A Little at a Time, One Step at a Time
You can take baby steps or little snack bites of spiritual refreshment frequently throughout your day by practicing the presence of God. (We recommend a book by Joel Goldsmith titled Practicing the Presence shown at the left. It is a good study resource especially for beginners.) Our “Food for the Soul” page provides more information on this particular contemplative practice form. These brief but frequent periods of “recollection” made throughout the day can be as beneficial as 15- or 20-minute formal meditation sittings twice or thrice a day would be.
After some time, depending on your state of openness and receptivity to the Truth and to the inner workings of spiritual grace, you will find yourself drawn to spending longer periods (or more periods daily) of sitting in the silent contemplation of Truth. At this stage, your soul senses begin to open to the indwelling presence of the Spirit within you. Grace, the life of the Spirit, comes alive in you: You will find yourself thirsting for inner silence and hungering for “quiet moments” of just sitting in silence and stillness.
Drop by our Meditation Room and try the guided contemplation we have there or the practice contemplation videos embedded in this page. You can try the practice of lectio divina, also known technically as “contemplation” in western spiritual culture, which was handed down to us through the Christian monastic tradition. You can also try insight meditation as it is taught and practiced in the eastern spiritual culture of Buddhism, or, for that matter, any other authentic form of contemplative practice that you might be led to or which may suit your individual state of consciousness.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Contemplative Outreach for posting the above video on YouTube.]
These forms of contemplation practice will normally begin their activity in the intellect mind with the pondering, cogitating or contemplating of some scripture passage, spiritual teacher’s saying, or statement from a spiritual teaching. The process then naturally progresses and moves from its initial mental activity of words, thoughts and ideas to a growing sense or feeling of peacefulness, inner stillness and interior silence, as the contemplative activity shifts away from the intellect mind to the intuitive mind or the deep feeling level of the soul. You stay there, in that abiding inner peace, stillness and silence, in a state of deep spiritual rest, of true meditation, for as long as you can. (Watch the videos of Fr. Keating above and below, and listen to him speak about “receiving God through rest” and “resting in God.”)
That is the farthest we can humanly go, the farthest that our human state of consciousness can take us within. Beyond that, your true Self, the Christ-Spirit within you (which you truly are), awakens and stirs in consciousness to see Itself (in a manner of speaking) face to face in oneness with the cosmic God, reflected in God, as God.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Contemplative Outreach for posting the above video on YouTube.]
But regardless of the contemplative practice form you adopt as your personal practice, in your contemplation remember always to take with you and to apply our right understanding of mystical principles and the Truth teaching. You must remain anchored in the correct understanding of the letter of Truth. On that foundation, you elevate your contemplation to the highest level of spiritual understanding you presently have, and you begin your contemplation practice there.
Eventually your practice will bring you to the experience of unio mystica, the experience of mystical union with God or the inner realization of oneness/Truth. When you reach this point of spiritual confirmation where you acquire a “conviction” of the Truth borne out of direct personal experience, you are well into your inner journey proceeding deeper and farther along the mystical path of life.
You can progress further in your contemplative practice with the help of books such as The Art of Meditation (shown above) and Beyond Words and Thoughts (shown above), both by Joel Goldsmith, and Passage Meditation (shown at the left) by Eknath Easwaran (available also as an eBook). You simply cannot go wrong with the guidance and instruction provided in these books.
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.
Develop Your Awareness of God-Presence
Whether for the purpose of a contemplation sitting or at any other time, remember to acknowledge, invoke and invite the Spirit of God within you to come forth from within to fill your awareness and life with the experience of its presence. Always begin your contemplation practice by acknowledging the indwelling presence of God within you.
… close your eyes and notice that there is a black void in front of you, an emptiness. Begin to realize that right there in that black emptiness is the presence of God.
- Joel S. Goldsmith -
Realize that in that black emptiness, when your eyes are closed, is the presence of God.
The following video is a contemplation inviting the presence of God into your awareness. Watch the video and simply surrender yourself to the experience of what you are seeing and hearing. If at any point during its playback you feel like closing your eyes and just listening to the chant, do so freely. More importantly, remember the feelings of quietness, interior silence, and peacefulness you have experienced. These feelings mark the beginning of true meditation — a simple resting in God’s presence, in God Itself — what the Christian tradition calls contemplative prayer. Try it.
– Practice Contemplation –
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to illuminaughtyme for posting the video on YouTube.com.]
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, more practice.
Cultivate a Consciousness of Truth
As you continue with your contemplative practice, you will grow into an ever-increasing awareness and knowledge of the true Self, your God-Self within — the Christ-Self which you are. This is the heart of the spiritual journey: the realization of the Self — Self-realization, God-realization — by which Christhood is realized and attained!
You continue acquiring a deeper knowingness of the Self and developing your mystical transformation with such other Infinite Way books as The Mystical I (shown at the right) …
… and The Contemplative Life (shown at the left).
These and all the other Infinite Way titles will take you soaring to mystical heights. There is always an Infinite Way book, tape or CD, that will resonate with you or respond to your particular learning need, at any given point in your journey. They embody Truth consciousness, and they will transmit the Christ-consciousness underlying their message.
There is always an Infinite Way book or a class lecture CD/tape recording of Joel Goldsmith to help you deepen your mystical understanding.
Important Reminder: To cultivate a consciousness of Truth and to progress on your journey along the mystical path, you must undertake these two vital activities diligently and faithfully as a student of the Truth teaching and The Infinite Way:
- Study and learn the letter of Truth as found in the Infinite Way teaching, to arrive at its correct understanding.
- Contemplate and ponder the letter of Truth silently in meditation, to experience the Spirit of Truth (to have an inner realization of the Truth, also described as the mystical experience of union with God or oneness in God).
Everything else that is necessary for your further spiritual unfoldment will flow from them.
The following is a guided meditation on love. Try it. Watch the meditation video and simply surrender yourself to the experience of what you are seeing and hearing.
– Practice Contemplation –[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to LeeHarrisEnergy for posting the video on YouTube.com.]
Practice, practice, practice, more practice, and practice.
Put the Human Ego in Its Proper Place
Work constantly to dismantle the false self system, that personal or human sense of self you entertain erroneously, by (a) studying and learning the principles of the Truth teaching, for example, the message of The Infinite Way (its letter of Truth) or the dharma, (b) examining and eliminating areas or aspects of your awareness where you entertain a sense of separation from God and a belief in two powers contrary to the mystical Oneness of God, and (c) constantly releasing and letting go the many human beliefs held by the conditioned human mind.
Spend some time each day when you do your spiritual practice, to intentionally chisel away at erroneous human beliefs and attitudes — those closely-held personal beliefs and cherished ideas that are not consistent or harmonious with the Truth teaching — and see yourself and your life become transformed. There are many of those in your belief system. They constitute your humanhood. Without them your mind becomes transparent to your true divine nature. Question those beliefs and ideas in the light of Truth. Examine your consciousness and ferret them out without hesitation. They are lies, suggestions from the carnal mind (or mortal mind, or the collective consciousness of the human race or “race consciousness”, or what religion calls “the devil”). They only bring much unhappiness, misery and suffering to your life. As you become aware of them, neutralize and replace them immediately with the conscious remembrance of the letter of Truth you have learned from your mystical studies.
The Truth statements you take with you in contemplation will help you eliminate the erroneous beliefs lodged in the conditioned mind. This is the essence of spiritual transformation — to become unconditioned in your mind. This is what it means to “put on the mind of Christ Jesus” — to function with the Christ-Mind, and not the human mind.
Let go of your erroneous beliefs and attitudes daily, constantly.
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:2, ASV)
Note St. Paul’s advice above regarding (1) nonconformity with the prevailing material sense of the world, and (2) undergoing a spiritual transformation by a renewing of the mind, not by improving on the mind or making mere modifications to one’s belief system. Our spiritual transformation is the means by which we become nonconformed with the world’s material sense, and it comes about by replacing the human mindset with the illumined and unconditioned mind of Christ/Buddha/Krishna. Our practice makes it so.
In the video below, Fr. Keating tells what the nature of our spiritual transformation is about.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to coutreach for publishing the video on YouTube.com.]
Practice, practice, practice, practice, and practice more.
Be Faithful in Your Contemplation Practice
The practice of contemplative meditation is known in the Hindu mystical tradition as raja yoga — the “royal road” to Oneness or union with God. It is taught by Krishna to be the highest of the yogic systems because it leads directly to the realization of the Self.
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. (Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 9.2)
Your contemplation practice is the expression of your devotion to God, your faithfulness to Truth, and your commitment to complete the spiritual journey. Your practice builds up your consciousness of Truth. Your contemplation practice opens you to the mystery of Oneness — to realize Truth. Your contemplation practice opens you to the transforming mystical experience of God.
Your contemplation practice opens you to the transforming mystical experience of God!
Your persistence on the spiritual path means that the spirit of God has already touched you. You have not chosen God. God has chosen you, and God will not let you go until you arrive safely at home in His bosom. The constant recognition that the spirit of God has touched you and will not let you go is one of the greatest helps on the way.
— Joel S. Goldsmith —
God will not let you go until you arrive safely at home in His bosom.
So, practice, practice, practice, practice, and PRACTICE.
Once the Spirit has you in its hands, you are caught hook, line, and sinker. It grabs hold of all of you, until your inner transformation is made complete. The divine romance has begun. You can only surrender to It. You can only flow downstream with It on Its way back to the vast ocean of Its oneness.— Marc —