Contemplation

After so many years of regular meditation, I can no longer imagine my life without it. On really busy mornings, it is the last thing I am likely to cut in order to get out the door on time. I have written before in these postings that of all the spiritual practices, this one has been the most vital and life-sustaining for me.

So, I was very interested in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Living Peace, a publication written and distributed by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, because the theme of the issue is “contemplative stance.” Contemplation is a form of meditation that focuses, usually, on the breath rather than on a mantra.

Of the articles in Living Peace, the one that most resonated with me was by Terrence J. Moran, CSJP-A. He wrote, “Contemplation is not another agenda item we add to an already overfull day. Rather, it is the wellspring that nourishes all our other activities. It is a choice we make to look at our life and our world in a particular way. It is a lens not a chore.” And in my experience, the nature of that wellspring is such profound peace that it changes the texture of everything else in your world.

Later Moran added: “The contemplative stance is not a matter of reading, workshops, ideas. It is a practice – daily, diligent, persevering even when results seem scanty.” This point is so important that I was surprised it was buried in the text rather than set off as a breakout quote. What makes meditation yield results is the dailyness of it, the regularity, the continuity of sitting in silence every day, regardless of whether you “go deep” or stay on the surface, whether your mind is beset with thoughts or as still as a frozen pond.

You could read about it, or go to a workshop to hear about it, or talk about it as an idea with someone else, but what makes contemplation work is actually doing it.

           

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