About 30 some years ago, how little I knew about contemplative life. Since then I have been longer on the journey; half of my life so far has been spent in living the life. Today, I realize that I have more experience and hopefully more insight.
The Oriental concept of contemplative life starts its journey in “BE-ing”. A journey inward to one’s own depths, finding God in the solitude of one’s own being. Like a metaphor of a stone thrown into the lake which sinks into the bottomless pit, so its meaning and essence is in the deepening of one’s own personal life in solitude and the expansion of one’s consciousness and awareness of the presence of God in all things. Be-ing is being attentive, learning to listen or recovering the natural capacity to listen which cannot be learned any more than that through breathing, so we can find ourselves!
My life of solitude is a precious gift of time! There is the challenge of choice, a freedom to decide what to do with time. Today when I speak of contemplative life I do not mean the organized life of prayer, the daily horarium. I am talking about a very special aspect (dimension) of inner discipline and experience. A certain character (integrity?), a fullness of personal development, which is not compatible with a purely external activity, busy-busy existence. This does not mean that it is incompatible with action, with creative work…on the contrary, these all go together. Unless there is a more profound understanding coming from an exploration of the inner ground of one’s existence, our love will tend to be superficial and deceptive.
And so in my day to day life, wherever I am and with whomever I am, I practice the process. Thus the process becomes a way of life, into an awareness of the presence of God in the sanctuary of my heart, in my neighbor, in creation…in all things.
There comes a time in prayer when we let all the talk and thought and everything else go…and just rest in the presence of a faithful Friend, our God. Just to be with God who dwells within. To me, this is contemplation, a prayer of the Heart.
The process is very simple. Just be!
Sit and relax.
Be in faith and love with God who dwells in the center of your being.
Just BE, breathing in and out…be gently present to sounds, feelings, thoughts…letting each pass by like a passing cloud, supporting your being with God in a faith-filled love, resting in God.
BE in love. Enjoy the Beloved.
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
Caroline Price and Jane Ng represented Asia Pacific in a Congregational Spirituality meeting in Angers France in May 2014
In the Philippines a community of Good Shepherd Contemplative Sisters is creating a sacred space for prayer, and a place of healing of Mother Earth