How do we find motivation when our spiritual journey feels stagnant or unfulfilling? Where do we go for inner sustenance when facing seemingly insurmountable odds — like the grief of losing a child or bearing the weight of oppression?
In the Christian contemplative tradition, many teachers, such as Thomas Merton and James Finley, believe that our over-identification with the separate self (sometimes called the small “s” self or false self) shackles us to these individual perspectives. When our focus and energy is dedicated solely to my story, we may miss expanding experiences of love and connection.
Finding Inner Peace
In the Daily Meditations, Fr. Richard Rohr explains that if we do not let go of our separate self at the right time and in the right way, we remain stuck — another word for that could be sin. Unfortunately, many of us remain entrenched in our egoic operating system. How do we let go of the ego and find the courage to experience true inner peace?
In their album Sanctuary, Center for Action and Contemplation teacher James Finley and musician Alana Levandoski remind us that when we live from our True Self, inner peace does not hinge upon expectations or outcomes.
After prayer and meditation, I often write to help me sort it all out. I find the practice to be very cathartic and it helps me maintain an awareness of the interconnected world. Realizing that the responsibility for my inner peace rests with me isn’t always welcomed. That forces me to surrender to a Higher Power and gives me the courage to see the shift of consciousness occurring within me.
—Terry L., CAC Community Member
An Inner Journey of Interconnectedness
Contemplative seekers like Merton, Finley, and Levandoski, use their craft as an invitation to journey deep within ourselves, into the “palace of nowhere,” we can experience the freedom of our True Self.
Through a rhythm of contemplative practice, we can transcend the separate self and live more fully in our True Self — who we are in the Great Story Line that connects all.
Reflect With Us
In what ways can you embody peace and stillness for those suffering, not just for friends and loved ones, but for those we find it more challenging to connect with? Share your reflection with us.
We Conspire is a new series from the Center for Action and Contemplation featuring wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Sign up for the monthly email series and receive a free invitation to practice each month.