Grounding Compassionate Action — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Grounding Compassionate Action

Contemplation and Action Summary

Grounding Compassionate Action
Sunday, December 27, 2020

Our theme for the Daily Meditations in 2020 has been Contemplation and Action. We hope that you, our larger CAC community, have found some sort of regular contemplative practice to be sustaining in these challenging times. We hope contemplation has helped you discern what actions have been yours to do to confront systemic injustices and to help those most affected by the pandemic. Looking ahead, we trust that our contemplative practices will support us as we seek a path forward for healing, respect for those with whom we differ, and pursuit of unity in our world.

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

The civil rights leader John Lewis (1940–2020) has been an inspiration to many of us this year. How did this saintly public man avoid deeper recognition for so long? His words read like a prayer for contemplative action:

Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. Know that the truth always leads to love and the perpetuation of peace. Its products are never bitterness and strife. Clothe yourself in the work of love, in the revolutionary work of nonviolent resistance against evil. Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with goodness. Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself. [1]

In an interview several years ago, I offered the following words, which are still applicable now: “Some form of contemplative practice is the only way (apart from great love and great suffering) to rewire people’s minds and hearts. It is the only form of prayer that dips into the unconscious and changes people at deep levels—where all of the wounds, angers, and recognitions lie hidden. Only some form of prayer of quiet changes people for good and for others in any long-term way. It sustains and deepens the short-term wisdom we learn in great love and great suffering.” [2]

References:
[1] John Lewis with Brenda Jones, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America (Hachette Books: 2017, ©2012), 208.

[2] Richard Rohr, interview with Romal J. Tune, “Richard Rohr on White Privilege,” HUFFPOST (January 15, 2016; updated December 6, 2017).

Image credit: Going to Church (detail), William H. Johnson, 1940‒1941, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When we experience the reality of our oneness with God, others, and Creation, actions of justice and healing naturally follow. —Richard Rohr
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