I have learned that my contemplative practice is any act, habitually entered into with my whole heart, as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of the inherent holiness of the present moment. My practice may be to be alone, really alone, without any addictive props and diversions. Or my practice may be that of being with that person in whose presence you are called to a deeper place.
If I’m not careful, however, the demands of each day’s events easily drown out the unassuming importance of fidelity to those simple acts that intimately awaken me to the ultimate meaning and value of those same daily events. Remaining faithful to my contemplative practices calls for the integrity of remaining faithful to a commitment that nobody sees; it consists of giving myself over with all my heart to simple acts which, on the surface, seem to be but the incidental passage of time. But if I’m faithful to this unassuming path of fidelity toward daily contemplative practices, the subtle awareness of the depths to which they grant access begins to permeate the very texture of my daily experience of living. Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, fidelity to our contemplative practices evolves into an habitual awareness that does not miss the surprise appearance of God showing up…
I’ve truly learnt to trust in the words of Merton, when he wrote:
“This path of self-transformation can be expressed and explored in three directives: Find your contemplative practice and practice it. Find your contemplative community and enter it. Find your contemplative teaching and follow it.”
“Finding my contemplative practice” then becomes an event that occurs in each and every granting of contemplative experience in which the divinity of the present moment is realized. Flowing out from each finding is the possibility of then learning to practice my contemplative practice by learning to “hang out in the neighbourhood” where the granting of spontaneous contemplative experience of the moment occurred.