The Contemplative Heart

A way of awakening

A contemplative practice is any act, habitually entered into with your whole heart, as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of the inherent holiness of the present moment. The critical factor is not so much what the practice is in its externals as the extent to which the practice incarnates an utterly sincere stance of awakening and surrendering to the Godly nature of the present moment.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Finley
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley

Discovering our contemplative community

Sometimes compassion compels us to confront, sometimes to cajole, sometimes to be silent and wait, sometimes to do or say what it would never occur to our egocentric self to do or say, for we can never say for certain in advance just how compassionate love may prompt us to act, to see, and accept within ourselves and others. Yet, in our willingness to recognize and go forth to identify with the preciousness of ourselves and others in our collective frailty, we discover our contemplative community in the intimate texture of our daily interactions with one another.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Finley
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley

A habitual state of compassionate love

The process of establishing ourselves in a habitual state of compassionate love takes place in the context of countless failure to be compassionate.  But this proves to be no hindrance as long as we commit ourselves to being compassionate toward ourselve in our failings to be compassionate.  Even our failures to be compassionate prove to be but new opportunities . . .  This process of yielding to compassionate love unfolds and deepens over a lifetime of learning that when all is said and done, love is the playing field where we most truly meet ourselves and others as we really are, precious in our collective frailty.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Finley, thanks to Liz Stewart
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley

I can feel everyone in the room waiting for the next note

I once heard the pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, being interviewed. At one point he was asked to share his experience of playing Chopin's Nocturnes. He said in effect, "I do not know what it is. But over and over again I have had the experience of sitting in a crowded concert hall playing the Nocturnes and I can feel everyone in the room waiting for the next note." In this moment of waiting, all present find their contemplative community in their oneness with one another in the boundless mystery that enraptures them.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Finley
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley

Slow, deep, natural breathing

Slow, deep, natural breathing is a fundamental aspect of meditation practice. In a childlike awareness of each breath, breathing out we are quietly aware of breathing out. Breathing in we are quietly aware of breathing in. In this way, our awareness becomes one with the primitive rhythms of our breathing, one with the simply given nature of now's ceaseless flow in which our life is rooted.
~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE HEART by James Findley
The Contemplative Heart
By James Finley
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