Cataphatic Meditation

Definition - What does Cataphatic Meditation mean?

Cataphatic meditation, also known as affirmative meditation, is a kind of meditation that uses images or visualizations to encourage a certain state of consciousness. It is a “content-filled” meditation and is considered the opposite of apophatic meditation, which implies an emptying or clearing of the mind.

Cataphatic meditation is linked with cataphatic theology, which is religious thought that uses positive terminology to allude to God, or the Divine. It describes God in terms of what it is, rather than what it is not.

Yogapedia explains Cataphatic Meditation

Cataphatic meditation may use words, color, song or imagery to conjure the Divine. It is considered a valuing approach as it can use the richness of ideas from the manifest word to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Divine.

An example of cataphatic meditation might be to meditate on an object that has a spiritual significance to the meditator — such as a religious symbol or icon — and focus on its meaning and what it represents, using this as a way into a meditative state.

Cataphatic meditation is criticized by some who believe that the Divine cannot be contemplated in positive forms and, as such, to try to do so would be to attempt to limit the unlimited.

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