Letters to Jesus (Transcendence and Contemplation)-2
I love the word “transcendence.” I love what it describes and connotes. The word pops up frequently in my reading and it is both the descriptor and source of much about contemplative prayer. But I find that it is very personal. Because of what each of us brings to our relationship with You, transcendence does not exist per se but only in a context. The important thing for me to remember is that other people to whom I relate each day, consciously or not, has his/her own transcendental relationship with You and it is probably not the same as mine.
Transcendent moments, says theologian, Fr. Donald Cozzens, are like those “childhood moments of play” when all concepts of time and place are lost so rapt are we in the moment of play. This form of transcendence proves its reality occasionally in our adult life when we become “lost” in certain leisure time moments. These moments, Cozzens points out, are a grace and meant to transform.
In the midst of a transcendental state, there is no examination as to what is going on. There is only “is-ness” in the present moment. An analysis of transcendence can only be uttered from totally outside the transcendent state – like now, as I write about it. As individuals we tend to place the absolute highest value on such moments and we consider them very personal. But what I, as an individual, must realize is that such moments are accessible to all of us, though in unique ways to our own personalities. It is not a rare or uncommon experience. Its great value is not in that. Rather it is in the way it communicates uniquely with us. It is not the telephone but the message. And, very often, the message in the moment is from You.
So, the reason I am so fascinated with transcendence is because it is a word used to connote a state of being that can only be lived, not defined. Cozzens speaks cautiously of innate desires to reach transcendence manifested in the muddling effects of trying to reach such a state through alcohol and drug abuse.
Transcending the world and all its trappings, not just in prayer but in the marketplace of everyday life was what Your life showed us. I guess one might say transcendence is, for each of us, in our own unique ways, how we live beyond everything around us.