Why Bother To Contemplate?
My personality does not lend itself to sitting still. Though I am enthralled by nature and its beauty, you won’t find me lingering too long in its loveliness, instead, I move through it. Sometimes the colors of a sunset are astounding, a moon rise incredible and misty mornings mesmerizing. But I don’t stop and stare too long at the scene. I am too busy. I can say though, I am getting better at noticing, pausing, and appreciating the beauty presented in front of me and when I do, I am rewarded.
It is difficult not to notice the loveliness of where I live. I am surrounded by mountains, trees, plenty of unobstructed sky and animal life. Commuting to or from work, my eyes often scan the panoramic view of the lake or gaze up into the sky to spot an eagle. Yet, to really drink in, fill up and find nourishment from nature and its beauty I have to begin with my eyes closed.
Some years ago, I was dissatisfied with my way of praying. It was as though I was speaking into dead space. I wanted answers, but Nobody was giving me any. When my prayers left my lips, my heart still felt burdened. In essence, I was having one way conversations with myself and unable to give myself any solutions.
Then, a friend invited me to a contemplative retreat at a monastery and I accepted. I did not know anything about monasteries or contemplation, yet her invitation resonated with my need and I went. Contemplative prayer is not the same as navel gazing, nor is it the impossible practice of emptying one’s mind of all thoughts. The simplest form of contemplation is to be still and know that God is God. It may seem simple, but give it a try and you will find it hard. Just when you settle into sitting still, you will think of the things you should be doing. Just when you think that God is God, you begin rehearsing the conversation you think you need to have with someone. To be still, to know beyond any doubts God is God is not something that comes natural to any of us. But when we practice, we are rewarded. We become a little more tuned into receiving.
When I begin my day with my eyes closed sitting still even briefly, while reminding myself that God is God, then I can drink in, fill up, receive, appreciate, and accept the beauty surrounding me.
Why bother to contemplate? It is worth taking a few moments everyday to remind ourselves that we are not in charge. When we do, our load leaves us and we are open to the beauty around us.