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Its not easy being human.


Good day good people,


As humans who give ourselves to the Wisdom path, it is important to name that it is not an easy way of existing in the seen and unseen worlds and we do not occupy a steady state of being united, free, and independent within ourselves. This is to be expected in the conditions in which we live. This is not a problem at all.


When we have a commitment to Wisdom practices (anything that strengthens our capacity for three centered attention and surrender) they will inevitably bring with them the opportunity to see the wounds of a lifetime emerge. All that our internalized familial and cultural conditioning has deemed too much or not enough is kept in the shadows tucked away in our psyche and the cells of our bodies.


As we chant, take up different postures or gestures, and/or sit in silence, Centering Prayer or other types of meditation, these remnants may rise up into our awareness. When they do, it is essential that we greet them from the place deep inside that can allow, accept, and listen to what may be needed from that which is arriving to be seen. We can shift the center of our gravity to be weighted in this sturdy place within in the midst of what at times may be quite uncomfortable.


As we allow, accept, and listen to what is needed from this stranger we then have a chance to offer what is needed by way of connection with ourselves, caring others, skillful spiritual directors and therapists, the more than human natural world all around us, the ancestors, saints and guides from beyond, and the ever present Holy Origin.


We must be gentle and strong with all that comes to light within and give it the chance to be included in our awareness if possible or tuck it back away knowing that someday it will need its space to return. This is the ongoing work of becoming united, free, and independent.


With love,



Readings from last week's Daily Contemplative Pauses

Monday, July 1st with Heather


Reading: “Spiritual reading, discursive meditation, and prayer prepare our hearts for contemplation. Contemplation is a state of realized oneness with God. When engaged in contemplation, we rest in God resting in us. We are at home in God at home in us. Our role in contemplation is essentially receptive, in that when we are engaged in contemplation we receive a gift of divine awareness. Contemplation, in its essentially receptive aspect, is sometimes referred to as mystical experience or mystical prayer. The word mystical, as used in the classical Christian texts, does not refer to having visions, hearing God’s voice, or experiencing any other similar, extraordinary events. Although these kinds of experiences can and do occur, they do not necessarily arise from God, and even when they do, they can become hindrances if we cling to them. The Christian mystics use the terms contemplation and mystical union with God to refer not to visions and other similar experiences, but rather to a life-transforming realization of oneness with God. In this mystical realization of oneness with God we are liberated from our tendencies to derive our security and identity from anything less than God. In specifically Christian terms, we enter the mind of Christ, who realized oneness with God to be the reality of himself and of everyone and everything around him.” ― James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God


Chant: just be here, let go, be here, keep within, within your/God’s heart (by Heather Ruce)


Tuesday, July 2nd with Heather


Reading: “The truth is that we can venture into meditation only in our willingness to be, at times, perplexed. What is more, we must be willing to befriend our perplexity as a way of dying to our futile efforts to grasp the ungraspable depths that meditation invites us to discover.” ― James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God


Chant: when was I ever made less by dying


Wednesday, July 3rd with Heather


Reading: "Ego consciousness (the consciousness that manifests itself by saying, “I want, I think, I need, I feel, I remember, I like, I don’t like,” and so on. Ego consciousness is the day-by-day consciousness in which we tend to get up in the morning, go through the day, and go to bed  at night. 


Our ego consciousness is a precious gift from God. God wants us to have a healthy ego, because when our ego consciousness is not healthy we suffer and those around us suffer. A great deal of healing has to do with healing the violations and compromises of our ego consciousness. Meditation practice has the potential of playing a powerful and decisive role in this healing process. Through meditation we can learn to be less anxious, less depressed, less addictive-in short, less subject to all the ways in which we as human beings suffer and, in our suffering, contribute to the suffering of others.


But the point is that even if we could manage to become a perfectly healthy ego, there would remain the suffering that arises from experiencing ourselves as nothing more than our ego. For ego consciousness, in and of itself, is not expansive enough to fulfill our hearts. Ego consciousness is not generous enough or gracious enough to bring us all the way home. For God creates our hearts in such a way that only God will do.


Scripture says, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). And so we can say that infinite love creates our hearts in such a way that only an infinite union with infinite love will do." ― James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God


Chant: sink into the taproot of your heart (by Heather Ruce)


Thursday, July 4th with Heather


Reading: “Merton makes no attempt to question the reality and importance of the empirical self we call our personality. Indeed, in the spiritual life a deep respect must be given to our whole person, including the day-by-day realities of life and the self that is formed by them. What Merton does say, however, is that when the relative identity of the ego is taken to be my deepest and only identity, when I am thought to be nothing but the sum total of all my relationships, when I cling to this self and make it the center around which and for which I live, I then make my empirical identity into the false self. My own self then becomes the obstacle to realizing my true self.” ― James Finley, Merton's Palace of Nowhere


Friday, July 5th with Heather


Reading: “Eckhart is saying we can choose to live this way—in an empty-handed, open process of constantly letting go of everything as having the final say in who we are. We acknowledge it [the trait, the preference, the condition], but we know it doesn’t have the final say in who we are. The more we continue in that way, we are in this Gelassenheit, which means being released from everything that hinders.” ― James Finley


Chant: I surrender (by Heather Ruce)


Saturday, July 6th with Joy


Reading: "Even with … your most sincere efforts, you are likely to experience just how inept we human beings can be at such a simple, fundamental thing as being simply present in the present moment. Truth is, meditation has a way of laying bare our poverty. We start out with the sincere intention to be present, open, and awake, only to discover that the very simplicity of the intention reveals the wayward complexity of our mind and heart. This is why the prevailing attitude of meditation is to have nonjudgmental compassion for yourself as you discover yourself clinging to and rejecting everything.


… God is infinite compassion —that love that recognizes and goes forth to identify with the preciousness of all that is lost and broken within ourselves and everyone around us. Our meditation fosters and embodies a Christlike compassion in which we realize our own mind and heart to be the one lost sheep that we must lovingly gather up and bring back to the fold of present-moment attentiveness.


As we learn to see ourselves through the eyes of Christlike compassion, we learn to see others through the eyes of Christlike compassion as well. In learning to be compassionate toward ourselves as precious in our frailty, we learn to be compassionate toward others as precious in their frailty. In this way we begin to sense how meditation renders our heart ever more sensitive and responsive to ourselves and others. This is one of the refrains that run throughout the lives and teachings of the Christian mystics — that only love and all that is given in love is real." ― James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God


Chant:  “AH” in compassion for self, a loved one, a difficult person or situation


Sunday, July 7th with Heather


Reading: “All that we can do with any spiritual discipline is produce within ourselves something of the silence, the humility, the detachment, the purity of heart and the indifference which are required if the inner self is to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation of [God’s] presence.” ― James Finley, Merton's Palace of Nowhere


Chant: purify my heart, purify my heart, let me rest in you (by Joy Andrews Hayter)


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