At a recent conference I participated in, there was an introduction to Centering Prayer and to the increasingly-popular practice of mindfulness.
I have a passion for the contemplative tradition within Christianity and a concern when it seems to me that the ball of that tradition – which today should be accessible to all – is being dropped. This website has a plethora of resources to scaffold contemplative practice (and to help in integrating contemplative living), but, unless you are a regular here, I’m conscious that it might not be easy to find by many. So this post brings together some places to start in poking around these resources available here.
A fairly obvious spectrum of personal relationship would have:
stranger – acquaintance – friendship – lovers.
From these, we can make analogies with our life of prayer – and also the place of silence, of just being together, in our growing relationship.
I am convinced that within Christianity we need to focus on forming contemplative leadership.
A contemplative foundation, understanding oneself to be held solidly by God (ie. not just my thoughts and words about God), is (IMO) a prerequisite for retaining (and growing) Christian faith in the context of contemporary academic biblical studies. [Other alternatives are the outright threatened rejection, battling against, or brushing off such contemporary scholarship]. The alternative result, so often, is having a dismembered, now-analysed collection of parts but no longer having a living whole.
Also, as I was again reminded at the conference, the appearance of the church seems to be to say so much about what God says so little – and so little about what God says so much.
The church cannot mostly be a pressure group for social, environmental, or other change – other institutions do this at least as well as the church – if not better. Nor can we become the last vestige of classical or choral music. Nor can we merely be the last gasp of those who enjoy medieval pageantry and recitation of poetic paragraphs. Nor the weekly second-class free concert of the creativity club.
But, enlivened by a contemplative relationship with God, all these dimensions – bones, sinews, muscles, organs, if you like – take on their proper place, and energy for change, wonderful music, drama, and creativity can also become means to deepening and expressing this relationship with God.
Also there are posts on the Camino – pilgrimage as expressing metaphorically the contemplative journey (and as a means of deepening contemplative living).
There is a LOT more on this website. And I encourage you to explore more by putting words such as the following into the search box of this website (top right): Merton; Carthusian; Ignatian; Cistercian; Camaldolese; Apophatic;…
As well as following “Similar Posts” below, and elsewhere on this website.
Do you have any other good resources of Christian Contemplative Practice to point to? Or any comments or questions on what is written above?
This is clearly not the first time I have written about this. And so this post is in the spirit of Throwback Thursday.