Thursday, December 17, 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 – Wake-up Time
Tuesday – Airtime
Wednesday – Mealtime
Today – Moontime
Friday - A Moment in Time
Our Moon was birthed from a collision of a Mars-sized planet with Earth about 4 billion years ago. In this act it is the progeny of Earth. The Moon is our planets’ little sister.
The Moon is always facing us with the same geography. As it revolves around the Earth its rotation assures the same view to us. In this way it is apparently worshipping Earth.
As little children we are fascinated by the Moon and its possibilities. As we grow older we learn of its influence on the tidal nature of all the bodies of water on Earth. There are those that believe it also affects plants and animal moods and behaviors.
Acts of Contemplation
Act 1 – On several successive nights at the Full Moon (consult a calendar or Almanac) go outdoors and observe the Moon. Appreciate its size, luminosity, and symbolism. Take ten minutes or so each time. Empty the mind and put aside today’s issues. Wait for the next thought to come. Patiently wait for the next thought. And then, translate the thoughts that arise from the emptiness. Write them down.
Act 2 – Repeat Act 1 for the New Moon. The New Moon occurs when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun.
Act 3 – Repeat Act 1 for the Waxing and Waning Moons. The Waxing and Waning Moons are Quarter Moons; the Waxing Moon precedes the Full Moon with the outer curve to the right, the Waning Moon follows the Full Moon with the outer curve to the left.
Act 4 – Consult your almanac and determine the dates for the Apogee and Perigee. The Apogee is when the earth is furthest from the Moon and the Perigee when they are closest. The Moon will appear significantly larger during Perigee. These will be separated by six months. Reserve these dates and observe the Moon over several successive days. Take ten minutes or so each time. Empty the mind and put aside today’s issues. Wait for the next thought to come. Patiently wait for the next thought. And then, translate the thoughts that arise from the emptiness. Write them down.
Act 5 – Review your notes and consider making some part of these Acts a semiannual contemplative practice. Consider adding the stars and constellations to your repertoire.