Looking within, I, or anyone, can come to see how easily I identify who I am with my thoughts or emotions or possessions or hopes or fears. A certain amount of quiet attentiveness is required to learn to reduce this identification or attachment, and simply watch in openness to God. Let go and let God. Some people use Centering Prayer, Lectio divina, meditation, and other types of spiritual practice. Contemplative prayer properly so called (contemplatio) is a further stage which is a gift from God rather than something one tries to do - but the other practices make you ready to receive this gift. Their journey is on the path to the holy mountain, to resurrection, to a rising from the dead. To Easter. Whom do they meet, while on the road to Emmaus?
The Holy Spirit of God, given permission, is always ready to take any human being through such silence to a deeper presence of godself. Hence the practice of forms of prayer that do not even rely on thoughts, practices that lead to contemplation in the traditional Christian sense of contemplatio. Con-temp-lation means something like "time together with"; thus Centering Prayer, for example, and similar methods, are basically resting in God. This is done with awareness but without using imagination, words, thoughts, or emotions. These practices help us to know Christ, to know God, but in a contemplative, mystical sense of knowing.
Perhaps this EasterSpirit site can help a little in this. Here you will find some explanations and links about contemplative practices - especially Centering Prayer - that do not make use of thoughts. There is a section on Contemplative Prayer, and a page of external Centering Prayer Videos, embedded here from other sites. Contemplative practices are intended to prepare oneself for contemplatio, a state where God takes over.
This site also contains some short EasterSpirit Videos that I hope you will find inspiring. it also contains information and links related to contemplative practices in a christian context. We are making these videos and contemplation-related information available in the hope that they will be an inspiration and a channel for that grace.
These videos have been found useful within Christian communities. You could use them for individual reflection, retreats, prayer groups, before quiet prayer, in church, and other ways. After watching one, you may wish to pause a little: "be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46). Or take up a contemplative practice.
On this site you will find a section on Theosis, our partaking of the divine nature. The "I" must not confuse itself with God, but the divine is already here, more myself than "I". How can a seeker let herself or himself be drawn closer to the ultimate mystery? "He who dies before he dies will not die when he dies." Try a regular contemplative practice, and give the "I" a rest!
There is also a section on the spirit of Saint Francis. Here you may also enjoy some of the sacred icons being produced in the traditional method by one of the hermit-monks at Assisi, Brother Marco. You may wish to use them for meditation or as a preparation for contemplatio.
Peace & Love
13 Jan 2010