Exercising Contemplative Power
It is a consciousness with us since birth but needing to be retrieved–a subliminal awareness. It is invisible but it engages and emerges within each of us and all of us. It is our capacity to be, to act, out of a space that invites us to see anew, invites us to observe and interpret with new eyes, with new ears and to see what is my/our egoic selves and what is my/our God-selves that are trying to emerge.
Contemplative Power is compassionate. It is centered in our knowing that we are all one, we are all connected. It is to see things as God sees them as, Dorothy Soelle writes. Such seeing, she said, leads to an active resistance to evil and inspires efforts to alleviate suffering. It is to see as Jesus saw when he defied his society’s definition of “the other” and chose to relate to each person in an exchange of mutual love and respect no matter the personal cost.
Contemplative Power is communal. Although we each exercise our own contemplative power we want to grow in our capacity to exercise it together. We liken it to a jazz ensemble where each player needs to be open to the others; attentive to what is being sung and played; willing to shape the next response attuned to what went before and moving it forward.
As pianist Mary Lou Williams would say to audiences “such music will heal you.” Communal contemplative power can heal the world. It is letting go of thinking that we are going to come to something that no one has thought of; rather it is believing that as we let ourselves be in this deep space things will realign in us and in the world. It happens even without our knowing it. We make the change by holding the high consciousness.
We offer these two poems as another way to capture some of what we described.
From Wendell Berry’s poem:
“What We Need Is Here“
… what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
When compassion fills my heart,
Free from all desire,
I sit quietly like the earth.
My silent cry echoes like thunder
Throughout the universe.
© 2019 Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
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