Welcome to Contemplative Light
Contemplative Light is a community of Christian contemplative practitioners and guides from all walks of life devoted to cultivating mystical awareness through spiritual practice.
Our intention is to share a variety of practices centered around silence and receptivity, mindfulness and love, drawing on our rich tradition of monasticism and mysticism. In this light, we offer our insight and support for those interested in living a contemplative life in a hectic world.
We invite you to participate with us as we explore what it means to open to the sacred rhythms of the divine dance. We offer you our insight, our experience, and most importantly, our love.
Welcome, friend - it is good to see you again.
To the quiet mind all things are possible.
- Meister Eckhart
Centering Prayer quiets our mind. It quiets our mind during our silent sit. It also quiets our mind during the regular course of the day.
When the mind is still, God can and will act!
The Rhineland medieval mystic Meister Eckhart emphasized detachment. It was, he thought, a virtue even greater than love. Whereas love may actively carry the seeker towards God, detachment forces God to come to the seeker. Whatever the exact nature of God is, it lies beyond the confines of this mortal coil, the world of sin and impermanence. By detaching from all things not "of God," all of the things "of the world," one is left only with the substance of God.
In the silent halls of Benedictine monasteries, there is often an elephant in the room whenever Thomas Merton is mentioned. It goes something like this: Merton had the same kind of thoughts every monk has, he just took the time to write them down and got famous.
The Protestant reformation had a valid point in its rebellion against the practices it perceived to be idolatrous. After all, there is no God but God, and no earthly things - whether people, statues, or cathedrals - can substitute for the Eternal and Infinite nature of a God that always eludes the conscious understanding of our finite minds...
Thomas Merton, a poet himself, wrestled with that task of honoring both words and silence, framing subjectivity inside an objective religion. He seems to think checking one's ego is a healthy and essential part of the purification process. He writes in New Seeds Of Contemplation about hermits:
Have you ever yelled that out at the top of your lungs or whimpered it through tears as you knelt face down on the floor? I have, throughout life, more times than I can count. Sometimes the heavy stuff happens and hits like an avalanche, without warning. At a particularly empty moment where God felt far away, I wondered if I just might be a distant relative of Job, as I wrote these questions in my journal. ’When will I know love?’
God loves me and does not want me to worry. God always seems to say, “Richard, I love you! Why do you worry so much? I am with you now and will be with you throughout the day. Let’s together partner to complete all the tasks.”
There is something about the concept of imperfection that calms me down. It breeds acceptance, allowing, and relaxation. Perfectionism is a choke-hold. And perfection seems to be something we all define subjectively, in our own way: whether it's expectations placed on us from without or expectations we want ourselves and others to meet. Letting all of that loosen up a bit can release a great deal of tension.