contemplative monk : Intentional Spirituality Transforms

Intro to Solitude and Stillness

“Our restoration begins as we move into our rest in Christ finished work, and live out of our wholeness in Him.”
~Bob Holmes

Do you have a sacred place?

I have a place in the mountains where we go, where I can sit for hours on end, and it never gets old. It feels like I’m walking and breathing in the winds of eternity as they rustle through the trees, alive and quickening my whole being. It’s an electric and invigorating field of wonder, under a huge white pine, beside a singing river filled with trout. On a spring evening, the ancient hemlock trees are filled with fireflies, as we bask around a crackling fire. It’s magical.

Solitude is not about being lonely. You can be lonely in a crowd. Solitude is about getting by yourself with no distractions. It’s being unplugged with no cell phone, agenda’s, or screens.

Your Secret Retreat

Jesus said, “when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Is Jesus talking about a literal ‘inner room’? No. This is spiritual language. Jesus is directing us to enter our inner being and shut the door on the world. There in the stillness, we begin to pray.

Prayer begins with words, but to denote the deeper meaning of the word prayer, communion with God, spirit to spirit, the Desert Father’s and Mother’s developed the word contemplation to denote prayer’s deeper meaning.

How To Begin

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

It’s not about the words. It’s about your presence.

 

After this manner pray. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

This beginning helps us to collect ourselves and to remove the one block to entering God’s presence, unforgiveness. As we forgive, we can fully move into deep prayer, communion and contemplation with the Father.

I submit to you that this is the opening of our prayer time, not the busy reading of Scripture, or devotionals, not the flurry of words, but of a heart poised toward God in the stillness of eternity as a holy hush sweeps over you.

This is contemplative prayer this is why we set the stage in solitude and stillness.

Picture: Scotland’s Heritage Parks


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On Information, Formation, and Transformation

“Our analytical mind keeps us safely earthbound within the counsels of our soul, while our intuitive heart calls us out into the realms of our spirit to soar.”
~Bob Holmes

Many of us are worn out and weary of the constant intellectual approach to the Christian life with its limited scope and restrictive application. So many Believers in our digital age move from church to church, searching for ‘the secret sauce,’ or they’ve abandoned the church altogether becoming the vastly growing number of spiritually homeless,  ie ‘spiritual but not religious.’

It’s past time for a heart-centered wholistic approach to ordering our lives for transformation.

 

To set ourselves up for transformation, our heart and not our head must lead the way in our approach to information, and formation.

Being informed of grace and truth, and being formed by our rituals and practices may prepare us for transformation, but they have become our goal for far too long. They prepare the threshold but we must enter in. This is the mystical imperative.

The Mystical Imperative

I submit to you that our heart intuitively knows the Way and not our fundamentalism in any of its forms. It is a delusion, a mirage that kills our heart and enslaves our will, giving the outer appearance as Jesus spoke, “You white-washed tombs.”

Theology and form assure us of nothing unless our heart leads the way.

Our heart’s song ascends into our spirit and crosses the threshold into the arms of God, as a lover. For it is love alone that conquerors suffering, death, and the grave…Love manifest in Jesus Christ our Lord who’s own we are in Christ.

Everything resolves and integrates through our heart.

Our heart is the fulcrum point of lives.

Is your heart setting you up for transformation?

 

Recommended Resource: Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton

Recommended Podcast: Strengthening The Soul of Your Leadership

 


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On Putting Your Mind into Your Heart

 

 

I recently was asked, “How does one put their mind into their heart?”

The image above is a stylized image of the sacred heart of Jesus which I believe is at the core of what this question asks.

In spiritual matters, I’m discovering that answers are more like the unfolding of a flower rather than an analytical point to point journey. It’s more than Sergeant Friday famously said, “Just the facts ma’am.” This is because our analytical, binary mind understands things linearly from point A to point B while our intuitive heart, however, sees the process. It’s the old adage,  are you looking at the forest or at a tree analogy.

So, we put our mind into our heart and seek God. We put our binary, dualistic mind into our intuitive heart and let our heart lead. We cultivate our heart and let it guide us.

This is what Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord, my strength and my redeemer is talking about.

God has put a new heart and a new spirit within you in Christ, and this can’t be analytically apprehended. It must be experienced.

I hope this helps.


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Easter and The Voice in Our Head

I’ve always heard it said, ‘The way you speak to your children is the voice they’ll hear in their heads when they grow up.’

I can see it in me and our own children, and knowing this makes me pause, because I could have done a whole lot better.

But I can also see it in people following God, and I can hear the echo of their parent’s voices ringing in their ears. Can you hear it?

You can change that voice.

We die to that old worn out recording, to breathe in the song of the morning anew every single day.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his tender mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

Easter is a wonderful time for new beginnings.

For the first time in human history, Jesus became our way out.

…How do we know the way? Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

It is in Christ and Christ alone is our life in God.

His love broke death and the grave in two. Jesus innocent murder on the cross ripped the temple curtain from top to bottom. His perfect, sinless blood, poured out became for us our very life, as our life is in the blood.

The stone covering the grave of our old life is rolling away. Can you hear it?

How God transforms us as we receive Jesus into our lives is the greatest mystery of all time and eternity. The weakness of God, the foolishness of the cross confounds the wise, disarms the strong, and explodes our linear logic.

That we enter in and partake of this moment ‘in remembrance’…we are there with Jesus at his last seder supper, every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

This mystery comes into play at the core of our being, ignited by our faith in God. To ‘remember’ is to suspend time and walk into the eternal moment where heaven meets earth and time slips into eternity.

But for us, the greatest part ois that we get to start all over again, brand new, in Jesus our Lord. Through the transforming gate of forgiveness, we begin again. It starts as a spark within us that grows in the garden of our hearts. That eternal, immortal, invisible, immutable, and indivisible life of Jesus Christ. It is Christ in us and us in Christ, and Christ within us as his body. The greatest mystery of time and eternity is met within us and we have barely begun to fathom its life, meaning, and scope.

It starts as a spark within us that grows in the garden of our hearts. That eternal, immortal, invisible, immutable, and indivisible life of Jesus Christ. It is Christ in us and us in Christ, and Christ within us as his body. The greatest mystery of time and eternity is met within us and we have barely begun to fathom its life, meaning, and scope.

It is Christ in us and us in Christ, and Christ within us as his body. The greatest mystery of time and eternity is met within us and we have barely begun to fathom its life, meaning, and scope.

That God’s love came down through Jesus for the whole world. Now our way out of this endless suffering and death is to abide, much like grapes on a grapevine we grow.

Every moment we choose to abide, we taste the eternal life as it flows through our spirit, and grows in our hearts.

Forgiveness is our access through Jesus our Lord, our Master, Teacher, Companion, Friend, our Brother, and Christ…who makes a way where there is no way, that we might walk in it…the way of the spirit in our hearts.

A new way to hear, and to see, and to live in awe and wonder.

Can you hear it?


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A Lenten Pilgrimage: Uttering The Unutterable

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. The very words I speak to you are spirit and they are life.

Oftentimes I fall over my words as I feel like a child learning to talk again.

We struggle in our faltering attempts to say what cannot be said. Our words fail us in the presence of God, as we fall to our knees in worship.

Three Floors of Consciousness

Picture if you would, your brain like a house with three stories.

On which level would you live?

We move from our first-floor survival brain into the intuitive logic and language of our second-floor brain. But as we move into our third-floor brain, our words fail us. It might feel as though the floor might evaporate into the vastness of eternity. Presence, Being, light and life flowing, dwelling center to center, wholeness, love, joy, and peace are the language of our spirit.

For Jesus says: “the words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.”  ~ Selah

What floor are you living on? What floor are you thinking from?

 

~*~*~*~


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