Longing For Something More – 5 quotes from my book – The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life
by Mark Votava
1. Practicing mindfulness
“We have the ability and the capacity to practice a robust form of mindfulness as an expression of the gospel in our everyday context. We are not intended to be mindless creatures doing only what benefits us at the expense of others. The gospel calls out for more from us. The gospel calls us to a mindfulness as the body of Christ in the parish. We must water the seeds of mindfulness within us all. We must cultivate the wonders of the mystical imagination. We must cultivate the wonders of a life of mindfulness. These wonders are calling out to us from the heart of the gospel to give us all life in the place we inhabit. It is the call to share life together through practicing mindfulness.”
2. Longing for something more
“Our eyes our full of light, possibility, and beauty when we see with a longing for something more than what we have known. We need to cultivate countercultural eyes that long for what is beautiful and relational as the body of Christ in the parish. It is hard to see ourselves, others, and God clearly; we need to have a discipline that longs for such particular eyes. The holistic counterculture of the mystical imagination longs for eyes to see with a sense of clarity. Everything else is secondary to this pursuit of the mystical imagination. Susan Cain writes in her book Quiet, ‘Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it.’”
3. The many possibilities before us
“There is a gift in mindfulness that allows us to see the many possibilities before us as the body of Christ in the parish. The possibilities of love, compassion, grace, and humility live in little seeds within us. They need to be cultivated through the mystical imagination. We can dedicate ourselves in ways we never thought possible to the practice of mindfulness through contemplation. Macrina Weiderkehr says, ‘We all have the potential to give ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever it is we must do. This is the gift of mindfulness.’”
4. Carried away with the systems of the status quo
“Just as Christ practiced silence and solitude, we too need this practice. Without it, we will get carried away with the systems of the status quo. If we’re not careful, the status quo will destroy the mystical imagination within us. It will destroy our being and our becoming, both of which can only be found through silence and solitude.”
5. A far clearer picture of ourselves
“Silence and solitude bring clarity and healing to distorted ways of experiencing ourselves. They help us to have empathy for ourselves and open up the mystical imagination within us. Paula Huston writes, ‘The natural result of solitude and silence is a far clearer picture of ourselves, whether or not we really want to see it… The longer we look into the mirror of silence and solitude, the more we see.’”
Do you long for something more in life than the status quo?
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