Note from Carl: Today’s guest post is by Phileena Heuertz, and is an excerpt from her latest book, Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation. It seems to be especially appropriate for Earth Day — but it’s really a message we need to hear every day. Every day is a new invitation to wake up. Let’s answer the call!
Life is short. Our human family is destroying itself and the planet. Our destruction of one another and the world we live in is a result of sleep walking, a rejection of our oneness. We are unconscious. “Abba forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
It’s time to wake up and nurture unitive consciousness through contemplative practice. Through contemplation we realize our potential for reflecting our divine heritage. Meditation practice helps us access greater capacity within for love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22‑23)—all virtues readily available to us when we are awake and aligned with the divine. Now is the time to wake up. Now is the time for more healers, liberators, and peacemakers (see Matthew 5:1‑11).
The awakening and renewal of the human family, the very body of Christ, begins with each of us. To the degree I am healed, free, and at peace, the world is healed, free and at peace.
Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection was a historical, particular act, yes, but a cosmic one too. The work was finished and is being finished. Perhaps now more than any other time in human history, we are caught up in a divine dance of remembering who we are. Our personal and collective consciousness is evolving; we are slowly taking on the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5) and growing toward personal and collective wholeness. We are being made new (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4). But even as we are being made new, the world around us seems to be destroying itself.
After nearly two thousand years of Christianity, our world is plagued with brutal exploitation, horrific war, and the destruction of our planet. Our human family is fragmented by fear, suspicion, and judgment of one another. We are far from living like the unified sons and daughters of God that we are.
We have divine DNA, created for magnificent purpose in the world. Human evolution has helped us embrace the wonder and gifts of the rational, intellectual mind. Humanity has achieved remarkable heights in scientific exploration and scope. The intellectual mind offers solutions for some of the world’s greatest problems. Yet, we are still falling short—a far cry from doing even greater things than Jesus, like he said we would do (John 14:12). Utilizing only the intellectual mind will not do. We also need to employ the contemplative mind.
It is time we put the mind in the heart through spiritual practice, thus waking up the contemplative mind. In so doing, we are able to perceive the reality of wholeness and the unity of existence, which will lead to taking greater responsibility for one another and our planet.
Secular society recognizes the value of contemplative practice. The masses are trending toward mindfulness. It’s time more Christians get it too. The wisdom of conscious awareness is in the Christian lineage. God knows we’ve never needed to integrate it into the faith more than we need to today.
The Christian mystics mentioned in this book may have been ignorant of the information age we’re living in, yet they identified our struggle—that we are fragmented and alienated from our Source and one another. These masters, and their powerful practices, can guide us toward reunion with love’s ultimate ground, which opens us to personal and collective healing like nothing else can.
Suffice it to say that we need to nurture the contemplative mind or “heart mind” that opens us to the mysterious and miraculous. Rational spirituality has gotten us only so far in relationship with God, one another, and the world. Bridging the rational with the contemplative will bring wholeness. Nurturing the contemplative mind through spiritual practice helps create better Christians, better humans. Activating unitive consciousness helps us co-create with God and mend our world.
No matter your profession or circumstances, it’s time to wake up. I hope you’ll conjure up the courage to face whatever it is you’re afraid of that keeps you from being alone, quiet, and still. It’s time to bravely face reality.
Phileena Heuertz is the author of Mindful Silence and Pilgrimage of a Soul. She is a founding partner of Gravity: A Center for Contemplative Activism. A spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker, retreat guide, and author, Phileena is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband Chris and their puppy Basil.
This excerpt from Mindful Silence published courtesy of InterVarsity Press.