Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Part One)

In yesterday's post (The Archbishop and the Community Theologian) I quoted two renowned living contemplatives — emeritus Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and author/community theologian Kenneth Leech — both speaking of the communal and social implications of contemplative prayer.Naysayers, stand aside. Contemplative prayer is not about navel-gazing or self-absorbed "spiritual experiences." Indeed, anyone who explores contemplation only out of a desire for mystical experience or per … [Read more...]

How to Grow a Mandala

My wife pointed me to this video. Well worth watching — and trying out.  … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The vision of the splendor of creation, like all kinds, lays a duty upon one who has been fortunate enough to receive it, a duty in his turn to create works which are as worthy of what he has seen as his feeble capacities will permit. And many have listened and obeyed. It has been, I am quite certain, the initial cause of all genuine works of art and, I believe, of all genuine scientific inquiry and discovery for it is the wonder which is, as Plato said, the beginning of every kind of … [Read more...]

The Two Faces of Restlessness

Yesterday at the Lay Cistercian Gathering Day we had a class on the monastic vow of stability (Cistercian monks have three vows: Stability, Obedience, and Conversion of Life). The brother who taught the class spoke at one point about restlessness as a tendency within us to undermine stability. I shared with him and the class that I wasn't entirely comfortable with this idea, because, it seemed to me, that restlessness comes in more than one flavor. Certainly, there is the kind of restlessness … [Read more...]

He Met the Walrus

In 1969, a young teenager named Jerry Levitan sneaked into John Lennon's hotel room, with a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He interviewed Lennon for about five minutes, and now that recording has been set to a most Beatle-esque animation. It's way cool, and what's probably most wonderful of all are Lennon's insightful comments about the meaning of music, peace and nonviolence, why violent revolutions always fail, the truth about human nature, and why he was having a hard time gaining entry into the … [Read more...]

What You Want

Currently I'm participating in the Writing and Journal Keeping weekend at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. As I've seen in other writer's gatherings that I've participated in, a major topic of conversation is discipline. Many writers feel like they don't have enough of it to gain traction with their writing practice; others say they have too much discipline, and end up feeling that their writing is often compulsive rather than free. So we'll be talking about discipline a lot today: what it is, … [Read more...]

Why Elephants Paint

Here's a fascinating website: of Asian elephants that are trained to paint. … [Read more...]