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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What are the differences between prayer, meditation, and deep critical thinking?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (29033 points ) May 9th, 2011

In as much detail as you can describe, please share the comparative benefits and drawbacks to each.

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11 Answers

Neurotic_David's avatar

Prayer is communication with one’s religious dieties, and I would think is generally used for spiritual benefits.

Meditation is communication with one’s body, and I would think is generally used for physical and emotional relief (think: achieving equilibrium).

Critical thinking is the application of analytical reasoning to solve a problem, and is neither spiritual nor physical nor emotional; it’s purely intellectual.

I would not deign to list drawbacks to any of the three.

AmWiser's avatar

Prayer: dialog between you and a higher being
Meditation: dialog between you and you (your mind)
Deep critical thinking; dialog between you and research.

Comparative benefits would be what ever works best for you in your daily life.
All statements are IMHO

thorninmud's avatar

This is just my take on the matter, based on my understanding of what these terms mean:

Prayer implies a duality—One is addressing something or someone outside one’s self. There is the one who’s praying, and the one being prayed to. As a communication, it has content, a message.

Meditation, at least as I practice it, is about transcending duality by bringing attention to bear. At its best, there is no one meditating, and no object of meditation. The idea of separation between the two is let go of. It is often devoid of content; just pure experience. This is useful only in that it accesses the world of seamless wholeness, which is a very illuminating experience. It has no other “use” per se, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

Critical thinking is analytical, which by its very nature breaks experience down conceptually into component parts. This is useful in dealing with the world of things and individuals, but can’t offer any insight into the world of wholeness.

Blackberry's avatar

Prayer comforts (and to some, deceives), meditation is a bunch of different things and it depends on who you ask, and deep critical thinking isn’t much different than critical thinking, you are just thinking more about something to come to a conclusion.

JLeslie's avatar

This is a great question. Personally I think they are all very similar. They require focus and clearing ones mind of a lot of distractions and static. I think meditation and prayer especially are basically the same, while analytical thought is working on solving something, but still takes focus. I know people who say many things changed for them when they began to pray, but I think that has to do with the focus it brought to their lives.

Kayak8's avatar

For me, prayer is me talking; meditation is me listening and critical thinking is something else entirely that I can only do with a paper and pencil or pen and diagrams to assist me with analysis.

flutherother's avatar

Prayer is directed outwards and is an attempt to connect the self with God usually for a particular purpose.

Meditation is directed inwards and is an attempt to understand and bring peace and unity to the divided mind.

Critical thinking is an attempt to remove inconsistencies from thought.

HungryGuy's avatar

Prayer is seeking guidance from a deity.

Meditation is seeking guidance from within your own subconscious mind.

Critical Thinking is using classical logic, the scientific method, and other such disciplines to dismiss fallacies and derive the truth from the facts and the soundest opinions.

marinelife's avatar

Prayer is a conversation with a “higher power”.

Meditation is being not thinking.

Analytical thinking is analyzing a problem and possible solutions.

Nullo's avatar

Prayer is the ‘sender’ half of communication with God. The etymology of the word classifies it as a sort of requesting.

Meditation, in the Biblical sense (i.e. “meditate on Scripture”) is rather like a cross between prayer and standard literary critical thinking. It is one of the more common ways of getting a response to the above prayer.

Critical thinking may come into play at any point, but is most obvious in apologetics.

mattbrowne's avatar

I actually think all three are not that different.

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