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LB sad.
Random: what is the distinction between "meditation" and "contemplation"?
I have no idea. I'll need to contemplate that before giving an answer. - Jim: with more caffeine!
Please do. - LB sad.
I'd see contemplation as more wakeful and focused, meditation more free form - WarLord
I thought meditation is more thinking about nothing and contemplation is more musing on some particular thing? - Rahsheen
"Contemplation takes place in terms of silent prayer that expresses love for God." - LB sad.
To me, meditate has the connotation of basking quietly in thought(s); and contemplate is, more so, to actively engage with idea(s) that answer (or may answer) a question. - Micah
Warlord beat me to it. Contemplation is focused and mediation is unfocused. - (Curtis) Alan Jackson
It's interesting in looking at the OED entries for contemplate/contemplation and seeing how often meditate/meditation appears. Thank you all for your input! I'd never really thought about the differences. - LB sad.
Thank you, Tiffany! - LB sad.
Sounds like you have gotten plenty of good answers. - Friar Will
Yeah, the difference depends on the tradition you asking about. Christian meditation is directed and active, while Christian contemplation is still and avoids the intellect. - Ordinarybug Heather
In Buddhism, focusing on the breath is just a tool to train your mind to let errant thoughts come and go without concentrating on them. You just keep returning to your breathing (and counting if you're still doing counting) until the thoughts have dissipated again. But there's a ton of 'activities' you can do when meditating: mantras, images (another mind training tool is to imagine a letter and not let it get disturbed by your mind), and, in Zen, koans. Hell, in Rinzai Zen, you get hit with a stick if you get caught drifting, falling asleep, looking dazed, drooling, coming out of position, singing hip-hop songs, etc. - Akiva