Contemplatives are people whose consciousness of God permeates their entire lives. Their awareness of God’s presence magnetizes them and directs them beyond everything else, beyond all other values. Contemplatives are aware that God creates them, sustains them, and challenges them. As a result, all other values and agendas fall away. I don’t mean contemplatives find no value in other things – for example, in a career, or money, or achievement. These things, however, never become their greatest value. The awareness of God’s presence remains the greatest value.
In essence, according to all the great mystics, contemplation is, and I think continues to be, this consciousness of living steeped in God, of being surrounded by God, of being directed by God, of being in the presence of God, of learning to see life through the eyes of God, of being aware of God’s love, action, and challenge.
-From New Designs, An Anthology of Spiritual Vision by Joan D. Chittister published by Benetvision