Tag Archives: Contemplation

IN THE ARMS OF YOUR SILENT EMBRACE

Today I was meditating, and, as often is the case, my mind gets going and I want to get up and start getting something done that I’m thinking about. Sometimes it is “work” just to sit there. Funny huh? “Work” just to sit there?

The White Robed Monks call this “Just Sitting,” a practice adopted from Zen, where one simply sits 15 minutes a day, concentrating on the breath and clearing the mind of all thought. When we do this our mind, our ego revolts. That little voice in our heads just doesn’t want to leave us alone.

What struck me this morning again is that when I want to heed that voice within, when I want to get up and start moving and stop this sitting – I am not trusting! In essence, when I break the meditation and start running, I am saying that I trust more in myself than I do in Divine Power. My experience, however, says that when I stay with this “work,” when I simply sit and make an empty space in my mind, I connect directly with Source Energy, God, the Spirit. Suddenly my work is given energy and much more is accomplished – and somehow – directly as a result of thinking no-thing, my thoughts are clarified and my life is given meaning and direction. It’s like I have suddenly been plugged in!

Can I trust enough to stay with the silent embrace and make a space in my life to connect with Source? Try it. And see what happens!

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“Contemplation Is the Highest Form of Activity”

I was recently watching a program on PBS called “Excuses Be Gone” featuring Wayne Dyer. In it, he quotes Aristotle as saying:

“Contemplation is the highest form of activity.”

I so resonate with that statement! I am wired differently from what society, corporations and even churches applaud and hold up as good. “Idleness is the devil’s workshop” we were often told as kids. Certainly that was the message in the church and family in which I was raised. For me, the opposite is true.

The more “activity” I am involved in – the less I do – and the quality of anything that I do, and even the person I am, suffers greatly! It is in the silence of nothingness, in time, seemingly wasted – where great things are born within me. When I don’t take time to be, read, write, pray, listen to music – my life and work suffer. When I have, or take this time – despite great pressure not to do so – then my work finds life and creativity and I am a decent person to be around.

I find this is not very much appreciated either in society or the church. Produce! Produce! Produce! This is the message that most of us receive. It’s funny. I don’t find society, churches or countries any the better for all the incessant activity! Perhaps we would be wise to slow down, take stock. I recently heard these very words in a church, coming from a man who’s an unredeemed, angry workaholic whose toxic energy is oppressive to his staff and his church. He does a tremendous amount of work; but I don’t know of anyone (who really knows him) who looks up to him or actually wants to spend time with him. How sad. But I believe, like all addicts, he’s basically a good person at heart. Perhaps he just needs to slow down and take stock.


Hibernate A Little!

After a long stretch of days taken in work and interuptions, I finally had a day yesterday to myself.  It was a day spent in catching up on laundry, cleaning the house, taking down Christmas decorations and putting the house in order.  I also took the afternoon to do some reading and the evening to make some phone calls and connect with some people I haven’t talked to in a while.

I suddenly felt human again!

This sacred space of “no-thing” held within it an energy that renewed my life force, which of late has been greatly drained.  Without such spaces in life, I am less present to people emotionally, get less done in more time and find myself “restless, irritable and discontent” (RID as they say in 12 Step Programs).

I am once again reminded of not only the value of, but the necessity of taking such times if we are to live and love well.

Why not hibernate a little this winter?


Call Me Mary!

“Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it.”

See Luke 10: 38-42

In a world that canonizes the “Martha’s” of the world, those who go, go, go and work, work, work, I am so grateful for this story – because I’m definitely a “Mary.” The society in which we live canonizes work. The more we can produce, the better. The more we can get out of an employee for the least amount of pay, the better.

There are Mary’s and there are Martha’s in the world. I have some friends who are Martha’s. They are the movers and shakers, the ones who get things done. Not that I don’t get anything done, but I envy the energy that I see in these people and have always felt a bit of guilt because I don’t seem to have that same energy. I am however passionate, a dreamer, one who, I’ve been told, has a way of inspiring and moving people. It is only when I am rooted in my inner “Mary” that this passion thrives. When I run all over like Martha, with many worries and concerns, the passion within me freezes, gets paralyzed.

I am so grateful for the Martha’s in my life. And I think the Martha’s in my life are grateful for the Mary in me. A balance between the two is probably optimum in living life well.

And, as an aside, what a great thing for Jesus to get all those men pissed off by allowing Mary, A WOMAN, to sit in the company of men and listen to the teacher! This is the real clincher of the story. Women were indeed deprived of learning and were not to be in the company of men. We only need watch the movie “Yentl” to get a sense of what that was like. Jesus, here, as in many places, takes the assumed religious/cultural understanding and turns in upside down! You go boy!

 


Heavenly Sex – On My Back, Wide Open

“‘Go out and stand on the mountain; God will be passing by.’
A strong wind came and crushed rocks, but God was not in the wind.

After that there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake there was a fire, but God was not in the fire.

After the fire there was a tiny whisper – complete silence – and then Elijah, knowing that it was God, went and stood at the mouth of the cave.” See 1Kings 19: 9, 11-13

As I get older, there is no question in my mind that it is in the silence that I am most completely myself! It is in silence that I feel most energized and connected. I not only feel connected with the Divine, but I feel most intimately connected with those that I love when I am in silence.  When I have gone away to enter the silence, while meditating or at night, looking up at the stars, I would feel a mystical and very intimate connection with those who were thousands of miles away from me. Is it only me, or is there great intimacy to be found in the silence?

I suppose we’re all different and find our intimate connections, both human and Divine in various ways. For me, the silence becomes the place which is most intimate, most energizing. There is a pregnancy that I feel in the silence – limitless possibility. When I am there I feel like I am making love. I am no longer separate, but connected at the deepest places within myself, with creation, the Divine and those I love. For two or three hours at a stretch I just sit, doing nothing but looking at the ocean, the mountains and the stars, and in those moments I feel the cells of my body vibrating in intimate unity with the Universe. I am completely open and give myself over to this Love without fear. I allow myself to be freely and fully penetrated. And in the rhythm of our love making I feel his strength and his gentleness as he fills me.

Yet I am not spent in this love making, I am not diminished. I walk away renewed, energized with life, pregnant with tomorrow’s possibility.


In the Desert I Will Speak to Your Heart

Hosea 2: 16, 17-18, 21-22

“I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.”

For centuries the desert has been a place of spiritual renewal, metaphorically and in reality. It is an oft used image of spiritual writers of various traditions through the centuries, pointing to a place where one faces oneself, battles ones demons and where one emerges transformed. Francis of Assisi, when he was young and becoming disillusioned with the direction of his life would often go to “lonely places,” caves in the mountains of Assisi. He struggled, meditated, prayed. One day he came out of the cave and his biographer said that it was as if one person went in and another came out. He was transformed and focused. Certainly any of us who have come out in life have experienced such a transformation. Any who have dealt with an addictive pattern in their lives have experienced such transformation.

The desert is a space that we all need in life. We go about our days, one after another, running here and there, caught in the same behaviors, the same emotions, the same patterns and sometimes it seems as if we hit a wall, waking up one day wondering who we are, who the person we live with is and where we are going in life. We all need a desert where we can retreat, evaluate and reenergize.

A little daily desert, a time of meditation or silence is a good thing to build into our routine. If I do not take this “waste of time” my energy gets dissipated all over the place. I am not centered and focused and my life seems to lack direction. Besides a daily desert, it’s also good if we take time at least once a year where we get away to a place that takes us outside of our daily routines and concerns, where we can think, rest, pray and refocus. Such a time has been extremely beneficial to me. Monasteries, hermitages and Retreat Centers are great places to take such time.

If you are feeling heavy and burdened, or simply listless and out of focus, perhaps it might be a good time to plan a time of retreat where you can be lured into the desert and the love story that is your life can be given renewed energy!


Contemplative Do Nothings

Last night I read the end of Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose. I am often amazed at the synchronicity of events. So often I hear something or pick up this or that book exactly at the time that I need to. Perhaps that is a part of being awake and aware. When we are awake, conscious in our living, we are able to pick up on Life’s messages.

I last wrote of feeling a sense of creative depression and the fact that I have often felt guilty as I seem to require significant spaces of quiet in my life. As such, I have never quite squared up with those who are constantly about this or that task and who accomplish much in their lives. As I was reading the end of Tolle’s book, he described people like me and I was reminded again of the value of Contemplative Do Nothings. He calls us “The Frequency Holders,” and contends that in the new earth – the conscious earth – we are invaluable. Our contribution in our contemplative nothingness is to bring consciousness to the world.

Contemplative Do Nothings are of inestimable value to the world, in that they are like the keepers of the flame – those who imbue the world with meaning and depth. We are the like the Lynx, that wonderful medium sized cat who symbolizes the link between this world and the next. Perhaps we Contemplative Do Nothings are those who point to the Eternal in the midst of the Finite, those who point to Limitless Infinity in the midst of the seemingly limited world of form. And what a gift this is to bring to life! We are those who give birth to art and music in the world. In themselves, art and music seem of no constructive value, no productive purpose. But imagine a world without art and music and we quickly realize their inestimable value to our daily lives! How poor and lifeless our world would be without them! And indeed, how very poor and lifeless our world would be without “The Frequency Holders,” the Contemplative Do Nothings!