Cultivating an Inner Posture in Life
by Mark Votava
When I first started to become conscience of my spirituality, some twenty years ago, I had no idea what an inner posture toward life was. I lived my life from the outside never really taking the time to become connected to what was within myself. In fact, thinking about this way of life really scarred me a bit. But now I am learning a different path that is much more authentic and far less scary than what I thought.
• Looking for an attitude or outlook
Thomas Merton says, “…in meditation we should not look for a ‘method’ or ‘system,’ but cultivate an ‘attitude,’ an ‘outlook’…” Contemplation will always develop an inner posture of listening, openness, receptivity and patience. This is the “attitude” or “outlook” that we abide in.
• Getting out of the box to embrace life holistically
Contemplation cannot be boxed up into a program, activity or method. It embraces all of life holistically in every dimension. It is a part of our sleeping, working, playing, solitude, socializing, celebrating, eating, exercising, relating, communion, learning, walking, breathing, moving, dancing, living, thinking, caring, loving and forgiving. Our very lives become an expression of contemplation in everything we are.
• Becoming our contemplation
We actually become our contemplation in the place that we live. Our lives become a moving, living, working, loving experiment in contemplation. This is our identity as the body of Christ in everyday life.
• Holding onto our humanity
We can never reduce this to something less. If we do, we will lose a sense of our humanity in this life. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations…” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Christ will never go along with our expectations.
• Shattering our illusions
Our contemplation will shatter our illusions of expectations and control. The mystical imagination will not have anything to do with expectations and control. Our lives will not be lived by expectations and control in the parish. If we attempt this way of life, we will destroy ourselves unconsciously.
• Embracing life within us
Christ’s power working within us seeks to destroy our expectations and control. This must be deeply rooted in us to be the body of Christ in everyday life. Our contemplation allows Christ to work within us beyond our understanding. The mystical imagination embraces Christ’s life within us at all times.
How have you done the work of cultivating an inner posture within you?