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From Fantasy to Fulfillment.

*Note: This reflection is based of Ronald Rolheiser’s book, “Forgotten Among the Lilies: Learning to Love Beyond our Fears.” I reflect on chapter five, the subsection it titled as my blog post is.*

How many of you daydream?  I bet not a single person said no.  Why?  In our dream we can be whoever we want to be, do whatever we want to do; everything we could possibly wish for is true in our dreams.  Why?  We are able to escape the life here that has tears, limits, and failures.

In fantasy we achieve salvation, consummation and vindication.

Many people don’t even admit that they escape to daydreams anymore.  The thing is, a certain amount of daydreaming is actually healthy and natural.  It is a way of relaxing.  For me, I like to imagine all the possibilities for me life, and all the good they have for me.

There is little difference between a tired person inserting a musical cassette tape into a stereo and sitting back to forget life’s problems and another tired soul inserting her favorite daydream into her imagination and sitting back to relax.

Interesting, huh?  Listening to music or getting lost in a daydream, either of them as good as the other in order to relax.  Both of them provide an escape from the intensity of life.

A healthy fantasy life can positively help spawn creativity because our daydreams put us in touch with the goodness and potential that is inside us.

Daydreams are good things.  In them we are never small people, but those who do great things.  We become special people who really live in God’s presence and live up to our life’s potential.  Even with all that, daydreams can also be bad.

If we daydream too much we become unhealthily self-preoccupied. 

Too much fantasy dulls full attentiveness to the present, to others, to prayer and to God.  Too much daydreaming leaves us distracted and dissipated with too much of our perception and thought centered upon our own agendas and our own obsessions.

We can become so preoccupied by what is around us if we stay too much in our daydreams.  I know I have been caught so many times in doing that.  It has become at times, something that has distracted me from God and His will for me.  There needs to be a balance.

To the extent that our daydreams our healthy , we may enjoy them.  However, more and more, as we mature in life and prayer, we must actively work at turning away from fantasy towards prayer.

Towards prayer.  While prayer has always been in my life in some way or another, this is something that really has been in my heart these past two years out of school.  I would always dream of what was to come for my life, but now I am in that future.  Prayer is so vital, asking God what He wants of me and listening to His response.  Here is a little about prayer and contemplation.

Prayer is more than just saying prayers.  Radical prayer is contemplation, and contemplation itself should not be understood simply as good feelings we have when we gaze at something which moves us.

We contemplate every time we see something as it really is, nakedly, face to face.

When we genuinely perceive, when we see, hear, smell, touch or taste anything that is other than ourselves and do no manipulate it, we are contemplating, we are praying.  (This of course does not preclude other methods of praying.)

Contemplation is awareness without manipulation.  Such awareness, as great spiritual writers have always assured us, is prayer.

Amazing, isn’t it?  I wanted to leave you with just this last chunk, but I felt the pre-stuff was important to backing it up.  A lot of people in the world know praying as the saying the rope prayers that are commonly said.  Really, prayer is so much more than that, as we have just read. 

Are you aware of how many times you manipulate the senses and what is around you?  I find that people like to deny that they do anything of that, but most of the time people are not even aware that they are doing it. 

Do we take the time to see (or any other sense/feeling for that matter) something as it really is?  The challenge I am presenting myself with once again is living in that simplicity of seeing things so that it becomes prayer. 

There are many things that my heart contemplates with this section of the book I am reading, but I am unable to express it all to you.  Take to heart especially that last part quoted on prayer and contemplation.  See what is means for you in your life.  With that, I leave you with one more line on your way out.

It is enjoyable to daydream but it is ultimately more enriching to pray.

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Inner Reflection

 

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Briefly Standing on the Shore of Contemplation

Standing in the dark on the beach, wind piercing through my layers, sound of the waves against the shore, the few minutes let out much emotion.  I found that the warm tears fall from my eyes, heating my face from the cold wind, where but a small representation of the world that lives inside.  They fell for the good, they fell for the bad, they fell for the sake of needing to fall.  For whatever reason that they fell, they felt good to fall.

Being in the piercing wind brought me close to God.  It struck to to core of my being and it ran through my bones.  Such as it is when one lets God into their being and lets Him guide one through ones life.  Maybe I am not a hundred percent there, but in me that wind caused such a shutter that emotions ran out.  At that moment of deep piercing I longed to just be filled with the courage to take head on without worry the plans set forth to me.  Where that complete courage may not be here, the prayer came out of me wishing for it.  Staring into the ocean so many things were there.

It seemed that the water running as far up the shore as possible represented life for me, in the brief moment there.  Life in man different ways of thought shot through me.  One could jump right in all bundled up and go until there is no more left and disappear.  One could go far enough, feel the bitterness, then back away.  One could hear the life it can bring if looked at right, taking the experience of a couple minutes with them.  The path life could go, my life could go, gave many paths to think about.  How easy it could be to disappear at that moment, yet how much easier it was to wipe the tears and walk back into the life I am living.  Sure, frustrations pose there moments in life, but if life were smooth, where would be the adventure.  God wants us to lean on Him.

My thoughts adrift they did go to religious life.  Freaking out is part of the game.  As the water crashed to the shore I thought of all that could go right or wrong.  Who am I to be called to live the life of a sister?  Where does all that I had hoped for and love in my life that can no longer be go to be released?  While there it is so fitting, while away it falls apart, and there on the beach so many things happened in that piercing wind.  Only God knows the deep depths of my heart, if only I could allow myself to go there, through the pain and sorrow, through the things I wish of my life, to what He wants of me.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Creative Corner

 

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