“God in All Things, and All Things in God”

This week Contemplative Life Bookstore is examining the Life and Revelations of Julian of Norwich.  Veronica Mary Rolf has done extensive research and just recently came out with a book entitled, Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich.  

Over six hundred years ago, in an enclosure attached to a church in Norwich, England, a woman known only as Julian wrote a book detailing sixteen mystical encounters with Christ on the cross. At the time few women could read or write, and the writing or teaching of theology by “unlettered” lay people in the vernacular was strictly forbidden. Today, however, Julian’s Revelations are studied along with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Her theological insights and spiritual direction are compared to those of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The twentieth century monk Thomas Merton called her “one of the most wonderful of Christian voices.”

If you are interested in ordering this 660 page hard-cover book, click here.  I’ve also included a video that highlights quotes from Julian of Norwich herself.

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Walking Meditation

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www.meditationoasis.com

Have you ever tried Walking Meditation?

Here’s an article that highlights 3 ways to practice walking meditation.

Do you find walking meditation more difficult than sitting silently?  For me, I find both just as beneficial.  Walking while meditating often gives you the feeling that you are one with the Earth and God.  The soft rhythmic sound that your feet make as they hit the ground can often times be soothing, a way to get you to focus on your mantra.

What do you think?

 

 

 

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Thoughts from Thich Nhat Hanh

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Thoughts from Thich Nhat Hanh on conscious breathing and non-duality.

We can use our breathing to be in contact with out feelings and accept them.  If our breathing is light and calm–a natural result of conscious breathing–our mind and body will slowly become light, calm, and clear, and our feelings also.  Mindful observation is based on the principle of “non-duality”:  our feeling is not separate from us or caused merely by something outside us; our feeling is us, and for the moment we are that feeling.  We are neither drowned in nor terrorized by the feeling, nor do we reject it. Our attitude of not clinging to or rejecting our feelings is the attitude of letting go, an important part of meditation practice.

If we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence, we can transform them into the kind of energy that is healthy and has the capacity to nourish us.  By the work of mindful observation, our unpleasant feelings can illuminate so much for us, offering us insight and understanding into ourselves and society.

 

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Christianity and Nonduality

I ran across an article by Robert A. Jonas called, “Christianity and Nonduality.” I have had the privilege of meeting Robert Jonas here in Tucson during a James Finley Conference in which Robert played his Japanese bamboo flute.  Robert’s talents are multifaceted and I think you will agree a prolific writer. Please read his thought-provoking article on “Christianity and Nonduality.”

Click on the link above to read the article in its entirety.  Here are a few short clips that accentuate the differences between living in a dualistic versus non-dualisitic world.

Generally speaking, perceiving the world in this subject-object mode stems from an isolated ego-self that “owns” its own existence and is motivated by self-interest. A dualistic existence tends to be ego-driven, self-centered, and self-conscious. A dualistic person is always thinking – consciously or unconsciously – “What about me?” and “What’s in it for me?” A dualistic person looks out at others and nature as separate from him- or herself.

So, how would one characterize non-dual awareness as it is understood in the East? The Hindu and Buddhist traditions have been thinking and practicing nonduality for millennia. In the Advaita Hindu tradition, a practitioner seeks to realize Brahman, the universal Self. This word Self is distinguished from self, small “s,” which we in the West might name the self-centered ego.

Hindus envision a gradual dissolving of ego boundaries until one becomes united with “the All” – with everything, including ultimate Reality. The center of one’s “I” becomes everyone and everywhere. Similarly, in Buddhism, the goal is to become fully awake in non-self awareness, and therefore liberated from the suffering that comes from attachment to all objects of awareness and from craving and aversion. Many Hindus and Buddhists might say that their goal is to overcome separateness and otherness and to open their minds to Reality itself and their hearts to universal compassion.

To be sure, Hindus, as well as Buddhists in the Mahayana tradition (including sects such as Tibetan, Ch’an, Zen, Nichiren and Pure Land), also honor with devotional practices eternal archetypal gurus, Buddhas, holy deities and bodhisattvas. But these human-divine relationships are understood to be only vehicles or stepping stones on the way to the non-dual experience, where there is no longer any distinction between the person and the ultimate All, Reality or Dharma. Because in many Eastern traditions there is no ultimate distinction between the self and the All, our relationship with ultimate reality and with divine figures is not usually characterized by anything resembling interpersonal intimacy. In Eastern versions of non-dual consciousness, “otherness” is finally overcome in ultimate oneness.

Some of us may have been raised in this dualistic thinking of all or nothing, punishment or reward type of thinking when it comes to our thoughts of who is God.  The transition from moving from dualistic to non-dualistic thinking can be frightening for some, giving up all the absolutes, using our ability to think freely. And once again, letting go of our ego that often separates us from God; this stands in our way of attaining the relationship that we often desire.

What are your thoughts of moving towards a more non-dualistic thinking? Join us in the process as we look at this topic more closely.

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We are Living Contemplatively When……

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This was borrowed from the Merton Institute. I thought this was worth sharing.

We are living contemplatively when:

We intentionally engage in activities intended to deepen our relationships with ourselves, God, others and nature.

We are conscious that our decisions, actions and use of time affect each of our relationships.

We see how our relationships are all interrelated and integrated and see God in each of them.

We take personal responsibility for each of our relationships.

We understand that our relationships our integral to reaching our life’s goals.

We are not as easily distracted by meaningless activity; our active life flows from our contemplative nature.

We see through “the illusion of separateness;” acknowledge whatever we do that alienates us from our true self, each other, nature and God; and live with the recognition that “we are already one.”

Our spiritual/contemplative life is our active daily life.

We regularly spend time in silent reflection, solitude, and other contemplative practices.

We are more concerned with the issues confronting humanity and less with the mundane concerns of daily life.

We experience the freedom, joy and love that can only come from grounding ourselves in our relationships.

© 2009 The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living

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From War to Peace

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Contemplative Life Bookstore started carrying jewelry that turns weapons that were meant to destroy us, into art meant to restore us.  From War to Peace, took the most violent weapons ever created into celebrations of peace.  Copper cabling buried underground across the American mid-west that carried launch signals to nuclear weapons has been disarmed, recycled and converted into beautiful jewelry.  Please visit our site to view these symbols of peace. This week only, you will receive a 10% discount if you use the promo code PEACE

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Don’t Apologize for Silence

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I would like to share with you Daily Wisdom This is sent out daily from WCCM.  I thought this was a wonderful message to share with everyone.

In silence, you don’t have to be justifying yourself, apologising for yourself, trying to impress anyone. You just have to be. It’s a most marvellous experience when you come to it. The wonder of it is that, in that experience, you are completely free. You are not trying to play any role; you are not trying to fulfil anyone’s expectations.  (John Main, The Hunger for Depth and Meaning)

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The End of Suffering

Once in awhile you run across a video that just plants your mind and thoughts right where they need to be.  I found this amazing video called The End of Suffering that Thich Nhat Hanh narrates – watch, listen and meditate.

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“My Eye and God’s Eye is One Eye”

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The 13th Christian mystic Meister Eckhart states, ”The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.”

As I struggled this week with a hectic week, family concerns and keeping myself balanced, I came across this quote from Meister Eckhart.  It isn’t the first time that I’ve read this but it is the first time I read this.  I often read for pleasure almost anything that I can get my hands on, but there are times when the words seem to be calling my name, recognizing the fact that I needed to immerse myself with what was being said.  “One eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.”  Doesn’t this say it all?

This week Contemplative Life is featuring two resources that are excellent for beginning meditators.  Click on the link to hear clips from the CD’s.

Blessings

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Contemplation – a Deeply Revolutionary Matter

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Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world…with freedom, freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly.  It is a deeply revolutionary matter. (Rowan Williams)
This quote by Rowan Williams brings out a strong message that, “contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world…..”  When life throws those curve balls that reminds you that you are not in control, how does contemplation help you to live life “truthfully, honestly and lovingly?”
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