In contemplative living we go about ordinary life with a consciousness of God's presence in everything and everyone.
*J. David Muyskens. Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer. Upper Room Books,2006.
We Christians can learn from the great mystical traditions of other high religions: Sufism in Islam, Vedanta in Hinduism, Kabbalah in Judaism, Vipassana in Buddhism ... to mention only a selection.
One advantage of such learning is to see how the Christ Wisdom, the Word, or Logos, has revealed Truth in ways other than what we were given.
I have learned much about my own Christian faith and spiritual practice of contemplation by studying these other paths for years. My relationship with Christ has only been helped, not hurt.
A great gift to Christian contemplation offered from these other traditions is focus on consciousness. For example, in mystical Hinduism the Divine Triunity in the one God is signified by the divine name Satchidananda. Sat is Be-ing. Chit (Chid) is Consciousness. Ananda is spiritual joy, or bliss. God is, then, Eternal Being Conscious Of Bliss, or Eternal Being With A Blissful Consciousness, or One Who Is Fulness Of Being-Consciousness-Bliss.
In the Trinity of our Christian faith, the correspondence is Father, Sat, Eternal and Creating Source, Transcendent One; Chit, the Son, expression of universal and pervasive consciousness, or mind, word, or intent, of Sat, the Father; Holy Spirit, the bliss inspired within the created order, God who shares the very nature of bliss through transformation into the consciousness of Sat, the Source: as in, transformation of consciousness of the person into the mind of Christ, the Word-consciousness.
Christian contemplation is transformation of consciousness that results in bliss. We are connected with the Word, and through the Word, by the Spirit, to God, the Father, or Creating Potency Source. This blissfulness is spiritual in nature and not, then, the happiness of the personality. This spiritual joy is the very nature of the Divine, a bliss that has no cause in us other than the Triune God, Bliss Itself.
How do we know we are being transformed through silence of heart communion with our God? Through transformation of consciousness~which is by analogy a change in the inner eyes (consciousness signifies “seeing within”) by which we see all creation~we begin seeing, due to the reshaping of our inner heart, the Presence of the Divine Unity in all persons and creatures. This becomes for us the seeing of the sacrament of the Beautiful Presence. The rites of the Church, then, are pointing outward into the entire cosmos, as well as your face looking in the Mirror.
This is a difference between contemplative Christianity and other Christianity. Christianity, generally, claims God is everywhere but has no way of experiencing that truth immediately. Indeed, it is only a doctrine, for such persons do not truly heart-know God is everywhere. But the mystical, or contemplative, Christianity is the only experiential system within the Christian faith that offers an historically proven, even scientific-spiritual technology to transform the consciousness into seeing creation through the Seeing of God Godself.
Why does it take a contemplative methodology to transform, or divinize, human consciousness? Why are other Christian practices not sufficient for this inward transformation?
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