An Abiding State of Consciousness – 7 quotes from Cynthia Bourgeault’s book – Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening

by Mark Votava

41K4qxzIdbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. We can stop the outer noise

“As we grow up, of course, our minds grow more complex and more settled in their own orbits. We spend so much of our adult energies thinking, planning, worrying, trying to get ahead or stay afloat, that we lose touch with that natural intimacy with God deep within us… With some effort, we can stop the outer noise…”

2. An abiding state of consciousness

“Contemplation, understood in the light of a hologram universe, is not a special gift. It is simply seeing from the perspective of oneness… It can indeed be practiced, and over time, with sincerity and persistence, it becomes an abiding state of consciousness. At times this unitive seeing may sweep you up into rapt adoration; at other times it simply deposits you powerfully and nakedly in the present moment. Either form is an expression of the same underlying consciousness. It is this consciousness itself that is the attained state of contemplation, and it is neither infused nor acquired, because it was never absent – only unrecognized.”

3. Psychological woundedness and self-justification

“It is the false self that we bring to the spiritual journey; our ‘true self’ lies buried beneath the accretions and defenses. In all of us there is a huge amount of healing that has to take place before our deep and authentic quest for union with God – which requires tremendous courage and inner presence to sustain – escapes the gravitational pull of our psychological woundedness and self-justification. This, in essence, constitutes the spiritual journey.”

4. Your own authentic unfolding

“When the inner alignment is strong and steady, you find that you are able to follow the course of your own authentic unfolding with a kind of effortless grace. When the signal gets dim or you forget to listen, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve wandered off-course.”

5. Presence can be sustained

“…presence can be sustained regardless of whatever inner or outer storms may assail you. You do not have to make the terror or anger or grief go away; you simply have to hunker down in magnetic center and allow the surface of life to be as it is. Amazingly, you discover that at the depths Being still holds firm.”

6. Just stay present

“Don’t try to change anything. Just stay present.”

7. God is always present, and we’re the ones who are absent

“The reality is that God is always present, and we’re the ones who are absent! We hide in the cataphatic: in our noise, our stories, our self-talking, our busyness. Silence is useful in that it takes away the evasions; it forces us to befriend our own consciousness and stop running from our own shadows. Once that willingness has been found – the willingness simply to endure ourselves in the present moment – then the external conditions of silence become much less important… On the other hand, without that consent to fully inhabit ourselves, even silence itself will soon get piled high with rules, self-definitions, rigidity, and piety; it becomes itself a form of evasion.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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