The Core of Our Emptiness – 4 quotes from my book – The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life

by Mark Votava

  1. 41+jgDX732LMoving beyond words

“When we ‘move beyond words,’ that is where we start to be in touch with our longing for God. Our attention goes beyond words to longing. We begin to listen. We begin to explore our interior life with more intentionality and intensity. We desperately need an intensity to our seeking after God today. Why are we so slow in seeking, listening, longing after God? We need to become the body of Christ in everyday life together that seeks, listens, and longs after God in this way. We can do this best through the local community we inhabit together.”

2. In the core of our emptiness

“It is hard facing our emptiness. But our spirituality is birthed in the core of our emptiness. Our emptiness shows us how to live, trust, and listen out of desperation. It opens up our relational context. It shows us how to desperately dream with a mystical imagination. Our communion with God becomes our very survival. We have to ‘join fully the silence’ and remain open to how God is shaping us as the body of Christ in the place where we share life together. When we participate in our silence and solitude, we embrace the mystical imagination.”

3. Daily bodily acts

“Living in a place and living in our body are so interrelated that we cannot elevate one over the other. They need to be practiced together through an incarnational embodiment of the mystical imagination. North Americans seem to live outside of their bodies a lot of the time. We are fragmented and scrambling for some peace and sanity in the midst of rejecting the proper use of the lived body. We are used to creating any kind of life we want at the expense of other people. We become subtly, unconsciously violent through our individualism. We need to learn how to recover the lived body in our postmodern culture as the body of Christ in the parish. It is not very easy and will take some work on our part. But it is definitely possible. Stephanie Paulsell states, ‘It is through our bodies that we participate in God’s activity in the world. And it is through daily bodily acts… that we live more fully into the sacredness of our bodies and the bodies of others.’”

4. Freedom and security do not mix well

“Freedom and security do not mix well. Security is slavery to the empire around us. Security is most often too comfortable in the status quo. We need to long for freedom, liberation from this kind of security that makes us numb and machinelike. Freedom promotes the shattering into pieces of all status quo obstacles in our pursuit of creating a holistic counterculture as the body of Christ in the parish. Do we really want this kind of freedom? Freedom in our country is oftentimes related to independence, bloodshed, and war. What I want to propose is a freedom related to love, humility, communion, connection, interdependence, and integration. This kind of freedom lives within the mystical imagination.”

Do you think freedom and security mix well?

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