Contemplative prayer reflects a long and noble lineage of Christians who have attempted to "put on the mind of Christ" ... through a radical transformation of consciousness that produces the Kingdom as its fruit. Applying Jesus' teaching that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," they have striven to heal their own divided and warring consciousnesses and bring their lives into an inner alignment through which it becomes possible to actually follow the teachings of Christ (which are in fact pitched to a level of consciousness higher than the egoic) and to live them into reality with integrity and grace. Ever since that first great contemplative "experiment" in the deserts of Egypt and Syria, the goal has been radical transformation of the human person in service of the Kingdom. It doesn't require an "introverted temperament"--only honesty, commitment, and a good sense of humor. From these three raw ingredients, great saints can be fashioned.
It is not an easy task, but a most rewarding one, to bless the marketplace with a contemplative presence. It seems to me that the life of work and prayer is not only possible, but greatly enhanced by standing firm in the real world with one's being anchored solidly in the Ultimate Reality. It is the harmony of the universe that echoes in the heart of the "new monk" who works and prays, lives and loves, re-creates and recreates in the center of the present world. The mystical monastery is the whole of society; the marketplace is one of its cloisters. The Holy Rule of the New Monk is the solid perspective of the spiritual practice embraced.