Contemplation is a special consciousness of the presence of Ultimate Reality that by definition exceeds description and results in a transformation of the subject who receives it. It’s not enough to have wonderful theories about Life, the Really Real, or God. Authentic contemplation radically changes us and our way of living—our politics, relationships, economics. Otherwise so-called contemplation is just metaphysical rumination.

Contemplative consciousness (mysticism) is the knowledge of Divine Presence through experience. It is not head knowledge but heart knowledge, not intellectual comprehension but emotional understanding. It is the kind of awareness that develops between close friends, when one can tell almost instinctively what the other is thinking or feeling.

You are made both of and for contemplation; it is not just the privilege of monks and mystics, saints and prophets, and of the cloistered and the devout, it is the secret longing of your being. You contain the seed consciousness and the archetypal reality of contemplation’s hidden ways. Contemplation is the wilderness of your heart that you discover a Reality beyond every religious form.

The experience of Divine Presence is accessible to us, through contemplation, in the fully actualized depths of consciousness itself. Contemplation is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life and the infused presence of Mystery in one’s inner depth. In fact, contemplation is the intrinsic capacity of each self to touch and be touched by the Source—to know the Source through certitude too deep for words or images. This touching is the mystical heart and every aspect of the journey toward inner discovery and then living its truth.

Contemplation refers to a universal and unifying view of the world. One of the quintessential insights of the mystics through the centuries is that the entire cosmos is Interbeing—all beings are embedded in webs of relationship that are interconnected, interdependent, intersubjective, and constantly being co-created and reinvented. Interbeing incorporates our relationships, and also our collective religious and spiritual inheritance, the whole of humanity, creation, and the cosmos. It extends to the suffering of the planet, wounding of the soul, and violence caused by religious superiority, national self-interest, poverty, homelessness, starvation, and war. Interbeing is a fundamental attribute of consciousness.

Contemplation is not merely a shift in perception or how one knows. It is not disembodied or relegated to rarefied states of being. Instead, contemplation affects the whole of one’s life by opening the heart to the Divine Presence in all realities. Furthermore contemplation is in service of and the means by which we discover the unification of spirit and matter, male and female, intuition and reason, mercy and justice; Interbeing. Contemplation is not a goal to be reached, but the starting point, the power that un-forms and then reforms knowledge, love, and perception.