by Michael Ketterhagen
“There is Spiritual Unity because The Spirit is One.”
“There is a path that can establish the awareness of that Unity of Life—
the contemplative and meditative lifestyle.”
--Michael Ketterhagen, June 30, 2022 blog
What is “the contemplative and meditative lifestyle”? And what does that inner-oriented lifestyle mean in our present-day active world?
It means joining the wisdom of the East with the wisdom of the West. The Eastern wisdom focuses on the inside world and the Western wisdom focuses on the outside world. The Divine Being, the Source of our life is in both wisdom traditions. We as humans are the meeting point of those two worlds, those two centers of wisdom. We have the incredible ability to create, think, reflect and be in touch with that inner wisdom as well as the physical dexterity, strength and talent to make all kinds of things that adorn and fashion our external environment.
It is our human responsibility to join those two powerful wisdom centers.
Living in the Western world, as we do, it is often a challenge to move inward. So many events, attractions, sensations pull us outside of ourselves. In order to bring awareness of our inside world into our daily lives we need to spend time doing two very important practices—contemplation and meditation.
The contemplative life, especially in our Western United States culture, means connecting with our mind and our spirit by examining our intentions and hidden unconscious drivers of our actions. It means uniting with our soul to help us act in ways that bring unity to our physical and mental worlds. This means, during extended periods of solitude and quiet, asking ourselves questions about our intentions, motivations, actions and desires. It means examining our ideas about ordinary aspects of our life, like what we eat, why we work, what our relationship is with family and others, who is God to us, what we experience throughout the day, etc. These reflective moments are periods of contemplation that can truly help us secure peace in our lives. The contemplative life is doing what Socrates suggested: Living the examined life.
The meditative life is a little different. Meditation is the one-pointed focus of the mind and the mastery of “the roaming tendencies of the mind (YS 1:2).” In contemplation, the rational function of the mind is active. In meditation, those reflective, rational processes are stilled and one goes deep inside to connect with the life force (prana) within and the mind observes the flow of that pulsating life force within.
Both of these practices are necessary if we wish to experience peace and wholeness in our lives. They both are needed to experience true freedom.
Within the next few weeks, I will write about some areas of contemplation and apply meditative techniques to them so that we can truly have a freedom-filled life.
I pray to the Divinity in you!