The aim of the contemplative journey is to connect contemplative practice and experience to everyday life – contemplation in action – because only in everyday work of love and compassion one sees the actual fruits of practice and hones spiritual experiences and achievements.
In order to succeed, daily contemplative practice is needed. Experience recommends, for the kind of life we live every day, to introduce a contemplative exercise lasting for 20 to 40 minutes twice a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening before bedtime (or at any other time that suits us).
9-Step Contemplative Awareness Practice (Willigis Jäger):
- Sit still, in an upright position and relax.
- Let your breath be relaxed and natural – let the diaphragm and the belly move unhindered.
- 3. Close your eyes, or leave them half open without fixing them on any particular object. Choose the object of consciousness that will serve as a focus for your attention: body (sitting position), breathing (attention to inhaling and/or exhaling), or a word (for example, Abba, Shalom, Yeshua) that you speak or sing interiorly. They are the focus you can go back to over again if your attention wanders.
- Immerse your whole being in that sitting, in that breath, in that word. Fill it with surrender, love and trust; thus you leave everything else behind.
- 5. Do not worry about whether you are doing the exercise properly. Accept yourself as you are at that moment. Accept all emotions, either pleasant or uncomfortable, the way they are, and do not identify with them, but let them go as they come.
- Become one with the body, the breathing, with the word.
- Stay in a contemplative exercise between 20 and 40 minutes, preferably motionless.
- Pray once or twice a day.
- 9. Practice in your free time, while working, when you cannot sleep, in illness or in weakness.
Practice of Contemplative Emptying of the Mind (Thomas Keating):
We surrender to the attractiveness of inner silence, peace and tranquillity, we enter into pure awareness. We are not trying to feel or think about anything. Without effort, without trying, we are in this Presence, letting go everything else. We allow love to take over: simple longing to be one with the Presence, to forget ourselves and to rest in the Ultimate Mystery.
It is also recommended to join a contemplative group because the energy potential is considerably bigger with the possibility of exchanging opinions and experiences. This also implies the selection of a spiritual teacher who can help us with advice and support on the spiritual path (especially in times of crisis), and occasional intense practice periods, contemplative retreats.
Continuous practice of contemplation can also become our way of life, which will change our everyday life by continually discovering the deeper layers of our consciousness. This experience of comprehensive unity leads to responsible and compassionate action in the world. Contemplation changes a person and leads to responsible action in everyday life. In contemplative courses, we introduce people to contemplation and follow them on their spiritual path.