Easter Contemplation

IMG_0664From Wendy Farley’s The Wounding and Healing of Desire: “Buddhists seek enlightenment, and Christians long for union with God. These supply us with images of a contemplative path that has discernable stages and ends up someplace, a journey that concludes when we find ourselves snug in a castle, the strains of the journey safely behind us. But Buddhists and Christians also describe stages within the enlightened or united condition, and they tend to postpone the perfect realization of these states to another life or another mode of existence in “heaven.” The idea of an ending or conclusion provides us with a more definite shape for our desire and criteria for our “advancement,” such as it is, along the path. The fruits of contemplation are said to include equanimity, deep peace, joy, undisturbed compassion, and love. In the confusions of life and the disorientation of contemplation, these markers can be helpful. If we find ourselves hating ourselves or others more than ever, this is a signal that perfect possession of enlightenment continues to elude us. But even if there is a consummation of the contemplative path, it is the path itself that we walk, step by step. As we walk we should not expect that the dawning of contemplative desire transforms us into peaceful, loving, joyous, calm people. In fact, the opposite experience is more likely to arise at various moments (or years or decades) of the path. It is crucial to remember that contemplation is a path because this allows us to attend to the place we are right now…Contemplation stills thoughts and emotions so that we can become more conscious of dimensions of mind beneath the grunge and distraction of everyday day life. Even sitting still for thirty seconds and focusing awareness on our breath can clear out an excess of anxiety, restoring a level of calm and confidence that seems disproportionate to the simplicity of what we have done. Various contemplative practices assist us in deepening this calm.”



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