Have you ever been totally caught up with something, the sheer beauty of a young lady’s smile, the grandeur of a snowcapped mountain or the glory of a rainbow over a serene mountain lake?
At such moments, we feel fully at peace and alive. Everything has its place. It is all perfect… just as it is. That is the magic of contemplation.
Contemplation is a relaxed concentration, an intense gaze at something or someone, or even a thought or idea. It entails a delightful, even rapturous absorption where, at that particular moment, there is only that which you behold or that to which you listen.
As the Nobel Prize-winning poet, T.S. Eliot, put it in his incomparable Four Quartets:
Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music while the music lasts.
Father Richard Rohr suggests contemplation provides direct access to the very Source of Creation:
Through contemplation we plug into a consciousness that is larger than the brain. It comes through a wholehearted surrender to what is, a surrender that encompasses all and eliminates none of the present moment. Only then will we know that we’re seeing reality through eyes larger than our own, which is why it is always a very humble and receptive knowing. Read more...
We find ourselves today in a frantically paced consumer society where we are only rewarded for doing, never for being. Every event has a time limit, and everything you can see has a price tag.
For example, if you go into a supermarket and pick up a fruit or vegetable, you will often find a sticker attached. Biotech companies have even gone so far as to patent genes.
We see virtually everything through a utilitarian lens, in terms of subject / object relationships. Even people are sized-up in terms of how they fit our agenda.
While this type of efficiency may be good for business, it is hardly every good for relationships (you + others and you + nature). As a consequence, we readily sacrifice love, joy and peace.
Read more on the topic... Inner Peace: Escaping The Squirrel Cage
We might own a house full of luxury items, but how often can we really enjoy them? Where is the leisurely walk in the park or bike ride in the mountains? Everyone in life is defined in terms of his or her role; we hardly see anyone for whom she or he is.
Surely, there must be a better way. As Father Rohr maintains:
The level of knowing that we experience from connection with consciousness or nous is entirely different than the argumentative, dualistic world that we live in. It’s a kind of quiet, compassionate, non-opinionated certitude, unlike the arrogant certitude our culture celebrates. Even though we may not be able to verbalize it, we know things calmly and deeply, as truth. Original post here...
You need only make time to live, as well as survive. Survival without life is scarcely worth the effort. You can schedule quiet time for yourself, if only five minutes a day. Anything less makes you a slave.
Here is an interesting thought by Father John, who explains the difference between meditation and contemplation:
You need only remember that you are a citizen of the Planet and a child of the Universe. Every single moment offers the possibility of joy. If our eyes and ears are fully attuned, we will see beauty everywhere, under all circumstances. Consider that life is a precious gift, a miracle. Now is our time to celebrate.
T.S. Eliot urged us to find that point of utter stillness:
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
Life is a dance of joyful participation in pure being. While we each have our assigned role, we are far more than the part we play. In reality, we are all of it.
Father Rohr concludes:
In the big consciousness, we know things by participation with them, which is love…Mature spirituality teaches us how to enter into the reality of that which we are encountering… Eventually you get the courage to say, I am a little part of that which I am seeking. In this moment, the idea of God as transcendent shifts to the realization that God is immanent.
That’s why the mystics can shout with total conviction and excitement: My deepest me is God! God is no longer just out there, but equally in here. Until that transference takes place and you know that it is God in me loving God—God in me worshiping God, resting in God, enjoying God—the whole point of the incarnation has not been achieved… See full post here…
To come fully alive, you can plunge into the present moment until you, as you, disappear. You can also step back from the canvas and see the grand panorama, relishing how magnificently it all comes together.
Start simple! There is no reason to overcomplicate your practice at first. Tune in to your awareness… and begin with innocent observation and appreciation.
Step out of an empty, hollow existence and step into an enchanted life where you both hear and dance to the music by doing something as simple as picking up a rose.