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  • Contemplative Way Newsletter
    occur Rather leaning to live in the peace of God means that fear and other disturbing feelings no longer have tyranny over our minds and hearts It means that when death comes we know and trust that we will be free from the tyranny of death in the midst of death Of course we need to be patient with ourselves as we sincerely seek to read and to live in the attentive and receptive manner that we have been touching on here But even the slow pace at which we are able to be transformed and awakened is itself a source of wisdom that we can read about as we ponder the trustworthy guidance that offered to us in scripture and the teachings of the mystics down through the ages For we are invited to realize that the lifelong process of learning to be patient with ourselves and others incarnates God s infinite patience with us The expansive and far reaching sensitivities such as we are touching on here allows us to come full circle returning once again to the passage in Saint Teresa s writings with which we began our reflections For it is in our lived experience of what Teresa is writing about that we are able to experience that inner yes that inner resonance with what she is saying And reading Teresa s writings in a sincere and attentive manner sets in motion our renewed and deepened experience of and response to the peace of God she invites us to experience And now for a bit of news about what is going on with me these days I just had my seventy first birthday My wife Maureen and I spent the day together counting our blessings My time and energy has been taken up by two projects that have blessed my life in a major way There is first the book I am writing for Sounds True that explores the spirituality of healing trauma and all forms of suffering I would hope to have that book finished in about a year from now But based on how long it takes me to write one of these newsletters I am leaving my ability to finish this book up to God The second endeavor that is enriching my life these days is being a core faculty member of the Living School along with my friends Cynthia Bourgeault and the school s founder Richard Rohr The opportunity to work with students from all over the world who are committing themselves to an in depth experiential exploration of the Christian mystical traditions as source of transformation and service to the world is very inspiring to me The retreat that I will be leading at Findhorn Scotland will be streamed live on the Internet on the 27th and 28th of June It can also be downloaded and viewed at a later time The retreat explores how learning to gaze deeply into the little things of daily life can help us come to

    Original URL path: http://www.contemplativeway.org/newsletter/contemplativelivingJun15.cfm (2016-04-30)
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  • Contemplative Way Newsletter
    the fulfillment I long for Nor can I coax the mystery to take me to itself What I can do is learn to let go of the illusion that my inabilities have the final say in what is possible for me What I can do is let go of the control I think I have over the life I think I am living What I can do is get vulnerable in the messy intimate process of letting go so that what I am powerless to achieve can grant itself to me in my very powerlessness to achieve it That is what makes the awakening event to be an amazing grace Who would have guessed it The mystery that is always beyond me is always giving itself to me in my onging stance of letting go of my ability to reach it on my own terms Much as we humans may try somehow superstitions can and do creep into our faith Would you talk a little bit about letting go of superstition and immersing in spiritual letting go Superstition is magical thinking that we buy into A closer look reveals that it is not really trustworthy In the light of the wisdom traditions we can single out four superstitions we sometimes buy into the first is the superstition that the ego can by its own abilities reach ultimate peace and fulfillment in love in creativivity or any foundational aspect of life The opposite superstition is that my inability to achieve the noble goal condemns me to never reaching it The third superstition is that some power will achieve the noble goal for me if I perform the right ritual or believe the right thing And the fourth superstition is that anything other than whole hearted effort accompanied by an ongoing stance of letting go is going to bring me to the wholeness and fulfillment I seek Someone said to me once Just surrender into God s love And while their direction sounded poetic and beautiful I didn t really understand what such an action really meant What is meant by surrendering into God s love Someone comes into therapy distraught and traumatized If I say Just surrender to God s love I am disrespecting the painful place in which they find themselves I must first acknowledge the reality of their suffering let them know that I am so sorry this is happening to them and then sit with them in the intimacy of such suffering Within the space of compassionate empathy I may say I get the feeling that this suffering is not the only thing going on here I get the feeling that this suffering does not have the final say in who you are If it did it would have annihilated you Therefore there must be something in you that is not reducible to this tragedy The point being that the notion of surrendering to God s love in the midst of suffering becomes a real and helpful goal

    Original URL path: http://www.contemplativeway.org/newsletter/contemplativelivingAug13.cfm (2016-04-30)
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  • Contemplative Way Newsletter
    of what is happening The point being that if we are not careful we can spend our whole life skimming over the surface rather than entering into the depths of our own life In meditation we take a hiatus from hectic ego based ways In meditation we settle into a more interior spiritual awareness of the previously unrecognized spiritual depths of the present moment In meditation we set aside our preoccupations with all we need to do so we might be as present as we can be in a Here I am Lord stance of openness to God Our ego wants to know how we can justify pausing to be when we do not have enough time to do all we need to do What we come to discover however is that if we do not take time to simply be our ego based preoccupations with all we need to do tends to dominate our life But as we learn to just be in the silent simplicity of meditation we transcend the tyranny of doing over our mind and heart In taking time to be in meditation we transcend the tyranny of sequential time which if you have noticed we are always running out of and never have enough of Meditation lays bare our true nature and in doing so lays bare God s nature given to us as our own nature This is the extraordinary thing that God s own nature has been given to us by God as our own true nature God is Spirit who creates us in the image and likeness of Spirit As long as we remain caught up in the one dimensional energy of ego consciousness we continue to skim over the surface of the depths of our own God given Godly nature As

    Original URL path: http://www.contemplativeway.org/newsletter/contemplativelivingJun08.cfm (2016-04-30)
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  • Contemplative Way Newsletter
    says Pick a place a situation a circumstance in which you might find yourself If you choose a wooded area you see yourself in your mind s eye surrounded by trees God is there inviting you to reach out and pick a leaf off one of the low lying branches As you do so you realize you are holding a leaf in which the totality of reality is wholly present If you choose your own home God is there inviting you to choose something anything at all The teakettle on the stove or perhaps a chair in a corner of the living room No matter what you might choose you realize you are choosing something in which God is wholly present loving you and all people and all things into being Then God invites you to reflect on any aspect of yourself No matter what aspect of yourself you focus on God is there wholly present in each breath each thought and feeling each turn of your head You realize as you sit God is present as the ungraspable immediacy of your sitting As you stand God is there as the ungraspable immediacy of your standing As you laugh God is there as your laughter As you cry God is wholly present in each tear that falls from your eyes It does not matter what little thing you might choose within or around you It might just be the thing that awakens you from your fitful dream of being separate from God who is the reality of yourself and all that is real May each of us be so fortunate as to be overtaken by God in the midst of little things May we each be so blessed as to be finished off by God swooping down from above welling up from beneath to extinguish the illusion of separateness that perpetuates our fears And may we in having our illusory separate self slain by God be born into a new and true awareness of who we really are one with God forever May we continue on in this true awareness seeing in each and every little thing we see the fullness of God s presence in our lives And may we be someone in whose presence others are better able to recognize God s presence in their lives so that they too might know the freedom of the children of God There is no ready made method by which we might learn to live in habitual awareness of God s oneness with us in all things But in this book I try to clarify how our daily life our faith our meditation prayer and the teachings of the mystics help us find our way I will announce in a future newsletter when this book will be published It may be a while before this book is released because just as I was starting the final chapter two other projects have caused me to set aside Little Things for now One

    Original URL path: http://www.contemplativeway.org/newsletter/contemplativelivingJun09.cfm (2016-04-30)
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  • Contemplative Way Newsletter
    a sustained bodily relaxation in which our mind merges with our body in a quiet clarity a sustained attentiveness as subtle as a breath Each of us enters into and experiences this deepened body grounded clarity at our own pace in our own way When our mind is racing we can learn to settle on the shore of our racing mind with reverential attentiveness We can learn to breath into the mystery of our racing mind to talk to it just where do you think you are racing off to Then listen to what our mind might say We can learn to be present to each to each thought that arises endures and passing away within us without being kidnapped by thinking and dragged away from being simply present in the present moment Neither clinging to nor rejecting all the thoughts feelings and memories that arise endure and pass away within us we enter into more interior contemplative consciousness of more interior dimensions of ourselves others and all things This transformative process takes time It takes quiet humble patient perseverance but the blessings to be gained are beyond what we could ever imagine as we come to discover as we enter into the third phase of mediation The third phase of meditation occurs as a sustained state of relaxed presence ripens into a spiritual awakening that is nothing short of divine In order to appreciate this divine fulfillment we must keep in mind that the mystics assure us there is much more to meditation than relaxation and becoming more present in the present moment The mystics tell us that meditation is a way to experience God s presence in our lives In Buddhist terms mediation is a path to enlightenment In Christian terms meditation matures into contemplation that lays bare our true nature and in doing so lays bare God s nature given to us as our own nature It is only when our meditation embodies the intention of a divine destination that we are meditating in the spirit of the mystics When we stop to think about it it is strange that we have to search for God After all if God is the word we use for the boundryless mystery of Presence Itself how is it possible that infinite Presence could be so absent We sense that we are present We look about and see that all that is present around us But we do not see the presence of God Where did God go Where could God possibly be As we meditate it becomes clear that God did not go anywhere We did We wandered away from the fertile field of simple presence We have become lost in having become strangers to the ungraspable and precious presence of ourselves in the present moment But as we settle into the body grounded attentiveness of meditation we become present to our own presence and as we do so we begin to intuit glimpse taste sense there is no word

    Original URL path: http://www.contemplativeway.org/newsletter/contemplativelivingNov09.cfm (2016-04-30)
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