I nurture the unfounded inclination that I am contemplative but, on reflection, I know I am far short. I esteem some form of lay-contemplation as a most desirable goal after which to seek. I think I do seek it, but on my own terms. There are many things I need to contemplate about living a contemplative life.
In the lay-life, surrounded by constant day-to-day distractions, it’s a chore to cultivate the primary fundamental tenet of contemplative life, which is keeping You present at all times. I believe the learning of this is the beginning of all contemplation. If, in fact, I am not at this point, then sitting silently in a small room daily for a few minutes, centering on Your presence, can hardly make me a contemplative. But, if I can apply what goes on in those private, more intense confrontations to the less intense public moments of everyday life – then I think I’ve at least made a start toward a contemplative life-style.
But there is more. If we are able to accomplish walking in Your presence, our desire to experience those more intense, more private confrontations will increase. We will want to read more about You, meditate and reflect more upon You, and look for You in others. In short, we will want to do the things more typically identified with a contemplative life-style – especially in the monastic sense. However, whatever our walk of life, it is all made possible by first mastering the technique of keeping You present to ourselves at every moment.
Because of who we are and what the world is, there is no escaping the fact that two things are the absolute catalysts here: solitude and silence! Yet here I am in the everyday midst of neither. I am not quite sure whether the best times are the ones in which I meet You in silent solitude or the ones where I meet You in the noise of the crowd.