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When you really plug into consciousness, maybe it feels like it’s coming through your brain; but it actually comes through a whole-hearted surrender to the moment—a surrender that encompasses everything and eliminates nothing. (
Contemplation and silence nip the ego and its negatives in the bud by teaching you how to watch and guard your very thoughts and feelings—but from a place of love and not judgment. (Monday)
Contemplation is the inner discipline of constantly observing my own patterns—what I pay attention to and what I don’t pay attention to—in order to get my own ego out of the way. (Tuesday)
We need some contemplative practice that touches our unconscious conditioning, where all our wounds lie, where all our defense mechanisms are operative secretly. (Wednesday)
Mystics—those who have experienced union with the Divine—are in love, in love with life and life for all. If they are not in love, they are not in union. (Thursday)
Those who fall into the safety net of divine silence find that it is not at all a fall into individualism, but just the opposite. True prayer or contemplation is a leap into commonality and community and connection. (Friday)
Rest: Boats Floating Downstream
In Centering Prayer, a contemplative practice taught by Thomas Keating, we choose a “sacred word” to help us return to our intention of awareness to God’s presence. The word might be “Peace” or “Be” or “Love”—something simple. Don’t spend too much time analyzing the word. Hold it lightly and let it go when it is no longer needed, but come back to it any time your thoughts interrupt the stillness.
Keating uses the imagery of a river in Centering Prayer to help compartmentalize our “thinking” mind. He says our ordinary thoughts are like boats on a river so closely packed together that we cannot experience the river that flows underneath them. The river is the Presence of God holding us up. When we find ourselves getting distracted or hooked by a thought or feeling, we are to return ever so gently to our sacred word, letting the boat (thought or feeling) float on downstream. Gradually, the mind is quieted, with fewer thoughts/feelings and more space between “boats.”
Be patient with this practice. We all have ingrained patterns. Sometimes the same thought or feeling will circle by again and again, saying “Think me! Think me! Feel me! Feel me!” as it tries harder to be noticed. Just keep returning to the sacred word and letting the boats float downstream.
Gateway to Silence: Christ is in me, and I am in Christ.
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