Monday, December 25, 2006

definition of contemplativeness

I like this “definition” of the contemplative way that James Finley has given in his book “The Contemplative Heart”. It is slightly paraphrased from the original text.

“The contemplative way is the way of seeing what simply is in its transparent openness to the divine. It is the way of being who we simply are in the rhythmic simplicity of our breathing, in the sovereign simplicity in which day gives way to night and night to day.

“The manner of entering into this ever present way is simple. It consists of learning to sit and be, to slow down and settle in to the precious givenness of who we are right now, just the way we are. It consists of learning to loosen our hold on what we think is the meaning of it all in letting go of the tangled web of noise and concerns that seemingly hold us in its grasp. It consists of learning to become a contemplative person – one who spontaneously gravitates toward the depths of divinity manifested in each and every situation.

“It is all so simple. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if this simplicity were not so painfully elusive, so difficult to attain. Even as our hearts impel us to be who we ever have been, are, and ever shall be in the divinity of now, the longed for intimacy of the contemplative experience remains unconsummated. Somewhere, deep within, we obscurely sense that communion with the divine is already perfectly present in the hidden ground of our very longing to realize it. We sense that contemplative intimacy with the divine is already the reality of who we really are. And yet, all too often, this primitive contemplative wisdom is covered over by illusory obstacles we barely understand.” (p. 29-30)

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