What do we mean by…Contemplative Practice?
This post is part of the Still Harbor blog series “What Do We Mean By…” Through our postings we hope you learn a little more about who we are and what we are about – and that we can enter into deeper conversation with you.
con·tem·pla·tive prac·tice: (noun) the act of regarding steadily.
Part of what attracts people to Still Harbor is the sheer promise of our name. Many come to us seeking refuge from the stormy seas of busyness and lack of direction. One of the points of connection we offer to those we accompany spiritually are contemplative practices that can help reconnect us with our deepest selves. The promise of contemplative practice is a chance to quiet our minds amidst the stresses and distractions of our everyday lives, bring into focus an awareness of our connectivity, and develop deeper compassion, concentration, and insight.
Different people have found different ways to approach contemplative practices. Some choose to pray, some journal, some walk. Others practice yoga, run, cook, or read poetry. While silence or meditation can be components of each of these contemplative practices, they do not have to be. Contemplative practices also do not have to be thought of as simply private or solitary activities. We believe contemplative practices are a peaceful time to be intentional and to acknowledge a greater presence in our lives, but both can be done in community. In Sustaining the Soul That Serves, Marian David describes contemplative practice as, “whatever is the thing that gets me in touch with me, with the light in me.”
Historically, the fields of activism and social change have tended to see contemplative practices as separate from the “real” work of justice. People invested in this idea imagine quieting the mind to be a luxury or a vacation from the injustice and inequity present in our world. At Still Harbor, we try to invite activists and change agents into seeing inner work as integral to their work for justice. Our approach focuses on building a bridge between inner and outer, which allows us to be more fully present and ultimately, to achieve greater impact. Our experience has shown us that rather than a disconnected indulgence, contemplative practices are inseparably linked to action.
Are you engaged in contemplative practices?
If so, how do they serve you?