This painting captures the stance of the contemplative, and it is my stance. We watch and listen for the Presence. We stare straight into Reality. We welcome the whole, unfolding adventure, though we never know what is coming. We feel all the challenging emotions from the great uncertainty, and still we stand, and watch, and wait.
Seeing us simply standing before the Light, you might think we are passive, or uncertain, or lazy. You might question our motives. You might wonder if we ever accomplish anything. You might say we better form a plan and get busy and make sure we do not spend too much time being still. You might worry about our sanity. You might even get mad at us and yell something like, “Don’t just stand there. Do something!”
We have lived by those compulsions too. We have danced too fast, spun out of control, and raced around trying to keep busy. We have filled up every minute on the daily calendar. Some of us have even sped to meditation groups. One of us, (me), has even been in a wreck on the Interstate trying to hurry to lead a meditation group.
But none of that is how we want to live.
Sure we forget our calling and get lost all the time. But we do not waste much time beating ourselves up. When we awaken, and realize we have become lost, again, we simply start over: standing before the One Light and awaiting instructions.
All of our creativity arises from this Source. So do any shreds of wisdom we discover. And all the love that ever makes it into our hearts comes from this same Source. When we find a quiet joy on an azure blue-sky day, that too emerges from Source. When a hint of hope pulls back the dark curtain of despair, showing us the deep peace, revealing how we will be okay no matter what happens, then we have surely been in the Presence of that same Source.
Where else should we be standing but here, before the Creator? Be we man or woman, girl or boy, where else should we stand? Be we in a happy place, or greatly troubled in our hearts, where else should we stand? Rich or poor, old or young, liberal or conservative, a person of color or not, gay or straight, frightened or courageous or somewhere in between, where else should we be standing but right here before the Light?
I tell you, I have found a home here. And I am certain that this place, standing like a child before her or his Creator, can be your home too.
If you are not sure how to find this place, this home waiting for you, can I warn you now that it is not found by making plans and looking really hard. It is not located by the best cartographers because there is no map to this home. You can’t locate it by watching more CNN or Fox News, for they never speak of such things. An addiction to checking the latest Facebook posts every hour will not get you there. No book, or CD, or DVD, or text, or tweet, or phone call will ever show the way. In fact, no thing outside yourself will guide you to the home of the contemplative, where we live before the Creator.
O weary traveler, give up trying to get home now. Fall down. Let go of every effort. Abandon the search.
There is this one way: long for the Presence with all your heart.
Become willing to let the Presence find you, even if Presence comes in your dreams, or hides in the shadows until you are ready, or Self-reveals in a most unexpected way. Join the contemplatives from every faith across the globe and long for the Presence with all your heart. This is our way. We stand before the Light, and await instructions.
*If you need friends on the way like we do, come sit or stand with us in one of our weekly or monthly groups in the School for Contemplative Living (www.thescl.net) around the New Orleans region, or find local contemplatives in your area. If you would like a personal companion for the journey, we have many spiritual directors around South Louisiana, or you can consult Spiritual Directors International. May your journey lead you home.