Some thoughts to get you started.

An Introduction to Contemplation

 

Lost in Wonder

What is the key to developing your spirituality and growing in your relationship with God? Many people divide the spiritual and the physical into compartments but Jesus never saw things that way.  I believe that one of  the first key is to discover the lost art of contemplative prayer. It will radically transform your life and yet it is so easy. Contemplation is a source of both refreshment and motivation. In  many ways it is more natural than breathing.

Develop the gift of wonder Have you ever stopped and enjoyed a view? Sometimes no words can sum up or describe this experience. I remember standing gazing at Niagara Falls and being awestruck at the gigantic geographical wonder that I was observing. At one point there was a rainbow which added to the wonder of the occasion and all I wanted to do was look and behold its beauty. This is a simple but natural form of what the mystics referred to as contemplation.

Contemplation can therefore be viewed as spiritual wonder and is ultimately about the awareness of life and the divine presence of God. Einstein did not believe in a traditional theistic God but he did say that wonder was the key to knowledge. He believed there to be a divine spirit behind the beauty and order of the universe, and his contemplative approach motivated his desire to understand the workings of the universe. Learning to appreciate and learn about the world around us is as much a spiritual discipline as prayer and bible study. Contemplation gives us the motivation to learn new things.

Benefits

I am in no way downplaying the Christian disciplines of bible study and talking to God, but rather seeking to redress a balance. Stillness and relaxation are important to physical health and therefore contemplative prayer is good for the body as well as the soul. We do not necessarily need outside stimulation to prompt contemplation. We can choose to look inwards and experience the presence of God. Jesus himself said “the kingdom of God is within”. When we sit in silence we are not just refraining from words but tuning in to God who inhabits us. This presence is described in the bible as the Holy Sprit. The presence of God within us is a source of creativity, love and power. It brings refreshment and strength. Words, knowledge and symbols express only inadequately the nature of God. When we focus on His presence and all that that entails, we can sometimes only approach Him in silence.

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