Monday, September 1, 2014

Cultivating the Contemplative Mind...

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   When I lecture about contemplative photography, I always refer to this tree of contemplative practices produced by the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society.  I think it demonstrates all the diverse ways you can nurture your own contemplative mindfulness.

(I hope to have some images and reflections to share with you from our weekend retreat later this week.) 

   This weekend, on our Star Island retreat, we utilized several of the "branches" from this tree as we sought to expand our mindful approach to photography.

   The way you cultivate your contemplative mind will be unique to you and, as this weekend so clearly demonstrated, you needn't "go it alone".  You might seek out an anam cara, a soul friend, to journey with you. 

   The important thing is to first recognize the need to make some form of contemplation a focus in your daily life.  Some people are naturally drawn to this lifestyle while others are not.  No need to question the need if you discover you have the seeds of contemplation sprouting within yourself.  Just water and tend the little seedlings and before you know it you will have fully mature contemplative mind.

   I might suggest Thomas Merton's wonderful book,  Seeds of Contemplation, as another source of inspiration.  Living a contemplative lifestyle is an enriching and illuminating approach to the world around you and you needn't join a monastic community to do it.  Later this month I will be retreating to the wonderful St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts for a weekend respite. It is a way for me to re-charge my contemplative batteries.  You might like to seek out a similar place in your area.  It might be a good place to start your contemplative journey.


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