Hungry!

William 2

Monica was feeling something many of us contemplatives feel: hungry! We need to be in contemplative community to practice the presence of God as often as we can, and once in a while just doesn’t cut it. She said she was glad to have found a monthly group thirty minutes from her home, but “once a month is just not enough.”

There it is, spiritual hunger, a major part of the human condition, something many people feel and not everyone recognizes for what it is. Monica knows what she needs and she is ready to go after it.

Our friend Lisa expressed the same thing when she came to a church where there was a centering prayer group and kept trying all of the locked doors for several weeks until she found one that was open. She kept knocking, and eventually the right door was found and she stepped inside. She has been coming for weekly centering prayer ever since.

There are some steps you can take as a contemplative missionary if you are like Monica, hungry and needing more. Here is a poem about the calling to live the contemplative life and come Home now, and then you can read some steps to be a contemplative missionary.

Come Home

Beneath the demands of the world

that pull you into pieces

your Life is whispering,

“Come Home now.”

Today you answer “Yes,”

finally,

and set your intention

to be here

in this present moment

breath by breath.

Beneath each passing thought

you come Home as a silent witness,

cultivating inner stillness

beneath the noisy mind.

And beneath each random feeling

you “stand on the ground of your being,

where you are not a tenant,

where you are Home.”*

 You do not have to shave your head

or wear an orange robe

or learn a secret handshake.

You just begin now

as you are

to come Home.

Breathe,

and notice whatever arises

in the field of your awareness

and let it all go.

This is the wise one’s way.

Best actions spring from the stillness.

*Quote from John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us.

     First: keep deepening your own practice each day as best you can, knowing that you are joining the rest of us locally and world-wide.
     Second: Download an app to help you be aware of how many of us are practicing at the moment you do with a site like Insight Meditation. They offer gong sounds and a timer you can set for your length of practice. Our Monday noon group in Metairie uses that app to let us know how many hundred people are practicing as we do.
     Third: Look around as you share moments of what you are experiencing and see who seems to light up or be interested. We do not try to talk others into this call. We look for where God is already moving.
     Fourth: Set your intention to be in a weekly group and start inviting people to gather at a time and place that works for you. Be flexible with changing the timing as needed, as well as the format. Some people need to arrive, practice, then scoot out. At one point our Slidell group even committed to “meet” on Thursday mornings by practicing wherever we were for the summer. Just that knowing of spiritual presence was enough to help sustain the group until they could start meeting in person again the following fall.
     Fifth: Stop dieting spiritually. Do not accept only a few morsels of God’s presence. Commit to keep coming Home, no matter what. And decide to find the people who will help you sustain the practice. Often this means you form your own group (or if you are desperate like me, you form a bunch of groups). Remember the One who is calling you into Presence is out there calling many others, and they might just need to know you are there with the same longing.
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About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through Amazon.com; and of a blog on Wordpress.com, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (www.thescl.net), adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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