A Mindful Loaf

Sunday, I decided, was the perfect day to use some of my precious yeast and flour to make a single loaf of bread—the day Christians set aside to gather and remember God’s great gift of self, given and shared with all creation. Baking would be my prayer. The cover of my old Tassajara Bread Book […]

Engaging Solitude

“I realized that solitude was not a disconnection from the rest of the world but instead a necessary recalibration for more meaningful connection with the world.” -Phileena Heuertz We live in the oddest and most uncertain of times. On the one hand as I read the news I get the sense that the world is […]

Now is the Time for Deep Inner Listening

I gave up watching weekday television for Lent. I noticed that I was watching too much. I compassionately observed myself one week and discovered that my daily schedule revolved around television programs. I tuned in to an early morning show and it became my company for breakfast. Next I would arrange lunch for around 2:00 […]

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 […]

Slowing Down

There are two gears in my body: fast and stop. I am trying to find or create some intermediate speeds, but it is very difficult. I have even tried QiQong to slow me down and to notice the moment. Even with this, I find I am faster in the movements than everyone else. I can […]

The Simple Act of Breathing

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen The liturgical feasts of Pentecost and the Holy Trinity focus my thoughts on the Holy Spirit. Of the biblical accounts of Pentecost, I’m always drawn to John’s, where Jesus appears to the disciples gathered in fear, greets them with “Peace be with you,” and imparts the Spirit to […]

June 06, 2019 by Mary van Balen 2 Comments
Categories: Contemplative Living. Tags: breath, breathing, Holy Spirit, Pentecost, spirit, and Trinity Sunday. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Breathing is an act of prayer.

~Frank Waters

Categories: Prayer and Spiritual Deepening. Tags: breath prayer, breathing, and quote. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote.

The Gradual Greening

Each year I look forward to nature’s transformation in March. I imagine the earth as a reluctant lover, having been cold and withdrawn in the winter months. Now slowly, ever so slowly, she warms again to the sun’s touch, showing her pleasure in the tender shoots of daffodils and crocus, budding dogwoods, and the slightest hint of a southerly breeze.

Hildegard noticed that plants and trees grow into the fullness of their nature according to the capacity they were given. A seed grows into the only plant it can. She believed that healing is really the power of your own nature to be itself—the freedom of the true self to live in unity with the life force that has been given to it.

Open and Available [audio guided meditation]

Today’s post is an audio guided meditation by Patience Robbins. Feel free to tune in on your iPhone or mobile device, and find a quiet place to listen.

Practicing Contemplation on the Road

Today’s post is by Leah Rampy

My hands are locked on the steering wheel as I sit in the mass of vehicles inching down I-395 during morning rush hour. I look straight ahead, my eyes locked on the truck just ahead of me. I carefully avoid eye contact with the driver of the car to my right. I pretend not to see her blinker, not even to be aware that she’s there trying to move her car in front of mine. Drat! My peripheral vision is too good; I can see her now beside me, just as I saw her pull out a dozen cars back into the diminishing right hand lane, moving up to the front of the line, trying to bypass all the rest of us who are waiting “patiently” to make our way to work. I am indignant that she does not follow the rules.

There’s something about righteous indignation that feels so good, so superior— at least for a minute. And then it all comes crashing down. What am I doing?!? I started with a spacious morning, I set my intention to bless those along the way, I really want to be gracious to others I meet, and I’m on my way to Shalem for heaven’s sake! Yet here I am again, hijacked by my amygdala, under the control of my ego, or maybe just caught up in an old habit. How distressing!

I suppose in some ways it’s a blip on the radar. And yet I feel sad. Why is it so difficult for me to live consistently from the spiritual heart? In this moment, I feel that others have figured out the key. They pray enough; they hold silence longer, they don’t fail so often in their intent.