What does it mean to ‘contemplate’?
To contemplate means to look at something attentively and thoughtfully. To think deeply on something.
It is to view something with a “mindful eye” so to speak. In religious terms, contemplation is usually understood as a type of prayer or meditation in which we focus on God.
Contemplation can be a very powerful spiritual practice, a way to calm our minds and a great way to make decisions in life.
When we are able to deeply contemplate something, we are able to think through a problem, carefully consider options and become clearer on what we truly want and need in life.
Contemplating requires time and patience with ourselves. Sometimes, we may seek opinions from others, professional advice or further research, but ultimately, to contemplate means to gather the necessary information and then to ponder and reflect within ourselves.
The following collection of quotes are all about contemplation and deep, considered thinking.
Quotes About Contemplation & Ruminating
“Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.” Lao Tzu
“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” Wayne Dyer
“Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant source.” Thomas Merton
“In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.” Viktor E. Frankl
“Meditate nothing. Learn to contemplate. Contemplate glory. There will be a light. Contemplate truth until it burns your eyes out.” Robert Frost
“Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others.” Marian Wright Edelman
“Contemplation must bring forth right action in order to permit further growth.” Robert A. Heinlein
“Contemplation is the root of awareness and creativity.” Sandra Chantry
“The contemplation of beauty causes the soul to grow wings.” Plato
“A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful, we find others spending it for us. . .. It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ . . . If one is not careful, one allows diversions to take up one’s time—the stuff of life.” Carl Sandburg
“Contemplation is that condition of alert passivity, in which the soul lays itself open to the divine Ground within and without, the immanent and transcendent Godhead.” Aldous Huxley
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” Aristotle
“If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet…maybe we could understand something.” Federico Fellini
“If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner world and the outer world.” Sri Chinmoy
“Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.” Dodie Smit
“Our goodness comes solely from thinking on goodness; our wickedness from thinking on wickedness. We too are the victims of our own contemplation.” John Jay Chapman
“All women have a perception much more developed than men. So, all women somehow, being repressed for so many millennia, they ended up by developing this sixth sense and contemplation and love. And this is something that we have a hard time to accept as part of our society.” Paulo Coelho
“Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience.” Randolph Bourne
“Many scientists think that philosophy has no place, so for me it’s a sad time because the role of reflection, contemplation, meditation, self-inquiry, insight, intuition, imagination, creativity, free will, is in a way not given any importance, which is the domain of philosophers.” Deepak Chopra
“An art aims, above all, at producing something beautiful which affects not our feelings but the organ of pure contemplation, our imagination.” Eduard Hanslick
“That pleasure, which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” Edgar Allan Poe
“A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth or perfection is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life.” Lewis Mumford
“Never hide things from hardcore thinkers. They get more aggravated, more provoked by confusion than the most painful truths.” Criss Jami
“Contemplation is a luxury, requiring time and alternatives.” Tahir Shah
“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart
“Contemplation and wisdom are highest achievements and man is not totally at home with them.” Gabriel Marcel
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.” Jean Arp
“One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it. In vain, one bestows on it the name of infinity; this does not change its nature.” Emile Durkheim
“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
“The so-called modern conveniences may, in fact, be extremely inconvenient – everything seems to exist as a distraction from any sort of deeper thought or contemplation.” Michael Finkel
“The act of contemplation then creates the thing created.” Isaac D’Israeli
“The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.” Diane Arbus
“Contemplative prayer is natural, unprogrammed; it is perpetual openness to God, so that in the openness his concerns can flow in and out of our minds as he wills.” Ray Simpson
“Music inspires contemplation, dreams, and the imagination.” Varg Vikernes
“The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.” Thomas Merton
“Leisure activities such as contemplation, going for a stroll or a bike ride boost our overall health, wellbeing, and creativity.” Jens Martin Skibsted
“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” Nicolas Chamfort
“It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.” Thomas Aquinas
“Life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily. It is a journey of the spirit through the material world and, since it is the spirit that travels, it is the spirit that is experienced. That is why there exist contemplative souls who have lived more intensely, more widely, more tumultuously than others who have lived their lives purely externally.” Fernando Pessoa
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