Monday, May 16, 2011

Being a contemplative in active life

The needs of others and our spiritual life often compete for our time and energy.

If you are like me, the thought has come that the needs pressing in on my attention are more urgent than prayer or meditation. And the next thought is that I’ll pray later. And its several days later when I remember! Does this seem familiar?

Putting the nurture of my spiritual life first, every day, is one of my significant life challenges. And for you?

I identify with being a contemplative in active life. And when I forget this, a passage like this from Thomas Merton (adjusting for his male language of the 1960s), will encourage me in the moment to stay grounded in the still center of my being, even as I’m active in conversation.

“This age which by its very nature is a time of crisis, of revolution and of struggle, calls for the special searching and questioning which is the work of the Christian in his silence, his meditation, his prayer; for he who prays searches not only his own heart but he plunges deep into the heart of the world in order to listen more intently to the deepest and most neglected voices that proceed from its inner depths.”

I’ve noticed that my capacity to hold this awareness in each moment has come from intentional and consistent (daily) meditation. One day at a time. and the inner voice that used to nag me to be busy now says “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

And I discover that I am now ‘present’, in a new way, to the person or situation because I’ve already “plunged deep into the heart of the world”.

Contemplation in action.

Don’t just do something, sit there.

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