Contemplative Appendix to the Daily Meditations

As you read Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, our hope is that you will open your heart, mind, and body to new ways of thinking and being. Sometimes you may feel as if you’re rediscovering something you already knew to be true. Sometimes you may feel uncomfortable or confused. Whatever your reaction, we invite you to be present to this feeling and let it be your teacher.

Father Richard draws insights from his Christian and Franciscan heritage. But don’t take his word for it! Along with Scripture and your own faith tradition, trust your experience as a guide. Reading with your whole being, not just your rational mind, will reveal deeper wisdom. In this short video, Father Richard shares why this approach is so important and how it can help you understand and grow with the Daily Meditations. He also explains some terms that he frequently uses, like mysticism and non-dual consciousness.

“Reading as Spiritual Practice: Uniting Heart, Mind, and Body” Unedited Transcript (PDF)

What is contemplation? Many equate it to prayer or meditation. You might be surprised, however, to discover that you can practice contemplation while mindfully washing dishes, singing, being with a friend, or walking in a park. Contemplation is simply being fully present—in heart, mind, and body—to “what is” in a way that allows you to creatively respond and work toward “what could be.” Contemplation is both personal and communal, internal and external. It helps us let go of our usual, egoic way of thinking and doing things so that our compassionate, connected, and creative self can emerge.

Many Christians and Buddhists practice forms of silence like Centering Prayer or observing your breath. Other expressions and cultures emphasize community experiences (like sharing meals or speaking in tongues), movement (for example, dancing or yoga), and music (drumming, ecstatic singing, or chanting). You may resonate more with some practices than others. Whichever practice(s) you choose, we invite you to stay with them for a while. Through contemplation and life itself, God works on us slowly and in secret. Contemplative practice gradually rewires our brains to perceive and respond to reality with love.

Fr. Richard explores practice-based spirituality and prayer in these two short videos.

“Practice-Based Spirituality: Beyond Belief” Unedited Transcript (PDF)

“A Different Way of Knowing Prayer” Unedited Transcript (PDF)

As the Center for Action and Contemplation, we seek to ground compassionate action in contemplative, non-dual consciousness. When you experience the reality of your oneness with God, others, and Creation, actions of justice and healing will naturally follow. If you’re working to create a more whole world, contemplation will give your actions nonviolent, loving power for the long haul.

Each of Father Richard’s Daily Meditations closes with “Gateway to Presence,” an invitation to reflect on the text in a contemplative way. Watch for a new contemplative practice every Saturday, following the Summary of the previous week’s messages. Below are some additional resources on contemplation.

 

Contemplative Practices:

Drumming: Practicing surrendering the mind and attuning the body through rhythm

Walking Meditation: Taking slow, mindful steps

Ecstatic Dance: Moving freely to music

Chanting: Singing with intention

Centering Prayer: Observing and letting go of all thoughts without judgment during a period of silence

Lectio Divina: Reading short passages of text in a contemplative way

Christian Meditation: Repeating scripture or a sacred word as a mantra

Welcoming Prayer: Welcoming any feeling, sensation, or emotion that arises in the midst of your day

YHWH Prayer: Consciously saying God’s name through each breath

Pranayama: Breathing mindfully

Loving Kindness Meditation: Recognizing your inner source of loving kindness and sending love to others

 

Books and recordings by CAC core faculty:

Cynthia Bourgeault

  • Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (book)           
  • Chanting the Psalms (book and CD)
  • The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice (book)

James Finley

  • Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God (book)
  • Merton’s Palace of Nowhere (book)

Richard Rohr

  • Beginners Mind (CDMP3 download)
  • Contemplative Prayer (CDMP3 download)
  • Emotional Sobriety: Rewiring Our Programs for Happiness (DVDCDMP3 download)
  • Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (book)
  • The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (book)

 

Additional recommended resources:

Teresa Blythe, 50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times

Kay Gardner, Sounding the Inner Landscape: Music as Medicine

Robert Gass, Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound

Barbara Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church

Jamie Marich, Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation

The Gabrielle Roth Ecstatic Dance Collection

Christine Stevens, The Healing Drum Kit

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

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