let me begin, by way of introduction, with another’s introduction. thomas keating opens his treatise on the way of contemplation, open heart, open mind, with this simple statement.
“contemplation is the place where god makes all things possible.”
contemplation, in its simplest analysis, is the spiritual arena that lies beyond our own personal efforts where knowledge exists that cannot be obtained through the well worn pathways of intellectual acquisition.
as this arena is both unique to each human in construct, and yet, mystically woven together with the playgrounds of all others who reach out in this way, it serves both the purposes of the individual who finds themselves within it, and simultaneously, serves the greater good of all humanity. contemplation being a spiritual practice, it exemplifies the grounding principle of the universe, which is reciprocity, interconnectedness, mutuality.
god, as keating has used it here, and as he further illuminates in his various writings, is both representative of the god of the judeo christian tradition from which he comes, but also embraces not only the allah, the other, the great mother, but even more, expands to include all those who do not fit comfortably inside any formal faith tradition, but have some understanding, however little, that there are things to be known beyond what we can see and taste and touch, and which serves to enlighten our more noble selves, at the same time it extends compassion to our baser nature.
contemplation opens up the possibilities of the infinite.
Here below, is meditation on the essence of contemplation.
Two Meditations for Spiritual Practice
Here are two further meditations in the form of rosaries, though you need not work with a rosary to benefit from their beauty. The breath and prayer meditation uses the breath to slow our pace and draw us to a place of contemplation. It is offered in written and audio form. The 'be still and know' meditation, is a singing meditation, drawing on Christian scripture for its motif.
three projects initiated and designed with the goal of contemplation in mind.
Each of these projects was designed for a different group of people with different needs. They offered finite experiences as a bridge to the infinite sacred. It is hoped they provided a place of expansiveness, that we might experience our sacred, collective unity.
Spiritual Practices from the Christian trandition That Encourage and Develop Contemplation
Though contemplation is in essence is gift, it requires very real effort to place ones self in a place to receive the gift. Here are six spiritual practices from the Christian tradition that I have found helpful. Have a peek and see if anything here resonates with you and that you may wish to try. ****Note: there are other practices to be added: walking meditation, mindfulness practice, retreats, plan of eating, book of hours
spiritual practices from other traditions that encourage and develop contemplation
The Neuroscience Behind Contemplation
Note: need to build this area up - personal essay on parasympathetic/sympathetic systems and how our culture is working within them. Assemble work from 'My Brain on God' with links etc. This needs WORK!!! The writing is all done in my God on the Brain course, but needs to be loaded with visuals and assembled.