We cannot have a private contemplative practice without engaged community. We must not withdraw to a private, isolated spirituality in which we do our contemplative sit each day and ignore the pain of the world. (Sunday)
The capacity for nondual seeing that is developed through contemplation allows us to be happy, rooted in God, comfortable with paradox and mystery, and largely immune to mass consciousness and its false promises. (Monday)
The core task of all good spirituality is to teach us to “cooperate” with what God already wants to do and has already begun to do. In fact, nothing good or life-giving would even enter our minds unless in the previous moment God had already “moved” within us. (Tuesday)
We have to discover the face that we already had before we were born, who we were all along in God before we did anything right or wrong. This is the first goal of contemplation. (Wednesday)
Religious teachers, including Jesus, the Buddha, as well as many Hindu sages, are always telling us to wake up—to be alert, alive, awake, attentive, or aware. (Thursday)
Equanimity is the very nature of the soul. Jesus called it the peace the world cannot give nor take away. (Friday)
Practice: The YHWH Prayer
A rabbi taught this prayer to me many years ago. The Jews did not speak God’s name, but breathed it with an open mouth and throat: inhale—Yah; exhale—weh. By our very breathing we are speaking the name of God and participating in God’s breath. This is our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world.
Breathe the syllables with open mouth and lips, relaxed tongue:
During a period of meditation, perhaps twenty minutes, use this breath as a touchstone. Begin by connecting with your intention, your desire to be present to God. Breathe naturally, slowly, and deeply, inhaling and exhaling Yah-weh. Let your focus on the syllables soften and fall away into silence. If a thought, emotion, or sensation arises, observe but don’t latch on to it. Simply return to breathing.
You may be distracted numerous times. And perhaps your entire practice will be full of sensations clamoring for attention. Contemplation is truly an exercise in humility! But each interruption is yet another opportunity to return to Presence, to conscious participation in God’s life.
Gateway to Silence:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 2:5
For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2003)
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)
Richard Rohr, What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2015)