It has been about one month since I did a retreat with Gravity, a center for contemplative activism, in which we spent 40 hours in silence over the course of a weekend. During the retreat it was communicated that the fruits and gifts of the silence will not be seen in the midst of the practice, but will be reveled in your active life in the world. It is through the ordinary moments of everyday life that we will have epiphanies that move our souls to deeper levels of our true self. This is beautiful and painful, but necessary.
- Deeper levels of paradox, mystery, listening, and compassion
So over the past month, I am having an awakening that is so good for me. It is moving me into deeper levels of paradox, mystery, listening, and compassion. I have always looked at life through what is missing. It is the filter and the lie that I have protected myself with for so long.
- A different question
When I am constantly looking at what is missing in life this causes me suffering, misery, melancholy, hopelessness, and leaves me unaware of my true self. I lose a sense that the deepest ground of my being is love. So I recently started to wonder about a different question because living through what is missing is so exhausting and depleting to who I am. Why have I believed in this illusion for so long?
- What if nothing is missing?
I don’t know for sure, but I am understanding that it is so easy, comfortable, and what I have done most of my life. But recently I started to wonder, what if nothing is missing? What if nothing is missing in my relationships, in myself, in the world, in community? My intellect cannot understand this and shouts at me it is not true, don’t believe in it, there is too much pain in yourself and the world for it to be true.
- Resonating so deeply
My thoughts and feelings are always trying to tell me that there is too much pain in me to believe, embody, and embrace the mystery that nothing is missing. How can I believe nothing is missing, it is ridiculous, unfamiliar, and backwards? I don’t know what that means. But my body is resonating so deeply with this deeper truth.
- Peaceful, restful, and calming
It is peaceful, restful, and calming to hold within my body the truth that nothing is missing. This is a paradox that I cannot understand, but desire to embody. This is the mystery I am being called into in my everyday life in the present moment.
- Nothing is missing in my pain
Nothing is missing in my pain. Nothing is missing is my loneliness. Nothing is missing in my context where I live.
- Nothing is missing in my tears
Nothing is missing in my tears. Nothing is missing in my loss and grief. Nothing is missing in myself. Nothing is missing in the world.
- Letting go of my false self
If I believe that nothing is missing how will my life be transformed? Do I really want to let go of my false self that says to me constantly everything is missing? But I am starting to feel some sense of joy and happiness in my body when I hold the mantra that nothing is missing. I am starting to love myself and others more deeply through this new paradigm of my true self that is telling me nothing is missing.
- Want to openly embrace
This is so liberating because I am able to have space for gratitude instead of complaining. I am able to have space in myself to see the beauty around me and within me. I am able to make space for cultivating happiness instead of misery. I am able to start on my path of making sense of finding joy in the darkness which I am so unfamiliar with, but want to openly embrace.
How can we embody nothing is missing in life?
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