Cultivating a listening heart

An attitude of contemplation helps us to see the quiet beauty that is all around us in the world, in the faces of the people in our lives or the way a cat stretches, as well as in the mundane tasks that take up so much of our time. We can begin to cultivate the "listening heart." This contemplative way of seeing, hearing, and feeling brings richness and depth of meaning to our lives. It allows us to know what is real and essential. It helps us move toward freedom and wholeness as we see more clearly into the truth of the moment.

~ from SEEDS OF AWAKENING by Molly Vass-Lehman

A mountain is an image of the soul as it lifts itself up in contemplation

It seems to me that a mountain is an image of the soul as it lifts itself up in contemplation. For in the same manner as the mountain towers above the valleys and lowlands at its foot, so does the soul of the one who prays mount into the higher regions up to God like an eagle taking wing.

~ by Theodore of Studios, c. 835

Contemplation is a vast space, open on all sides

It is significant that the Latin word "templum" originally meant a vast space, open on all sides, from which one could survey the whole surrounding landscape as far as the horizon. This is what is meant to CONTEMPLATE: to "set one's sights on" Heaven from the temple that defines the field of vision... The temple is the place, the organ of vision.


To be a contemplative

To be a contemplative we must become converted to the consciousness that makes us one with the universe, in time with the cosmic voice of God. We must become aware of the sacred in every element of life. We must bring beauty to birth in a poor and plastic world. We must grow in concert with the God who is within. We must restore the human community. We must be healers in a harsh society.

~ from ILLUMINATED LIFE by Joan Chittester

Contemplation plumes her feathers

And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude
Where, with her best nurse Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings.

~ by John Milton

Contemplative prayer is an exchange of hearts

Contemplative prayer is not a conversation in words, but an exchange of hearts.

~ by Thomas Keating

Contemplative waiting is consenting to be where we really are

As the conversation turned to waiting, Brother Anthony leaned forward in his chair. "Contemplative waiting is consenting to be where we really are," he explained. "People recoil from it because they don't want to be present to themselves. Such waiting causes a deep existential loneliness to surface, a feeling of being disconnected from oneself and God. At the depths there is fear, fear of the dark chaos within ourselves.

Brother Anthony was exactly right. Ultimately, we are fleeing our own dark chaos. We are fleeing ourselves.

~ from WHEN THE HEART WAITS by Sue Monk Kidd

Eliminate something superfluous from your life

Eliminate something superfluous from your life.
Break a habit.
Do something that makes you feel insecure.
Carry out an action with complete attention and
intensity as if it were your last.

~ Piero Ferrucci

And this time has now arrived

There comes a Time when, on one hand a vague Awakening stirs the soul, the consciousness of a Higher Law ... and the sufferings we endure from the contradictions of life, compel us to renounce the social order and to adapt the New. And this time has now arrived.

~ Leo Tolstoy

Awareness, like grace itself, is always freely being offered

Awareness, like grace itself, is always freely being offered -- but it is a living and sensitive thing. It does not take kindly to being ignored or abused. If one does not pay attention to the presence of the holy in the very midst of daily life, it simply withdraws (or, more accurately, we discover that we have withdrawn ourselves from it!); and it may be a long and weary time before we find again that particular facet of Truth which would have been such a great help to the very next stage of our journeys.

~ from ENCOUNTERS AT BETHLEHEM by Jean Jones Andersen
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