Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MysticBliss: Watering Your Contemplative or Creative Spirit

After a busy holiday weekend and a bit too much running around and doing rather than our typical being, it made sense to me to open the most recent email newsletter from the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living and find this quote about the type of life we need to cultivate to be more contemplative.

I think if you read the spirit of this quote, you will find much for the creative soul. In a world of lives measured according to material "success," we must, indeed, cultivate bravery to live at all differently.

This will give us some idea of the proper preparation that the contemplative life requires. A life that is quiet, lived in the country, in touch with the rhythm of nature and the seasons. A life in which there is manual work, the exercise of arts and skills, not in a spirit of dilettantism, but with genuine reference to the needs of one's existence. The cultivation of the land, the care of farm animals, gardening. A broad and serious literary culture, music, art, again not in the spirit of Time and Life ... but a genuine and creative appreciation of the way poems, pictures, etc., are made. A life in which there is such a thing as serious conversation, and little or no TV. These things are mentioned not with the insistence that only life in the country can prepare a [person] for contemplation, but to show the type of exercise that is needed.

Thomas Merton. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation.

As we officially enter this Summer season -- and as you stare at your ever-filling calendar and wonder at the "how" of it all -- perhaps we could take a moment to sit and write what Merton's quote means to us.

Remember, he says that this is not the only way. He wants us to dig deeper until we hit the well of fresh water that is necessary to us as individuals in the pursuits that we claim are most important to us.

Is the Summer already causing an emotional, spiritual, or creative drought in your garden?

(Photo Credit: Christine Reed, White Azalea, 2009)


Emma said...

I think I am having one of those BlissChick Moments! =D This is so in tune with a lot that I've been thinking and feeling lately.

"A life in which there is such a thing as serious conversation"

I am *yearning* for this. Actually, I have it with my partner. We talk and talk and talk, but I am yearning for more REAL conversations with others, as well.

The quote relates to so much for me, even including that fact that we are now seriously considering moving somewhere very rural.

The summer is very good for me, because we do not get really busy in the summer. Instead, we spend much of our time sitting outside reading, talking, writing, knitting, and sipping beverages. (Actually, that's what we do in the winter, too, but inside.)

The summer is good for my dreams, too, because I tend to feel more free in the warmer months. I can wear sandals (which is very good for me psychologically for some reason) and I just feel more in tune with my hippie heart. :)

Anyway, thank you for the quote. I'll be thinking about it today!

lynette said...

Thank you for this post today.

Grace said...

This is something I'm trying to embody in my life within a level that suits me and my present situation. I'm going to check out the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living now.

lucy said...

"we must, indeed, cultivate bravery to live at all differently". this line really jumped out at me as i recall a friend who visited this weekend commented more than once about my "bravery" and i believe she was speaking to the ways in which i do live "differently".

oh, it is exhausting at times...making the time for contemplation and retreat. i am struggling now with how to get away from myself and rest. does that make any sense?

the "birthing" you spoke of at my site...yes, i feel it AND it feels like a very long labor!

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

a life that is quiet and in tune with the rhythm of nature ... yes!

I do love Thomas Merton's writing.

mommymystic said...

This post actually ended up being great confirmation for me today, I love when that happens...I had decided not to teach this summer, not to sign the kids up for lots of activities, and not to take on any new writing assignments...and then I started wondering 'will I be bored?'...but no, I think I - we in this case - will flow with these natural rhythms this summer, and I am so looking forward to it.
P.S. the icons in the last post were amazing, what a gem.