Introductory lectures and introduction to the practice of contemplative sitting
Through a three-day introductory course, the practitioner learns about the basics of contemplative theory and practice.
For whom is contemplation intended?
To anyone who is seriously wondering: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? How to achieve genuine peace, fulfilment and freedom?
Contemplation goes beyond all boundaries: accepts everything and everyone, regardless of age, gender, beliefs and affiliations – openness is its main principle. Like a tree rooted all the way to the centre of the Earth, contemplation is rooted in the mystical life of the Divine Omnipresence from which it draws its inspiration beyond time and space, in eternal here-and-now. Like a sturdy trunk, it allows for a continuous flow of life that helps our resolution to live our practice of loving attention and peace on the path of purity of heart and the poverty (emptiness) of the mind. It help us to reach, through its branched crown, heavenly expanse of the perfect freedom of continual change of form of existence in accordance with the Divine Wind, Sun, and Breath. And then to fulfil ourselves in the fruits of respect, peace, gratitude and compassion towards all living beings, especially in the brotherhood/sisterhood with all the seekers of God in other spiritual traditions of the world.
The practical part of contemplation involves learning about proper sitting, breathing and relaxing, and focusing attention on one focal point such as body position, breath, or prayer word. Relaxation and release (relaxation-in-release and release-in-relaxation) are basis for the practice. They permeate each of its individual moments in which we are drawn from an unstoppable stream of consciousness, filled with innumerable contents – emotions, thoughts, images and perceptions – until we separate sufficiently from it so that we can enter into a truly contemplative state, in the experience of silence and inner peace. We enter this state by allowing things to be as they are. Then, we let go all the training of focusing attention and let go ourselves to the simple attention of the present moment, the sacrament of the present moment (as a French mystic and spiritual teacher from the 18th century Jean-Pierre de Caussade had said), observing the silence, or – the silence behind the silence. This state of perfect clarity and attentive presence is the foundation of an advanced practice that can begin after a long time of persistent exercise.
In three days (typically four sessions lasting from 1.5 to 2.5h: Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning), along with practical exercises, the practitioner also learns the theoretical basics of contemplation practice. That includes: explanation of its fundamental elements in the context of Christian and trans-confessional spirituality (sophie perennis); the framing of a complete spiritual journey, including the explanation of the physical, psychological and spiritual difficulties and obstacles that can be encountered on the journey; an overview of the history of Christian contemplative tradition and the importance of its renewal in our times, as well as connecting contemplation with our daily life.