Consistency

I've been praying — and thinking — a lot about consistency lately.I struggle with self-sabotage issues. I make a commitment, and then back away from it. I commit to spending an hour a day in silent contemplation, and then I over commit my life so that I just never seem to find the time for that half hour in the evening. I want to deepen my immersion in silence — both external and internal — except that, well, my behavior doesn't seem to match my intention.The traditional virtue that applies t … [Read more...]

Interior and Exterior

A friend of mine was party to a conversation among several folks committed to the spiritual life. I wasn't there, so I have no idea who these folks are, except for my friend who told the tale. Apparently, the subject of silence came up. Everyone agreed that silence was essential to living a contemplative life. But then, something interesting happened. One person said, "I just don't turn on my television any more." Another chimed in, "That's right. My grandson gave me an MP3 player and I've never … [Read more...]

Means of Liberation and Internal Conversion

Yesterday at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit's lay associates gathering day, I attended a class in which we considered a document called Lay Cistercian Identity, drawn up at an international gathering of Cistercian lay associates in Spain two years ago. We particularly examined a list of "Cistercian values and practices" commended to laypersons as "a means of liberation and internal conversion." These values and practices include:Prayer and praiseConfidence and abandonment to … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

And now the teaching on yoga begins.Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded consciousness.Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind. — The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated by Alistair Shearer … [Read more...]

Twenty Minutes

Teachers of centering prayer recommend that you devote twenty minutes at a time, twice a day, to centering prayer.Ken Wilber, in advocating meditation as a tool for the transformation of consciousness, advocates thirty minutes, twice a day.Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to devote an hour to silence: once in the morning, and twice in the evening, twenty minutes per "sit." What I noticed is that each time I probably took fifteen minutes just to flush out the mental chatter and the … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Let all my world be silent in your presence, Lord, so that I may hear what the Lord God may say in my heart. Your words are so softly spoken that no one can hear them except in a deep silence. But to hear them lifts him who sits alone and in silence completely above his natural powers, because he who humbles himself will be lifted up. He who sits alone and listens will be raised above himself. — Guigo II, The Ladder Monks … [Read more...]

Advice for a Beginner

A reader posted these questions to my blog this morning: As a novice to Contemplative Prayer I guess I should take the introduction pace . Any suggestions ? Also, Carl, do you consider Henri Nouwen a mystic? I'll answer your second question first. I certainly have the sense of Henri Nouwen as a contemplative, based on what I know of him and his work. As you may have surmised if you've poked around this blog very much, though, I tend to be reticent about applying the word "mystic" to people … [Read more...]


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