Union – 7 quotes from Phileena Heuertz’s book – Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

by Mark Votava

51T7TEZCf2L1. Living into our true self

“Living into our true self, being free of our ego and rooted in love allows for true acts of peace and justice. Without attention to our internal motivations and attachments, we are at risk of imposing our will on the world – deceived into thinking we are doing a virtuous thing – only to find out we need forgiveness for our action… The ways we interact with the world can be connected so deeply to our false self that we cause more harm than good. In our misapprehension we do not realize that what we are doing may actually be reaping destruction cloaked in virtue. The greater our leadership and influence, the greater the potential domination and devastation. How else can we explain nations at war with one another, global exploitation of the poor, destruction to our planet?”

2. Our true voice, our vocation

“Living in a place of union opens us to our true voice, our vocation. Service is refined and redefined. We live from the truth of who we are, rather than our false-self ‘programs for happiness’…”

3. Our truest selves are set free

“It is difficult to hear the voice of God calling us to fullness of life amidst the dissonance of other voices that filter through our ‘programs for happiness.’ But regular periods of solitude, silence and stillness provide a way to dismantle the dissonance. Contemplative practices provide a way to cut through the static and noise that lead us away from the voice of God. Slowly, slowly in the company of a patient God and supportive community we can find the ability to respond to ‘the fullness of our own life in the mystery of God.’ Throughout our lifetimes our vocations will develop and evolve as we grow and mature. Our response to the fullness of our lives in the mystery of God will look a particular way at each stage in our lives. All along the journey we do the best we can at the time to live and respond with integrity and truth. As time goes on, with ever-deepening awareness and freedom, our truest selves are set free.”

4. Into community with others

“Each of our lives does not look like anyone else’s… Our very own life is a gift to be given. We each have a unique vocation, and it is brought into community with others…”

5. Rooted in love

“Rooted in love, my true self was free to be expressed in all areas of life. My vocation continued to evolve into ever-widening layers of truth from which my deep gladness could connect with the world’s deep hunger.”

6. Simple, congruent communities

“When we are rooted in love – in union with God – simple, congruent communities made up of healthy relationships are formed…”

7. Peaceful union ahead

“I was learning how necessary contemplative spirituality is to dismantling my illusions and uncovering my true self. All the months of distress and agony were transforming me. And at moments the anguish, disorientation and darkness subsided, to hint at peaceful union ahead.”

Is the concept of union something that resonates with you?


My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist