Again, keeping in the historic tradition, how do you avoid floating into current error of emptying the mind which is different than being absorbed in God, or moving into non-Christian prayer traditions?
Emptying of the mind merely means, detaching from the thoughts that draw us away from our intention, i.e. being in the presence of
Contemplative prayer, is not a technique, but a turning of the heart toward God, who dwells within.
The soul who reaches the stage in their spiritual life, where contemplation is desired, has gone through the “Dark Night of Sense,” in that, they are detached from the experiences and pleasures, that other forms of prayer may have given them. They no longer have the spiritual highs that they experienced in say Charismatic Prayer meetings, or at Mass, when a certain favorite hymn is sung. These things no longer give them pleasure. Instead, the soul seeks union with God alone, nothing more.
St. John’s “Spiritual Canticle,” explains it best.
Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
You fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.
The Beloved is Christ, who touched the soul with His love. This love is like a wound that is pleasing, so the soul went out searching for Him, but he was gone(or so the soul feels). This is the beginning, when the soul first encounters Christ. The taste of His love is sweet and causes a hunger, which the soul seeks to satisfy, and the Lord gives some satisfaction, according to the ability of the soul to eat. They find pleasure in Scripture, spiritual reading and listening to fine preachers. But eventually, they are filled as far as those things can fill, and the soul desires more of the Lord.
Shepherds, you who go
up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
if by chance you see
him I love most,
tell him I am sick, I suffer, and I die.
Seeking my Love
I will head for the mountains and for watersides,
I will not gather flowers,
nor fear wild beasts;
I will go beyond strong men and frontiers.
Here the soul now looks for the Lord, but instead feels the dryness in prayer, which is called the “Dark Night of Sense.” The soul is seeking the Lord, but receives no comfort. The soul prays to the Saints, to help bring him to the Lord.
I won’t go further, you can read the poem and St. John’s commentary, which explains it in detail.
The final part, is union with God. God who dwells within, not God who is out in the woods and fields of experiences outside of union with Him, which is infused contemplation.