Eric's Sunday Sermon; Contemplation
Even the ancients took the time for art.
A contemplative life.
Take the time. What an interesting set of words. Do we take the time to let our spiritual side grow and flourish? Are we too busy to sit down and meditate, read and listen and yes, pray? Are we too busy to start our day off right and end our day in contemplation and review?
Yes I am afraid that we are too busy. This should sadden us and make us change our ways. But it does not in just too many of us. (yes I have used the word “too” too often here but it is to make the point) We are not confessing that it is all encompassing and a never concept, we are stressing that there is too much of one thing and too little of the other.
I have met the mellowest of people that are salt of the earth and seemingly have their days all in order. They live calm and peaceful lives taking care of a natural and healthy way of life. They eschew the trappings of the high speed world that many of us are caught up in. And yet they still do not have the time, or make the time more accurately, to imbibe in that which is necessary for a full life including some spirituality.
And yet to be fair I have met the most hard pressing and “successful” people who make the time to include daily reflection and meditation in their lives, indeed I would suggest it is why they are successful.
Let us be clear here these daily exercises are not reserved for those with a firm faith, they are available also for those with no faith and everything in between. They are not reserved for one faith and most assuredly not reserved for the “religious” among us.
Let us look at simple concepts involved.
Sound of silence.
Meditate on the good things
Reading may sound a bit strange to include here but it is not. I am not talking about reading the newspaper or a suspense novel. I am speaking of reading some type of spiritual text. A daily reflection, the Bible, mantras or even words that you yourself have written for this purpose. For many this is simply called “being in the word”, for them it is simple to read their Holy text and gather some insights and truths therein. Ok, perhaps not always easy but easy to determine what to do. For others perhaps they must search for that which they are going to read and start each day with, but it can be done.
I knew an atheist who would read quotes from Shakespeare and it worked quite well for him to get centered and concentrate for meditation. We can all get something out of “to be or not to be” We will see later that this man also prayed. The point being is that simple reading of some well written spiritual or contemplative words can be very helpful. I knew a philosopher who loved to read Descartes, how can we start off wrong with cogito ergo sum (I think therefor I am). Again, for me it is easy, I read the Bible.
This is one of those concepts that is made so confusing to so many. Meditation can take all kinds of forms but for our purpose it is quite simple. It is simply the focused concentration on something of goodness to the exclusion of the mish mash of the world, even our own pains and tribulations. It is a place and space where we can go to clear our minds of the day to day and relax into a loving environment. Most will take their reading and focus on that. Others will go to a place in their minds where they are set free from the worries of the day. It is a relaxation to a point where we can be receptive to the goodness of life and our own spirituality. It sets us up to pray.
How about you?
Can you sit still long enough?
Take the time to see the beauty
Oh my, prayer for the non-believer would seem so hard and yet so easy for the believer. Hogwash. It is easy for all. Prayer is a supplication and the giving of reverence to a power and force bigger than ourselves. Again this is in fact easy for a believer. But it need not be hard for the questioner. Let me give an example for some contemplation. The atheist in fact believes in the world around them and can easily see just how insignificant one human may be in that huge reality of earth. They can do nothing about gravity and the world turning and of weather or oceans deep. So how do they pray? They pray that these things remain a constant. And they can ask that other’s suffering may be lessened and that good things will happen. Who and what do they ask for these things. Who cares! That is for them and their conscience. This is only an example for the variances are as many as there are people.
For me it is easy as I have a God to pray to and to give thanks to for all that is. So the point here is simply to do it. How you do it is up to you. Why you do it is up to you. To whom you do it is up to you. But it will greatly ease your life and bring a joy and peace upon you.
Let me just remind us Christians of something. We have the same God, we share God. But never forget that that God is different in the mind of every Christian. Our own thoughts are not in conformity with every other Christian. Exactly how I view God is different than how you view God, yet it is the same God. So for each of us, even if we use the same words to pray, their meaning to us is slightly different than our fellow neighbor.
Just an old favorite that reminds us to listen.
This one is too often forgotten. And that is a sad fact. Many people think that listening is reserved for those who hear voices. Well maybe there are those folks and more power to them. But for the most of us it is merely stopping the mind from noticing with our other senses and listening to the world around us. We just do not sit quiet very often and listen to the sounds of the world. In our day to day we ignore or even consider noises as distraction. Where I listen there is a clock that ticks away that I do not here through the day. There are birds singing and the occasional music in the background. I hear all these things for maybe the only time during the day.
But yes there is a more and deeper “hearing” that goes on. For many it is an insight that is revealed and for others a direction from their God. We just cannot hear these things when our lives are frenetically filled during a day. Silence is another “sound” that we fail to notice or indeed are deprived of during our day and there is nothing so calming as a true silence.
I hope that this is like a discussion to open ourselves to possibilities and good things. This sermon is in no way meant to be direction or instruction. Perhaps it will open some gates to internal dialogue and bring us to a point where we develop our own quiet time and reflection. That is the intent here. I would presume for many of us, it is just a gentle reminder and perhaps a nudge to rekindle our spiritual side.
Heavenly Father help us this day to stop and take the time to truly notice the good things in life. Lead us away from the vice of the world and into a place of quiet contemplation of the glories of this world.
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