Personal growth, faith, prayer, contemplation, love, oneness,

Contemplation

 

Introduction 
Contemplation is the practice of spending time alone with God, in stillness and silence. The aim is to become more deeply aware of our essential oneness with him. The contemplative process works by helping us to know ourselves more deeply, so we can be completely open and honest with God. Without such openness, there can be neither intimacy, nor unity. 

Information
Throughout our lives we experience a stream of information from our bodies and minds. This flow includes sensations, thoughts, emotions, memories, fantasies, temptations, visions, dreams and nightmares. In the quietness of contemplation, these conscious and unconscious manifestations of the inner self continue to emerge.

Treasures
However, although these impressions may distract us, they should never be seen as intrusions into our silence. Rather, they are the raw materials through which we learn about ourselves. Only through becoming aware of these “treasures hidden in darkness” (reference below), can we know ourselves more fully, and thus be able to share ourselves more completely with God. 

A sequence of steps 
During contemplation, many of the issues emerging from our information flow will require only brief attention, whilst others may prove more challenging. It can therefore be helpful to practice using a sequence of steps for handling them.

Step 1
The most basic task during contemplation is to become aware of our sensations, thoughts and feelings as they rise into consciousness. These experiences will repeatedly distract us from a steady focus on God. However each time we realise our minds have wandered, we briefly acknowledge this before him, let the matter go, then return to the silence.

Step 2 
When we find we are unable to let an issue go, it helps to discuss it straightforwardly with God. This process generally enables us to decide on the best course of action to take. It is good to jot this decision down, so we don’t worry about forgetting it. Using this process usually makes it easier to set the issue aside until we are ready to act, later on.

Step 3
Sometimes, though, we will still be unable to let a matter go. This indicates the need to embrace and accept the unresolved concern just as it is, whilst continuing to sit with it, in silence.

Honesty 
By using these three approaches appropriately and regularly during contemplation, we gradually come face to face with many hidden (often unpalatable), truths about ourselves. This enables us to share ourselves more honestly and fully with God. Of course, God already knows everything about us, but because he delights in our freedom, he waits patiently for us to draw nearer to him. 

Oneness
However, God’s love for us is so great that he doesn’t always wait for us to complete the journey at our own pace. Instead, he runs to meet us, taking us in his arms and kissing us, as we unite in our essential oneness. After enjoying this closeness for a while, we return, a little more enlightened, to our daily lives.

Conclusion
During contemplation we use our awareness of the information emerging from our conscious and unconscious minds to share our deepest selves with God. This learning and sharing process continues until the very end of our lives. Then, still, silent and alone, we seek him for the final time, in the darkness of death. And this time, when he welcomes us, there is no need to go back, for we will remain wholly one with him, absorbed into his light, fire, peace, truth and love for all eternity.

 

References

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV).

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV). 

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

I will give you treasures hidden in darkness (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

The Lord must wait for you to come to him (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NIV).

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

Standard
body, mind, heart, soul, realisation, important, prayer, contemplation,, Prayer

My dull mind

The Lord […] reveals his thoughts to mankind (Amos 4:13; NLT).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16; NLT).

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NIV).

************************************************

Lord,

May my dull mind
Be one with yours,
So I can share your thoughts
In contemplation.

May my cold heart
Be one with yours,
So I can share your love
For every person.

May my small soul,
Be one with yours,
So I can share
Your unity with all.

Standard
Prayer

Conflict

I tremble in fear of you (Psalm 119:120; NLT).

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

………………………………………..

 

Lord,
During meditation
I experience a conflict

Between fearing you –
So longing to turn back,

And loving you –
So longing to go on,

Until I dare
To lose my self,

In unity
With you.

Standard
Prayer

Life beyond my death

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

God will redeem me from the world of the dead; he will surely take me to himself (Psalm 49:15; NIV).

You have brought me into your presence forever (Psalm 41:12; NLT).

 

Lord,
Each meditation
Brings a taste
Of life beyond my death –

A little space
For union with you,
Where one day
I will dwell for evermore.

Standard
Prayer

Silent bliss

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

 

Lord,
When I sit down
To meditate, in silence,

I leave my flesh behind,
And with it, pain;

I leave my mind behind,
And with it, thought;

I leave my heart behind,
And with it, all emotion –

Except the bliss of unity
With you.

 

Standard
Prayer

Source

God [is] the source of all my joy (Psalm 43:4; NLT).

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; NLT).

Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

 

Lord,
You are the source
Of all joy,
And peace,
And love.

We come from you,
Remain in you,
Then return to you,
At death.

Thank you so much
For our eternal unity
With you.

Standard