Study forms our minds but also our inner character.
Study affect our beliefs and our values.
Study affects our understanding and our vision.
Study affects how we look at and perceive the world.
Contemplation is a near-lost method of thinking.
It has been preserved and passed down by some who engage in spiritual practices – for example those who follow the Benedictine way, or who use lectio divina, a contemplative way of reading.
The practice of contemplation can help prevent us reducing life to simplistic logical dualities of right/wrong, us/them, either/or.
Contemplation allows expansive thinking, consideration of possibilities, engagement of the heart and soul with the mind.
Contemplation may help us to be more compassionate.
Not everyone prays.
And not everyone who prays understands prayer as anything more than asking for things.
To pray is become aware of the presence of God.
To pray may involve just being there in God’s presence in silence.
To pray may involve listening – to our deepest thoughts, to our random and superficial thoughts, to what is revealed to us in the silence, to God.
An Ongoing Structure of Life
Study, Contemplation and Prayer may form the basis of an ongoing structure, or rule, of life.
We can try to set aside certain regular times of the day for study – like first thing in the morning, the evening, or “low times” during the day.
We can set aside times for silent contemplation. For example, using what otherwise might be “dead time” – time driving or commuting, time walking or shopping, time doing necessary but mundane tasks.
And we can set aside regular times of prayer.
Some communities support each other to pray at periodic intervals during the day – like at morning and evening; or morning, noon, evening and night.
I think we can only be deeper people with more to give if study, contemplation and prayer are an integral part of our daily lives.