The Contemplative Path
To find the still point within our own soul is to find that space where God’s ground meets our ground. To intentionally take regular (preferably daily) time to discover God’s ‘still small voice’ which we hear through the ‘ear of the heart’ as Saint Benedict describes it is to practice contemplation. Over time, if we are committed to listening and attending to this voice we find ourselves changing from within. It may not be even noticeable at first, only as we look back over time do we realise that our patterns of responding to the world have changed. We may generally feel more at peace, less likely to judge, more able to let go of our defences and more able to see the world from another’s perspective. Indeed we are becoming more ‘comfortable in our own home’ as Henri Nouwen puts it. Our soul is becoming a more hospitable place for God and for the world.
As our spiritual chemistry changes, we move increasingly towards a non dual perspective. God no longer seems separate. We begin to feel a fusion as the boundaries between God’s ground and our ground becomes more porous. We also begin to feel less separate from others. Although we understand ourselves to be distinct from God and others there is nevertheless a burgeoning sense of wholeness that pervades and we feel ourselves to be at one with all being. Compassion develops, wisdom speaks, and our inner senses develop such as; intuitive understanding, creative expression, compassion and a call to serve. Contrary to what many believe the contemplative path is ultimately about serving the world and not withdrawing from it!
The most noticeable change perhaps is the conscious awakening to the experience of God being fully present within us (even if we struggle to reciprocate at times), and an increasing sense of that fusion between God’s ground and our own ground – the movement towards union.
Committing to daily practice is not easy, the busyness of life takes over and such a practice is seen as the least urgent of the many things that we have to attend to. But to create a daily ‘habit’ so that it becomes as automatic as showering or brushing teeth will, overtime, change the spiritual chemistry as I have described. We are all contemplatives in the making…the secret is to regularly attend to the ever present God within you as if it were the most important thing in your daily routine.
Of course it may be that you do not feel this inner path is for you. Regardless, God’s presence is a given! Sometimes its just about timing or God working with you in a different way or maybe the contemplative path simply doesn’t call you in the way that other approaches to your Christian faith do. Always trust your intuition on this… the Spirit will guide you in all truth.