In the Western world this tradition has been pushed to the background of our spiritual heritage due to misunderstanding the practice and charges of heresy. In the late Medieval period and into the Renaissance, these practices were assigned the term Quietism and labeled as part of the Gnostic heresy. In more contemporary times literalist groups claim that the practice of contemplation “leaves the doors open to satanic influences” and are very suspicious of any mention of meditation or contemplation.
It is surprising then to find that the authorities in all branches of the Christian Tradition, Catholocism, Orthodox and Protestant, have been well versed in the contemplative practice. In Catholicism many of the most revered saints, such as Therese of Avila, were deeply engaged in this practice, the Philokalia which collects the writings of the early church fathers, and forms a core authoritative text for the Orthodox tradition, is, as a whole, an exposition on Divine contemplation, and the writings from the founders of the various Protestant sects are also fully engaged with the practice.
Jeremy’s examination is an excellent introduction which shows how true contemplation moves beyond these charges of Quietism and demonic influence and provides a very active connection to a higher reality that is so necessary in these trying times.