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Center for Action and Contemplation

Action and Contemplation: Week 1 Summary

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Action and Contemplation: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, May 8-Friday, May 13, 2016

If we are going to have truly prophetic people who go beyond the categories of liberal and conservative, we have to teach them some way to integrate their activism with the contemplative stance toward life. (Sunday)

I think some form of contemplative practice is necessary to be able to detach from your own agenda, your own anger, your own ego, and your own fear. (Monday)

What you are doing in contemplation is moving to a level beneath your thoughts: the level of pure and naked being. (Tuesday)

For Jesus, prayer seems to be a matter of waiting in love, returning to love, trusting that love is the unceasing stream of reality. (Wednesday)

The True Self is all about right relationship, not requirements. It’s not about being correct; it’s about being connected, which you always were—you just didn’t realize it. (Thursday)

We need both action and contemplation to have a whole spiritual journey. It doesn’t matter which comes first; action may lead you to contemplation and contemplation may lead you to action. (Friday)


Practice: Contemplation

Each Saturday I offer an invitation to contemplative practice, though I hope you’re finding quiet, contemplative moments every day. There are many different ways to meditate or pray. If you haven’t yet found a regular practice, I encourage you to try different experiences and stay with one for a while. Over time—months, years, a full lifetime—contemplation gradually opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to Love as our True Self. Here are a few contemplative practices I recommend:

(For additional ideas, see the “Tree of Contemplative Practices”  from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.)

Each week I also suggest a different “Gateway to Silence,” a phrase to help lead you into non-dual consciousness and openness to God’s presence. You might repeat the phrase as a mantra—speaking, chanting, or thinking the words with intention and an attitude of surrender. You might take the phrase further and deeper through journaling or art. Or you could choose a single word from the phrase to use as a touchstone in Centering Prayer. For this week’s Gateway to Silence, “AND,” perhaps list some seeming paradoxes in your life for which you need Love’s reconciliation and transformation.

Gateway to Silence:

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, CAC Foundation Set: Gospel Call for Compassionate Action and Contemplative Prayer (CD, MP3 download)

Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

Richard Rohr and Shane Claiborne, When Action Meets Contemplation (MP3 download)

Image Credit: Still Waters Dock and Lake (detail), by Joelle Chase. CAC archives.


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We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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