“Contemplation is the ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems, our advertising cultures and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. Contemplative prayer is a deeply revolutionary matter.” This statement by Rowen Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury points us in a direction that few know and even fewer practice. It’s the inner essence of all deep spirituality that’s been hidden and repressed for millennia. It’s now however beginning to unfold in our global community in unprecedented ways. It’s an invitation to awaken from our sleep.
Years ago when I was challenged to ‘wake up’, my response was righteous indignation. Eventually I realized this response proved I really was asleep to the expanding reality I was being invited into. After a lifetime of believing prayer was simply saying words of petition, intercession and thanksgiving, I began engaging a whole new way of being, belonging and becoming. I began to open my heart, quiet my mind, observe my emotions, drop my defenses and sit in the transforming process of peaceful stilling Presence. I awakened to the flowing river rooting tree within the fulness of creativity.
The wonder of Life began to unfold as this new awareness of an ever expanding universe grew within. No longer did I have to pray to a ‘Big Daddy in the Sky.’ No longer was I simply a puppet on a string. No longer did the authority of the so called experts have control over me. No longer was I asleep. This ‘waking up‘ was and continues to be an ongoing process where anything can be put on a ‘shelf for further enlightenment.‘ There’s even an awareness that most of what we think we know belongs on this shelf, marinating in the mystery of expanding, contracting and birthing.
How can contemplative prayer be considered a deeply revolutionary matter? What is the fundamental change that takes place when our awareness is expanded and we recognize ourselves to be co-creators within the Great Creating? What’s the turning that happens when we take our place as integral parts in the creating and stewarding of our global community? Why would we choose to be slaves when we are designed to be co-creators? Is it that creativity takes courage and we’ve been discouraged and demeaned by those who usurped our God given powers and infinite heritage?
Contemplative prayer is unitive and interactive. It involves aligning with the template of universal compassionate energy, the Source of Light and Life. It also involves action in our day to day lives to receive and transmit this unconditional loving energy that animates the whole of creation. In our humanity, the ego contracts around problems while in our divinity, the soul expands solutions as it gathers around meaning. Here we discover our eternal Undivided Self embracing the wonder and wisdom in All. Here we find interactivity, interconnectivity, interdependence and the infinite creative process.
Contemplative prayer is an alignment with the beauty, wealth, wisdom, and well-being of the universe and begins by opening your heart. It’s the highest form of artistry as it inspires and animates the infinite Art of Life. Resting in this quiet, receptive and refreshing space daily, seeds and grows the living loving process of Creativity. Being loved transforms everything as loving activates lovers. In contemplation, Love is the primary ingredient. It’s an ongoing opening to the eternal Presence that’s constantly loving. For the contemplative artist, it’s marinating in the divine mystery of Life which ultimately transforms and includes everything that is, has been and ever shall be.
- Entering this space of grace called contemplative prayer and artistry is to simply relax silently in receptivity with an open heart, open mind and open hands. Become conscious of your breathing and your posture. Sit up straight, relax, and simply breathe in the Love that’s ever present. Envision a subtle radiant light within and all around you. Become a conduit of this energy breathing in and breathing out. . .
- Receive Love and give Love. From the embrace of this loving, know you are loved and you are a lover. If you want a mental prayer simply repeat on the inhale: ‘I am loved’ and on the exhale: ‘I am loving.’ Practice this everyday for the next month and notice the change. Remember to allow Love and Life to enter from your deepest heart space.
- To add another dimension, put both hands over your heart as you breathe and feel the Love being received and transmitted. Become aware of the new creativity that is inspired by this practice. The more you receive, the more you will be able to give.
- As an act of awareness, appreciation and lovingkindness, occasionally bow reverently to what shows up in your life. In this silent heart prayer, your thanksgiving is soulful.