Sports as Contemplative Practice

Today’s blog is by Tilden Edwards, the founder of Shalem Institute. Given the Washington Nationals recent World Series win, we were inspired to remember Tilden Edwards’ article on sports as a contemplative practice, written several years ago.  We are thrilled for our hometown team, albeit exhausted from a wild season, and sincerely thank the Astros […]

Learning To Sit With Not Knowing

Today’s Special Video Blog is by Carrie Newcomer, the recipient of Shalem’s 2019 Contemplative Voices Award on October 27! “Learning To Sit With Not Knowing” from “The Point of Arrival”   “Abide” by Carrie Newcomer and Parker Palmer from “A Permeable Life”   “Room At The Table” from “A Permeable Life”

Listening from the Spiritual Heart

Today’s blog is by Keith Kristich “An atmosphere of intentional prayer precedes and follows group sessions, permeating the time together, as all seek an attitude of trustful openness, ready to share what is given as the fruit of prayer and reflection, and ready to hear what arises in the silence and words of direction time.” […]

A Beautiful Soul

Today’s blog is by Ernest Yau. “The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have been used to thinking, in prospering… but in the development of the soul.” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) As I gaze at him, every inch an ordinary man, I spot something extraordinary: an alive body, a surrendering mind and a loving heart. […]

A Space for Silence & Prayer

Article by Judy Walsh-Mellett – September 2019 eNews As a child walking in the woods, I was not compelled to ponderous thinking or righting the world’s wrongs. I simply walked and paused breathless if a deer or a rabbit passed by. Or gazed in awe if I chanced to see a Lady Slipper’s rare glory, […]

Children, Chaos, and Contemplation

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef

There is never a dull moment at our house. My wife and I have four children—amid the flurry of homework assignments, birthday parties, sibling spats, and dinnertime squabbles—there’s a lot of constant noise and movement.

One of the delightful things about having young children is their unbridled enthusiasm and overwhelming energy. They are fully present, without a sense that there is anything else to be. They are fully in the moment. This is a gift of being a child, not being weighed down by thoughts of the future, or by a sense of responsibility, or worry. They are right here, right now.

The downside is that everything is so important, and when something doesn’t go their way, right now, it’s reason for complaining, crying, sometimes even—panic. Spilling milk really is something to cry over. A favorite toy breaking feels like the apocalypse. Even as I write this there is fighting in the sandbox. (Don’t worry – we have plenty of moments of calm and laughter as well in our household!)

I long as a parent to be able to maintain an inner calm amid all this outer chaos and confusion. I find that I very seldom am able to cultivate that on the spot. It is something I need to consciously develop in other moments, so that when the chaos comes, I have a reserve of calm from which to draw. It might be a daily time of prayer and silence, a quiet walk outside, Scripture reading, or some other practice.

In the Garden

Lately my thoughts have turned to letting go and being afraid, the prompts for two spiritual journey writing groups. I struggle with these, not because I haven’t been afraid or haven’t let go but because each time I think of possible topics—traveling to Guinea to start a refuge school, starting my own business, taking my weavings to galleries, traveling abroad alone, being pregnant—there no energy rises around the fear I once had. When I consider our children going to college or my release of things I once loved like West African drumming or my professional work, I feel nothing. I can’t go there now. They just don’t resonate with me today. Or yesterday. Or the day before.

Just a Minute

During a turbulent period, my regular practice of spending time in silence fell apart. I turned to a local meditation teacher, seeking guidance to re-establish my practice. His advice blew me away.

Joy Unspeakable

It is with joy that I muse about what it means to be contemplative and African American. I’ve been thinking, praying, and studying this seeming contradiction for some time—only to conclude that there is no contradiction. For people of color, the contemplative is embedded in our DNA.

Draining the Pond

I was delighted to see I had a view of the pond. Through brightly colored leaves, I caught a glimpse of water shimmering below. Ah, the pond! Still water, reflecting clouds and sun, holding leaves aloft – oranges and yellows, sky blue, greyish white and dark green.