how/what do eastern Orthodox contemplate?

I read that Orthodoxy discourages using mental images. So how doe one contemplate, say, the Passion of Christ, or the events of the Gospel?

For a primer, I would read this:

Did you mean to meditate while in prayer?

Yes…how does one meditate and reflect without having mental pictures?

My thoughts exactly…when meditating…one tries to picture the events in the life of Christ…so how can one prevent having these mental pictures? :shrug:

In the patristic understanding of man, the faculty of imagination is faulty, having been captured by the necessities of this life, and hence to attempt to focus on images created by the imagination opens the door to possible delusion. The purpose of repetitive prayers, like the Jesus prayer, is not for them to be used as vehicles for imaginative contemplation, but rather for the healing and realigning of the intellect, so that true intellectual vision contemplation of God becomes possible, rather than vision and contemplation of images created by the imagination.

do u think the rosary how one meditates or prayers with the images of the Gospels is a bad thing?

You contradict yourself. You say that when meditating you try to picture the events of Christ’s life, and then ask how you can prevent this. It is pretty simple; don’t try to picture anything.

Okay…can you demonstrate this what you are saying…:shrug:

Let me give an example…when contemplating or meditating on the scourging or the crowning of thorns…so how would you meditate on these…thinking of the sufferings of Christ…without somehow making a mental picture of what He went through?

So could you somehow explain this further…or demonstrate how one could prevent these images created by our imagination?

What if these images are inspired by God…while in deep meditation…it this necessarily a bad thing to do?

In answer to the original question (as has been stated): One does not imagine anything.

In answer to those who criticize this as being difficult: Yes, yes it is. If it were easy it probably wouldn’t be very effective.

When we meditate we must clear our minds of everything but God, who is ineffable, and inconceivable (so anything your imagination draws up, is wrong).

You don’t prevent them, they will come. You just have to ignore them.

As for images inspired by God, discernment plays a major role in Orthodox meditation. Hopefully God has shown you how to be discerning by the time you are getting visions.

Including conceiving the crucifixion? the scourging? the crowning of thorns? the fall while on the via dolorosa?

Would you say then these thoughts are not from God?

Intellect is not intellect as understood in our common language. It comes from nous which really the eye of the intellect which is the spirit, or you could use the word heart as well.

Blessed are those who are pure in heart for they shall see God.

Theophan would say place the mind in the heart.

It would say it is more meditation of one’s being as oppose to meditation of the mind, with focus on the heart area.

Yes, I am aware of this. What we think of as being the intellect in modern English is what the ancients thought of as being the rational faculty, which like the faculty of imagination is a subordinate faculty to the power of the intellect.

Not if they are imagined. The imagination, which creates images is a corrupted faculty of our intellects resulting from the fall. We do not actively seek to see or experience the events of Christ’s life, because doing so provides the imagination a chance to create false images of these events, which can eventually lead one into delusion. If God so chooses to grace us with a true vision of something (visions which are never gained simply by seeking after visions, but rather which can only be seen if one quiets the imagination), then one should ideally have the gift of discernment or be in contact with one who possesses this gift, in order to discern if the vision was of divine or demonic origin. If one does not even have that, then one can still safely ignore images (whether divine, demonic, or imagined), as God will not punish those who ignore true images and apparitions in order not to fall into delusion.

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