Meditation and Contemplation

Meditation and Contemplation

I find it useful to use scientific language when talking about meditation today.  I like to remind people that we all have three brains—our reptilian brain which is about 440 million years old; our mammalian brain which is about 220 million years old; and our neo-cortex or intellectual/creative brain which is very new and around 250,000 years old.  I see meditation as primarily a way to calm the reptilian brain, that oldest of our brains. Now the reptilian brain is not a bad thing—we need it to survive, it supports our action and reaction, breathing and sexuality and much more.  But Read More …

Centering Prayer

“Prayer is not a request for God’s favours…Genuine prayer is based on recognising the Origin of all that exists, and opening ourselves to it.” ~Cynthia Bourgeault CENTERING PRAYER: THE VERY BASICS Most faith traditions have some form of meditation or contemplation. Virtually all methods of meditation have a goal of expanding, or deepening, the consciousness of the practitioner. The details vary. The Contemplative Society focuses on Centering Prayer, a surrender method of meditation, or contemplative prayer, that reaches back to the early days of Christianity. In her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening*, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that even though we Read More …

The Greatest of These Is Love

It’s so simple that it’s hard to teach. Our Christian mission is to awaken us to what we already know is true: The foundation of everything is love because “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). God’s love in us is seeking to love and be loved and to bring healing and wholeness to a suffering world. Love is our basic identity in God.   My own experience of God’s love has inspired me to be a channel of divine love for others. I try to remove the barriers—created by immature religion, bad teaching, culture, ego, and our own woundedness—that keep us from knowing Read More …

Praying like Saint Francis

Prayer is something that people of all religious traditions understand as a necessary component of holy living. And yet somehow, the mystical path is often seen as accessible only to those in religious life, especially members of cloistered or monastic communities. Drawing upon Sts. Francis of Assisi, Clare, Anthony, and Bonaventure; Brothers Giles and Juniper; and Blessed John Duns Scotus, Richard Rohr explores the Franciscan genius that spawned a strain of mysticism characterized by an overarching wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation, which is grounded in nature, animals, the poor, the outsider, contemplation, joyfulness, and a cosmic sense of Read More …

Contemplation is…

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 Read More …

Contemplative Practices & Resources

Contemplative Practices: Drumming: Practicing surrendering the mind and attuning the body through rhythm Walking Meditation: Taking slow, mindful steps Ecstatic Dance: Moving freely to music Chanting: Singing with intention Centering Prayer: Observing and letting go of all thoughts without judgment during a period of silence Lectio Divina: Reading short passages of text in a contemplative way Christian Meditation: Repeating scripture or a sacred word as a mantra Welcoming Prayer: Welcoming any feeling, sensation, or emotion that arises in the midst of your day YHWH Prayer: Consciously saying God’s name through each breath Pranayama: Breathing mindfully Loving Kindness Meditation: Recognizing your Read More …

Contemplation to Oneness

A spiritual path that does not lead to a living commitment to . . . the Kingdom of God within and around us everywhere for everyone, is no path at all. . . . It is a dead end on the way to God. . . . Contemplation, you see, is a change in consciousness. It brings us to see the big picture. It brings us to see beyond our own boundaries, beyond our own denominations, beyond even our own doctrines and dogmas and institutional self-interest, straight into the face of a mothering God from whose womb has come all Read More …

14 Precepts of a Participatory Contemplative Spirituality

Participatory Contemplative Spirituality is where practitioners bring their practice, wisdom, and insights from contemplation and wisdom teachings, into the real world situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice. They bring compassion, a peaceful heart and pragmatic solutions to issues out there in the world. These principles are relevant for anyone who wants to make a positive and sacred impact on the world and wants to live mindfully, and ethically. By developing peace and serenity through ethical and conscientious living, we can help our society make the transition from one based on greed and consumerism to one in Read More …

What is Spiritual Formation?

My children, I am again in the pain of childbirth, until Christ is formed in you… — Galatians 4: 19 For God beholds with his merciful eyes not what you are, nor what you have been — but what you would be. — The Cloud of Unknowing Christ is the potter… we are the clay. The Spiritual Renaissance Spirituality — the life of the Spirit — has enjoyed a renaissance in our day. My parents, of the World War II generation, never talked about it — for them, church and religion existed to take care of spiritual needs. But now, Read More …