Thursday, December 3, 2009


This week’s blog will focus on some of my favorite exercises from the second section of my book “The Songbird In My Heart.” These exercises are called “Acts of Contemplation, Freedom for a Glad Heart” and are designed to put you in touch with your deeper self. Each day a corresponding prayer from the book will also be posted to Facebook.

The inspiration for these exercises came from two unlikely sources. The first are the beautiful books from Thomas Merton and his editors A Book of Hours, Seeds of Contemplation, and New Seeds of Contemplation. The second is the red Fieldbook by Peter Senge to his best selling business book The Fifth Discipline. While this part of the book bears little resemblance to these great books, they did serve as inspiration.

Please take some time and try them out! If you like, let me know how it goes. Best of luck. Mark

Acts of Contemplation, Freedom for a Glad Heart

Monday – Walking In Quiet Stillness
Tuesday – The Blue Skies Shine
Wednesday – Naturetime
Today – Mindtime
Friday - The Universe in Time


Opening Thoughts
We have lived most of our lives in the racing, random thoughts of our egoic mind. How do we find the deep peacefulness of the original mind of our birth? Well, with practice of course!

Acts of Contemplation
Act 1- Poetry Exercise – first attempt - Sit down with a pen and empty sheet of paper. Breathe slowly as you clear your mind of its racing thoughts. Focus in on the next thought that comes into your mind. Patiently sit there, focus and wait for the next thought. You will find that no thoughts will come.

You will be witnessing the interplay between your original mind and egoic mind. You have given control over to your original mind, and the illusory, egoic mind is now sitting on the sidelines

After a while, write down what your original mind has to say. Feel the emotions arise out of the emptiness, then translate into words. If you are successful, it is your original mind driving the thoughts, your egoic mind translating into words.

Act 2 – Poetry Exercise – second attempt - Repeat Act 1, but this time, before you begin, identify a subject for the poetry. Write down the topic on the blank sheet of paper. As you proceed, focus your efforts on this specific subject. Do not force the subject, translate and write down whatever arises from the emptiness.

Act 3 – Poetry Exercise – Additional attempts - Keep a blank pad and pen handy. You may feel a need to translate and write down further poetry. Act quickly as these moments may pass, and you probably will not remember the words for long.

Act 4 – Poetry Exercise – Review and Reflection - Collect the body of work over time, reread and reflect on what you have written. Consider sharing it with loved ones. Consider new topics for further poetry. Consider organizing it for your own further review.

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