One of the reasons I love contemplative spirituality is the way it invites us into deeper communion with God from right where we are. John O’Donohue said in his tape series Anam Cara something to the effect of that he thought the “spiritual journey” only took a quarter of an inch to traverse. In other words, spirituality is not about some long arduous path that one must follow, for years and years, to finally get to the point where it’s possible to be a beginner. No, spirituality is the exciting adventure wherein God meets us right where we are, here and now, in the magnificent unexplored possibilities of each and every singular present moment. To be a contemplative means to sit down, shut up, and open wide: open your mind to the space between your thoughts… open your heart to the love that flows through silence… and most of all, open your spirit to the wonders of that silent love, wonders that dance delicately around us all the time but, like a butterfly, only come to us when we learn to be peaceful and still.
Mysticism may be about the ascent of Mount Carmel or the journeys into the cloud of unknowing or the interior castle… but on a level far more profound than how many miles you can log in while exploring the mystical way, is the shimmering recognition that this “way” leads both to and from each of our hearts, in a circular “path” that begins and ends where Divine Love illuminates and encounters our finite selves. You want to explore contemplation, meditation, and the mystic life? Start right where you are. Don’t move. Just breathe deeply… let yourself be still… and dive in deep.
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