The distinctive traditional practice of religious meditation in the West has its sources in Greco-Roman philosophy, ancient rhetorical education, and in the sectarian communal customs of ancient Judaism, entailing procedures, postures, and practices that were adapted together from the start within Christianity. Few writers differentiated meditation entirely from contemplation, viewing them as stages in a seamlessly joined activity of prayerful reading. The emphasis of the monks is on method and practice, which they speak of as a ‘way’ to knowing God through prayerful reading and reflection on Nature and one’s own self as made in God’s image.