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This is a Time for Contemplatives

Amidst the turbulence, conflict and great uncertainty in our country and world, I struggle daily to remember and live what I know from my many years as a contemplative. I notice that I can easily feel anxious, fearful and helpless. I notice that I continue to search for an understanding of what is happening and wonder how to hold all of it. Here are a few reflections about my experience and what I see that I want to claim and live:

I am grounded in LOVE. I come from love and want to live in love and know that it truly is the core reality of life. But, if that is so, how do I embody this? What allows me to stay in that open hearted place? Having just been immersed in the Spiritual Guidance Program residency (as staff) I was deeply and continually reminded of the heart practice – letting the mind sink into the heart, opening and letting love flow in the heart (joining the flow that is already there). It is just that simple and just that difficult.

Having studied quite a bit of HeartMath and knowing how easily I think about things and move into judgement or critique or some form of distress, I realize that I continuously distance or disconnect from the life in my heart. Each time I see this and choose to return to my heart and allow the flow of love and goodness (or joy, peace, compassion, gratitude), I am re-wiring my system which then makes it easier to return there and benefits myself and everyone around me!

As I remain in my heart, I practice trust – the trust that the creative Spirit within me, others and all life is flowing, moving, and dancing. I may not see it or get the whole picture, but I can simply feel trust – give myself over to it rather than the anxiety and fear that seem to run wild. I even attempt to entrust others to our loving Source and again feel within me that all shall be well. I practice asking this question frequently: what is mine to do in love and joy?

Another strong awareness and realization is the necessity of connection and community. I find my strength and even clarity and creativity as I join with others – in prayer, conversation, meetings, – who have a common intent to BE loving, authentic, and open to goodness, beauty and truth. This inspires me to live fully and abundantly, and to know that communion is the core of our life, of reality. Indeed, we are one and the moments of experiencing that are transformative and cause me to want more and more of them.

Compassion can be the quality that is a way to return to the flow and to hold all the messiness, confusion and pain. When I am confused, conflicted or in fear or distress of some kind, I can offer compassion to myself for my own pain and overwhelm, and for all the people and creatures that are suffering throughout the planet. This often moves me into a place of peace and opening and even guidance. As we recall our interconnectedness, one with another and creation, compassion is a healing balm that we can cultivate for ourselves and the planet.

These qualities of love, trust, connection and compassion may feel simplistic in the face of major upheaval. Yet, all I have is this one life , lived moment by moment. I know that it is critical to practice what is true in my heart. These qualities can ripple out to all those around me and the planet. They may seem insignificant but when united with the Heart of Love may have the energy of Fire that Teilhard de Chardin speaks of: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

This article originally appeared in Shalem’s annual report FY17.

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