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Contemplative Journey: 

Contemplative Journey Exploring this dimension of the Adult Spiritual journey ….

As ‘A’ type people we need to learn to bring some ‘B’ giftedness into our lives! Contemplative Journey will help with this! : 

As ‘A’ type people we need to learn to bring some ‘B’ giftedness into our lives! Contemplative Journey will help with this!

Slide3: 

With characteristics of a type ‘C’ person (internalizing our struggles) – Contemplative Journey will help us process this! Helps us to ‘vomit’ the emotional junk from deep within us!

Difficulties: 

Difficulties Contemplative prayer is shrouded with other-worldliness … dualism. For professionals – not everyday people. Its results are not instant! Like exercise it can take months for the results to show! The language of the masters is difficult for us to relate to!

Difficulty of Exploring the Contemplative Journey continued …: 

Difficulty of Exploring the Contemplative Journey continued … An Eastern Mystic expressed it well to a famous American spirituality writer. “You are like a man who wants to dig a well. He digs three feet here, and three feet there, and three feet in another place, and so on. He never comes to the living water. You must stay in one place and dig deep. You must be faithful to one practice if you want to reach the living waters.” Dig your well steadily and deep so that you may rejoice in a life that is constantly nurtured by living water.

The Human Condition - expanded: 

The Human Condition - expanded “I don’t understand myself at all. I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to do – what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong. ... no matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t . when I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway… I love to do God’s will, so far as my new nature is concerned. But there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind, and wins the fight, and makes me a slave to sin that is still within me… Oh, what a terrible predicament I am in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature?” (Living Gospel version Romans7:15-24 ).

Response to St Paul’s Words.: 

Response to St Paul’s Words. There are at least two conversions in the spiritual life ... Conscious and Unconscious. If we do not address the second … we are forever torn by the description of Paul and fall so far short of our deeper aspirations. We might change the clothes but it is merely cosmetic … Contemplative prayer addresses this latter conversion in special way.

Goals: 

Goals I wish to share with you a deeper analysis of the human longing-incompleteness – leading to a development of the false self. Overview of a way beyond the false self - which includes Contemplative Prayer Say a few points about the Centering prayer process/method.

The Human Developmental Story: 

The Human Developmental Story No animal is more helpless at birth than us humans! Instinctive needs are present! However we can only process them at the emotional level .. the rational function is not yet operating.

Our Story of Growth.: 

Our Story of Growth. Once born we experience three major Instinctive Needs: Security/survival Esteem/affection; Power/control;

Jesus Temptations in the Desert: 

Jesus Temptations in the Desert Addresses these needs at the deeper level - call to change the motivation not just the behaviour. Jesus has been named the ‘beloved' in his baptism – the conscious level … The 3 temptations call for him to be sure of this at these three levels and test his emotional programs with the conscious conversion.

Our Emotional Programs for Happiness.: 

Our Emotional Programs for Happiness. We develop programs for happiness based on the fulfillment of these needs.

Two Important Aspects of the early development of these Emotional Programs for Happiness:: 

Two Important Aspects of the early development of these Emotional Programs for Happiness: They are constructed purely at an emotional level … reason is not present at this time. They are constructed with a felt absence of God – (Original sin is coming to full reflective self consciousness without the certitude of personal union with God.)

Consequences of these Programs: 

Consequences of these Programs Later when reason develops – rather than be used to critique these programs, they appear given – and so reason is used to rationalize them! Since we lack an awareness of God we make substitutes!! This is the basis of our false self.

False Self.: 

False Self. The emotional programs for Happiness we have constructed outside of God and their residual effects in our lives! Typically the accumulation of possessions, experiences, and our ways of protecting a vulnerable self image. (Immature)

Centering Prayer: 

Centering Prayer The practice of centering prayer gives a vacation from the false self. Image of the river and boats … Image of the secret room in the office … The call to transforming union to allow God to change our motivation from self-centeredness to divine love.

False Self.: 

False Self. God the divine therapist – will work with us to heal this dimension of our lives so we might live out of our true self!! How do we identify the ‘false self programs’ present in our unconscious?

Our emotions are our best allies: 

Our emotions are our best allies They will help us confront our unconscious motivations and our false self. The emotions faithfully respond to what our unconscious value system is – not just the part of us we would like it to be, or what we think it is. Our emotions are the key to finding out what our emotional programs for happiness really are. Story of the Monkeys!

The pattern: 

The pattern When an emotional program is frustrated, we experience a spontaneous feeling reaction. The challenge is to identify the principal emotions or combinations of emotions that announce the false-self values in our unconscious.

Examples: 

Examples Fear Apathy – Anger can come from recurrent frustration of autonomy … Lust is the overweening desire for satisfaction, whether physical, mental or spiritual, in order to compensate for esteem and affection needs not being met. The emotional programs grow into centres of motivation around which our thoughts, feelings , and behaviour circulate like planets around the sun.

Positive Response to our False Selves.: 

Positive Response to our False Selves. If we can keep our desires and aversions ‘dry’ by not watering them with commentaries or acting them out, they can wither like weeds in the desert. We also have to replace them with a life giving way of nurturing and responding to those needs – the real God! It is a two fold journey.

Process of Responding to the False Self.: 

Process of Responding to the False Self. In summary: Identify the emotion: Identify the event that triggered the emotion: Identify the emotional program that has been frustrated: (often more than one) Then say; “I give up my desire to control … I give up my desire for approval and affection.. I let of go my desire for security …” It will not happen all at once. It is important to let go for the emotion before it sets off our customary set of commentaries. Once our commentaries are activated, they reinforce the afflictive emotions, and once the emotional pot starts boiling, we may have a long wait for it to simmer down!

Dealing with the False Self: 

Dealing with the False Self Not just an intellectual ‘Self Help’ exercise. Needs the relational power of love (grace) that comes from Union with God.

Contemplative Journey: 

Contemplative Journey Offers us a means to develop that relationship with God beyond connection and friendship to intimacy! Offers God a chance to work within us as the Divine Therapist to help transform and Heal our False self, so we live from our True-Best Self.

In Summary.: 

In Summary. I think the Carinal Bernadin sums up well the process, the practice and the fruits of the Contemplative Journey. About seven year ago (written in 1983), I came to understand that the pace of my life and the direction of my activity were unfocused, un-centered in a significant way. This created certain unrest. I came to realize that I needed to make some changes in my life, and chief among these was a renewal of personal prayer. Mention of prayer may evoke an image of ‘saying’ prayers, of reciting formulas. I mean something quite different. When we speak of the renewal of prayer in our lives, we are speaking of reconnecting ourselves with the larger mystery of life and of our common existence. This implies becoming disciplined in the use of our time, in the use of Centering Prayer, and in the development of a contemplative stance toward life. When this happens, we begin to experience healing, integration, wholeness, and peacefulness. We begin to share more clearly the echoes of the Word in our own lives, in our own hearts. And as that Word takes root in the depths of our being, it begins to grow and to transform the way we live. It affects our relationships with people around us and above all our relationship with the Lord. From this rootedness flow our energies, our ministry, our ways of loving. From this core we can proclaim the Lord Jesus and his Gospel not only with faith and conviction but also with love and compassion. (Cardinal Bernardin)

Some Books of Interest.: 

Some Books of Interest.

Activity: - An Image of Contemplative Prayer.: 

Activity: - An Image of Contemplative Prayer. Done in silence. One Person has Eyes closed. The other person leads this person safely around the room and not touching any other person or thing. Move them forward – backwards – sideward. Method 1 – child .. Method 2 – adult ..

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