Contemplative Light

Inspiration and Guidance on the Journey to Awakening

My Agnostic Prayer Friend

 I was beginning my weekly Contemplative Prayer Gathering when in walked my dear prayer buddy, John, who I hadn’t seen in a couple years.  John and I met 12 years ago when I was holding centering prayer meetings at a 12 Step Recovery center. He came regularly, bringing his soul-searching, truth-seeking attitude, dry wit, gentle smile, and well-defined reasoning on why he was agnostic.

A Contemplative Ego?

After engaging in contemplative practice for about seven years, in mid-2014 I had an awakening experience and for about 3 months it seemed like I had superpowers.Things that would normally eat at me just fell by the wayside. I had a sudden burst of energy and wrote most of my book during that stretch. I had insights into questions I’d long been diving into. It was like a bubble had burst and I could see relationships, the outside world, and the inner landscape with sudden freshness and clarity.

A Checklist for Resurrection

Traditionally, on Easter Sunday, we identify closely with a person who suffered, died, and rose again. In the Christian tradition, Christ’s resurrection is kind of the whole point.But often we turn it into a mental story of something out there. We think of it mechanically in a sense, it’s something that happened and if I respond thus and so it means I don’t have to die or go to hell when I die or however we conceive of that. It’s as if a fact we either accept or reject, and that determines our afterlife.

A Contemplative Checklist

A famous quote in contemplative circles reads “the mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.” What this refers to is our normal tendency to be pulled this way and that way by the incessant stream of unconscious thought.Instead of using our minds when necessary, we are mostly used by our minds and kept in a kind of mental prison. Some of us nurse and rehearse our resentments, some of us obsess over our never-ending to-do list. Some of us stay steeped in our losses, limitations, unfulfilled needs, dreams, or fears about the future.