Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand.

~Seng-Ts’an

Categories: Nature and spirituality and Non-duality. Tags: silence. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote. Interest Areas: Monday Moments.

Nothing in all creation is so like God
as stillness.

~Meister Eckhart

You need a spiritual pilgrimage.
Begin by closing your mouth.

~sayings of the Desert Fathers

 

desert-fathers

Categories: Contemplative Spirituality. Tags: desert fathers, pilgrimage, and silence. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote. Interest Areas: Monday Moments.

The seeker’s silence
is the loudest form of prayer.

~Swami Vivekananda

 

Quote_Viveka

Categories: Contemplative Spirituality. Tags: prayer and silence. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote. Interest Areas: Monday Moments.

The quieter you become,

the more you can hear.

~Ram Dass

 

121814 beach Etherton Ram Dass

Categories: Body Prayer and Contemplative Spirituality. Tags: quiet, Ram Dass, and silence. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote. Interest Areas: Monday Moments.

Being Contemplative in the Digital Age: 6 Tips to Nourish Your Prayer Practice

Prayer is often thought of as speaking to God but prayer doesn’t have to be about speaking. It can be about silence and listening. This practice from the Christian contemplative tradition can serve to help calm the storm of stimuli that is part of living in the digital age.

St. Benedict, a sixth century spiritual leader, advised his monks to “listen with the ear of the heart,” that is, to listen deeply, noticing the many ways God spoke to them in their daily activities as well as through scripture and worship.

There are many ways to pray, many ways to open to God’s living presence and nurture an awareness of the sacred in daily life. Whether you are just beginning on a spiritual path or seeking to deepen your spiritual practice, here are some ways to begin or begin again.

Sit.

I was praying and filled to the brim with so many ideas, desires, and hopes. I was looking for a new direction, a calling, next steps, and a road map clarifying the journey ahead. In my earnest prayer, I asked, “Lord, what shall I do next?” I sensed a small whisper of an answer. I heard this:

“ Sit.”

Surely, I must have missed something. Sit? Was this it? I was hoping for something with at least two syllables, something grander, maybe even life changing! I thought perhaps I must have misheard, so I prayed again and again and then again on another day. The answer was always the same, a gentle loving nudge to do nothing else but “Sit.”

Music as a Doorway to Prayer

Today’s post is by the late Ann Kulp.

Music has called us to prayer through the ages: the shofar, psalm, pipes, harp, trumpet, the peal of bells, the carillon, and symphony. Some of us have been stilled and called through Tibetan bowls, whose sound lingers and leads us into the silence of waiting. There is the music of the gurgling brook, wind in the rustling trees, the chirping of cicadas and other natural sounds. There is the music of Native American flute, a jazz band, a Gregorian chant. It matters not what kind. Each is an echo of some sound heard eons ago, and perhaps remembered. At different times in our lives we may hear sounds that become moments of such recollection, drawing us more deeply into the attitude called prayer.

As I ponder the meaning of music for me, I have a sense of being touched deeply, as though certain melodies come from elsewhere, as though they resonate with a part of me with which I have little knowledge. The melodies seem to possess a power to unlock a part of my emotions through a rhythm or sequence of tones that sounds simply sublime. I feel in tune with a different kind of reality, different from my everyday routine. I may experience solace, release, a “lift” or sheer exhilaration. Music becomes a pathway from my head to my heart. My attention is diverted from ordinary distractions to a language that has direct access to my spirit. Music engages me, stills me, inspires me, and sometimes connects me to the Source of all sound and silence. It becomes a holy moment. It opens me to prayer, sheer attentiveness. My heart is open. Music has become the doorway.

Silence, Seeing, Solidarity, Salaam

Last fall I was in Iraqi Kurdistan with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). CPT has been a peaceful presence in Iraq since 2002, first from Baghdad and since 2006 from Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, at the invitation of and in solidarity with local people of peace.

To see what makes for peace is to know when to break silence and when to be silent in solidarity with suffering people seeking salaam. Contemplatives know that we see and speak from our heart and head.

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.