Activities that focus our attention on the Sacred, the extraordinary, or what we hold in great reverence. These activities that cultivate silence and connect us to our foundational awarenesses
What does being contemplative mean to me?
The quick answer is that I experience the world as an extraordinary place filled with possibilities. Within this place I learn and transform into a better self. I experience the world through silence. This silence is more than a cessation of noise. Within this environment, I experience clarity and am able to identify distractions and respond intuitively.
Within the silence, my mind doesn’t stop spinning and my exterior world continues to unfold. In life’s bombardment, I clearly hear my internal monologue but choose not to be distracted. My awareness empowers me to respond with compassion and avoid reacting from fear. When I am aware of the distractions but do not respond to them, I am nurturing mindfulness. Although mindfulness is the key component of a contemplative lifestyle, for me, it is also synonymous with the word contemplative.
One of my favorite Merton quotes sums up being contemplative: The spiritual life is first of all a life. Everything that I do is with awareness of the sacred, the extraordinary in my life. I can choose to praise, give thanks, make requests, or ask forgiveness with each thought, word, and action. And, when I do so, I am living contemplatively.
Mindful awareness and engaged silence are keys to practicing this way of being. The path of the contemplative is not a path of perfection; rather, it leads us to live moment by moment in mindful awareness. As each moment expands into the next, we have another opportunity to rest in the silence and make each action, each word, and each thought a mindful response to the world.
What is contemplative living for you? Let me know!