I wrote the following piece for the Stillpoint at Beckside community, a Christian Contemplative Center, to explain why I believe the contemplative path is needed in today's world. For those of you who are a bit uncomfortable with the Christian vernacular, know that part of my work is to understand it as a vernacular and see to the validity of the true powerful practices within that tradition. To me, the contemplative path is such an important practice in the Christian tradition because it is transformational. It is not simply a way of worship, but it is a way of changing one's self through deep contemplation of the Divine. I leave it to you to define what the Divine is to you. For some it is the Tao, for others it is the beauty of the natural laws of the universe, still others it is God or Gods in many forms. What ever that is for you, somehow the deep contemplation that leads to relationship opens a window to transformation within us. I say it changes our mind and our soul, but you may say psyche. What ever interpretations we each have, the universal truth is that delving more deeply into the mystery of the universe changes us!
To me, the contemplative path is one of learning to connect with and delve more deeply into a realization of the divine presence in each moment. By doing so we change ourselves. We experience new aspects of ourselves in divine relationship that are revealing in sometimes disturbing ways, but in ways that are also ripe with potential for a greater reconciliation into divine wholeness. It is a path towards wholeness through deep connection to All-That-Is.
This is the contemplative PATH. But what does this mean when we look at the contemplative as a STANCE in the world? How do we take this process of deep-connection-leading-to-wholeness into the world?
To me, this is an arrow pointing straight to ecospirituality. To me, the genesis story is about our break with the natural world as much as it is with God. To me, all of the strife that we see in human history is caused by our not fulfilling our role as stewards for this earth, which includes being stewards for each other. With the eminence of ecological change so great that we can't and don't want to begin to comprehend it, now more than ever we need to, as a human race, grow up into adulthood and finally take on this role of stewardship.
And I believe that the contemplative path provides tools that allow us to do this. What stands between ourselves and our true role on this planet is our own disconnection from divine creation and the divine creator as one and the same. This disconnection and the resulting wounds are exactly what the contemplative path works on in its practice to restore wholeness through deep relationship with the mystery.
The contemplative path also supports us in creating a heart and body connection to divine purpose in a way that takes our role as stewards out of the “just another thing to do on my list of things to do” and into a “I am on fire with my love for creation, how does this inspiration overflow into action?” We have to change ourselves, our priorities, our attitudes, before we are ready to change the world.
It is my belief that dealing with climate change and the ecological disaster that is upon us will require us to do some of the deepest personal and collective spiritual work of human history. And the contemplative path can be a great tool for this if we remember the end goal goes beyond personal salvation to creating that heaven on earth.
Wild Lotus Living is me, Summer Starr. Here I share my personal musings and resources on my own path of unfolding