My entire life I have been a contemplative. I just never had a word for it until Sr. Marie Schwann, one of the instructors in my ministry training, introduced us to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and other forms of Christian Contemplative Prayer. The purest gift of Sr. Marie’s guidance was her universal approach. Contemplation was not just for Catholics. In fact, contemplation and meditation are formal practices present within every spiritual tradition and religious belief or practice have absolutely nothing to do with one’s ability to be contemplative. For many, contemplation is simply the language of their Soul.
I speak of contemplation as a language as it is through stillness and deep observation that I communicate with the world around me. It is through stillness and observation that I hear the deepest whisperings of my Soul. It is through contemplation that I have received guidance and answers to the questions of my heart. Contemplation is the first step of discernment. The deep observation (hearing and seeing) of contemplation allows me to test the actions and behaviors of myself and others to determine if we/they are on the path of our highest good – or not. Contemplation has provided shelter in the midst of the storms of life along with the healing and comfort needed when life seems to have gone awry. In contemplation, I have found a direct line to Truth (what some might call God) and it is the compass which faithfully guides me home to my truest and most authentic self.
I remember as a little girl attending mass with my family. It was here that I have my first memories of contemplation. I cared nothing for the mass – its rituals, the words being said, the sermon being spoke. Instead, all I cared about was tuning all that out so I could “be with God.” Mass was the time I was given full permission to turn inward in prayer and commune in peace with that which I was taught to call “God.” It was here I was the most happy and it was here I discovered the true language of my Soul – a language that has absolutely nothing to do with theology, religion or belief. Contemplative is simply who I am and who I am called to be.
What is the language of your Soul?