“God’s kingdom isn’t coming with signs that are easily noticed. Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already within you.” – Jesus, Luke 17:20b-21
The term “contemplative” may bring to mind monks, chants or a even a dark monastery. Mindfulness has become the more popular term and while there are some core similarities, there are important differences. For more than 2000 years Christian teachers have taught contemplative prayer practices but many of us were not exposed to the the contemplative tradition.
- tending the garden
- baking bread
- creating art or creative crafts
- contemplative prayer.
Any act that takes you to a deeper and more expansive awareness of being present in the here-and-now can become a contemplative practice. The act does not create the awareness but can prepare us to receive it as a gift from God that requires our participation.
We will only experience awareness of our True Self in the present moment because we are never really present in the past or future and our “now” is where we will experience God who is always present “now.”
Contemplative practices invite us to become aware of the already existing Presence that interpenetrates our True Self in love, openness and surrender. The barrier is our egocentricity that keeps us worried or planning about the past or the future.
Consistent surrendering ourselves to our practice in silent presence creates a life-giving deepening of joy, gratitude and peace that Father, Son and Spirit are always present even when our ordinary awareness distracts us. Begin today.