process are improved by the frequent use of relaxation techniques. Contemplation therefore is a good preparation for academic learning as people think more clearly from a deeply relaxed state.
The background information was taken from a book by Sara Shaw and Trevor Hawes “Effective Teaching and Learning in the Primary School Classroom.
Contemplation is good for your body.
The modern age abounds with relaxation techniques to help bring down the stress levels of busy people. Contemplative prayer can be a positive help here. Learning to de-stress and be still has benefits in terms of overall health and well being. Yes prayer is good for you! It is said that people who go to Church live longer!!
There is now a branch of science known as Neuro-theology that studies the effects of spiritual experience on the brain. It seems that a certain part of the brain is activated when people have a sense of the presence of God. This does not need to be a threat to the person of faith as it seems logical that if people are created to be spiritual beings that they have the tools for responding spiritually. It does not mean that spiritual experience has necessarily been brain induced.
Contemplation is good for your spirit
The research seems to suggest that people respond differently to different approaches. Some respond to silence and quiet prayers whilst others like praise music with a strong beat. Whatever method suits you is appropriate if it enhances spiritual awareness. Some are able to enter a contemplative state whilst listening to loud music whilst others need silence. Enjoy and reverence your individuality but always be open to doing things differently. Life is about growth and change - what you have may be good, but there might be an even better approach. Contemplative Prayer is a means of preparing our mind to being aware of God’s presence. Do not be afraid to explore new ways.
The important thing with Contemplative Prayer is to have a try. There is no right or wrong way of doing it and the key is to find an approach that best suits you. Never major on one discipline but incorporate it into your devotional life and I guarantee that you will soon see the results.
"The World Inside Bookshop"
There are some excellent books available. They have been specifically chosen to help you develop the Lost Art of Contemplative Prayer.