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Image: Lascaux Cave Painting (detail), c. 15,000 BC
A Primer for Living a Whole Life
December 31, 2013
Over the course of a new year of Daily Meditations we will follow the trajectory of life from innocent beginning, through inevitable brokenness, to putting everything back together, through ripening into union—with self, God, the world, and others.
I'll begin during the next few weeks by offering an introduction to my methodology: "Scripture as validated by experience, and experience as validated by tradition, are good scales for one's spiritual worldview." A balanced and holistic worldview is formed from a non-dual way of thinking and is enlivened by mystical encounter with Presence, always leading to acts of service and charity in the world.
Although each life moves at its own pace, and with endless variety, this growth does follow a common sequence, and we'll look at nine likely stages of spiritual development. Then, as the year progresses, we will dive deeper into each stage and its unique spiritual tasks. We will explore the splits that occur early in our lives and the ways in which we can find healing and wholeness. This "primer" (from the Middle English for a layperson's prayer book or devotional manual) will focus on the practical ways in which our spirituality forms our inner lives and is then lived outwardly in the world, which is to live a life of love and justice for others.
Gateway to Silence: My true self is love
January 4, 2014
We will follow the trajectory of life from innocent beginning, through inevitable brokenness, to putting everything back together, through ripening into union—with self, God, and others. (Tuesday)
Our contemplative practice is a "laboratory" in which we learn to die and to receive the Divine gaze. (Wednesday)
We can't achieve transformation; like grace, it is given and can only be received. It is more about a deep willingness than any willfulness. (Thursday)
Your life is not about you; you are about Life. (Friday)
Rest: Sacred Time
I invite you to set aside time for contemplative practice in this New Year. People ask me, "How long should I pray?" I say, "As long as it takes you to get to an emotional and mental yes!" Many find that they need two periods of twenty minutes a day to come to such surrender. Perhaps it is early in the morning, before your brain has a chance to begin its list-making and judments. Or, it could be in the evening, which might include an examen of consciousness, looking for the God-encounters during your day. Maybe it is taking moments throughout the day to pause, breathe, be still and recognize how you have returned from yes and back to various kinds of no.
The sacrament of Sabbath—keeping a chosen time sacred (though all time is holy; there is no distinction or division between profane and sacred!)—was offered by the Jewish people as a gift for all humanity. And in our busy, technology-driven culture, it is especially important that we intentionally seek rest and re-creation. It might be saying that at least one seventh of life must be about non-performance and non-egocentric pursuit, or we forget our life's purpose.
Take a moment now. Perhaps breathe in and out with this week's Gateway to Silence, "My true self is love." Rest in the awareness of Presence. And know that you are never apart from it. When this moment ends, Presence will still be here, now, always.