Some of our Members will share a reflection from time to time.
February 1, 2017
From: Madeline Duckett rsm
February begins in the midst of a world torn by prejudice, violence, political stances that evoke fear and wonderings as to where positions taken will lead in the time ahead. It is as if the world is holding its breath for anticipated disaster.
Locally we have had a drug induced massacre by a mentally ill person behind the wheel of a car driven at speed on main streets and footpaths of our inner city, killing and seriously wounding many. Further afield we have had news of a massacre in a mosque in Canada when people were at prayer. In the US there has been a ban on the entry of persons traveling from seven Muslim majority countries and a permanent bar of refugees from Syria. Reactions are strong and there is a sense of growing outrage. Beyond these country specific incidents, war, oppression, poverty and greed continue to displace growing numbers of people seeking to escape and find refuge elsewhere. Often these desperate people are not made welcome and are sent to seek safety elsewhere. Alternatively they are placed in detention centres until they are ‘processed’, thence to be either deported or if accepted as ‘refugees’, given little status in the community. In an even larger context again, the earth itself is suffering immensely as it heaves under the burden of climate change. Consequently there is an ever increasing incidence of natural disasters which often affect the very poorest of people and lead to further displacement issues.
All of this and so much more, can cause us to feel as if a ticking time bomb is in our midst awaiting detonation. Despite numerous accounts of kindness, generosity and volunteering individuals and organisations doing amazing relief work that often balances the negatives described above, it can at times feel as if it is all ‘too much to bear’.
Where is the still, safe place that can hold such pain, fear and tragedy? Who will find this place and hold the pain and tragedy with a lightness of touch that reaches down into the ground that lies deeper than the events described—the Ground from which all being rises?
Between 4.00 and 5.00 pm each day we seek to do just that! If we are able, we meet for up to an hour daily, either physically or intentionally and help bear the pain of the world we inhabit. We reach down into this sacred Ground by our faith, trust and faithful practice. As we reach deeply into the Ground of All Being, we believe that the power of Love lies at the heart of this collective endeavor. This Love and our link with it through contemplative presence can help shift, even fractionally, the runaway negative energies that are at work within all of the situations around us, situations that evoke pain and often end in death.
As Ursula King wrote in her book Christ in All Things:
The fire of love may be the only energy capable of extinguishing the threat
of another fire, namely that of universal conflagration and destruction. The fire
of love is what is most specifically human… (p. 34)
It is the fire of this Love that draws us to the contemplative place together. Can we, in our times of contemplation, love enough from the deep ground of Love itself to love evil and darkness into light and love?
January 24, 2017
From: Madeline Duckett rsm
Welcome to CEN 2017
With the first month of 2017 well under way, the Contemplative Evolution Network welcomes you to another year of contemplative concern and committed action on behalf of all who are at risk or in pain in every part of our world. In the first weeks of this brand new year, we have already met between 4 and 5 pm each day when possible. We have immersed ourselves in the flow of that Love that holds us at our centre. There we have known the power of one in deep places of silence. There in the Ground of all being, we have held with compassion and love those people, beings and places that are hurting or at risk, in all parts of the world around us.
The year that is just beginning is shaping up to be one of confrontation with the harsh realities of increasing levels of distrust, fear and unrest in many quarters across the globe. This can so easily give way to prejudice, hasty decision making based on factional interests, and thence to hasty action which can evoke further violence, war and oppression, rather than lessen it. A potentially dismal picture!
But our CEN logo reminds us of another side to that picture. It reminds us of who we are and what we strive to be and become in the larger universe as we daily sit in silent, compassionate presence to Presence together. It invites us into another scenario where we dare to believe that we are more powerful than we could imagine, though in a hidden way.
The logo presents us with an image of:
- People who sit together, either physically or intentionally, in contemplative prayer and presence as they hold with awareness those who must live amidst very harsh realities in life. They remember also the universe itself as it suffers, often unnoticed, even as human beings are suffering.
- The logo images a circle of silent, meditating figures focused on the central sign of a cross superimposed on a picture of planet earth. The horizontal bar of the cross carries colours of suffering, and the vertical bar suggests colours of new life and joy.
- The meditating figures face inwards and towards the point at which the crossbars meet—the pure, invisible, infinitely inner point of paradox and transformation. This symbolises the central Ground of being where all difference is unified and ‘oned’.
- As the seated figures symbolically encircle the known world with silent prayer and contemplation, the logo implies that the effects of this contemplative stance reach beyond the figures themselves and out into the larger universe of stars, planets and cosmic space.
As we meet at this centrepoint of prayer and silence in 2017, let us believe that this logo is being enfleshed as we unite with each another in trust and hope. In this we make a difference in a world which, in many cases, has lost hope. We generate vibrations of healing and hope where these are most needed, in the world and beyond.
Meet you at the Centre!
The CEN Team.
December 24, 2016
From: Madeline Duckett rsm
The End of a Year
The end of 2016 is close upon us. Another year passes into the great unfolding. It has held much for each of us – joy and pain, apprehension and celebration, delight and wonderings about the future. As we reflect on all the events of the year that is passing, it can sometimes feel that life on earth teeters on the brink of destruction. Images of war, violence, natural disasters and inhumanity swamp our media and can confront us with a picture of the end times. And we know it with an immediacy from which it is hard to escape.
Yet, other images arise almost unnoticed, between the lines of headline news. These are images of generosity and courageous service of those in diverse need around the globe, images of growing conscious efforts to change unjust structures and political decisions, images of volunteers leaving to assist in far off places, and increasing demonstrations for what needs to be changed, on the home front.
All of this and so much more is our world! All of this has been part of the year that is ending. All of this is US!
To believe that something else is going on beneath the ferment of what seems to be ‘going on’ takes great faith. To see in and beyond the violence and destruction, to see in the rise of compassionate action for change, to see in all of what has happened, the emergence of something utterly new requires an imagination of enormous proportions. But we have been gifted with such an imaging capacity. Those from the Judeo-Christian tradition hold with reverence the worlds of Isaiah: “See I am doing a new deed! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43: 19) To trust these words in the shadow of darker world events is trust indeed. To see in what is happening, the labour pains of the earth moving towards a great rebirth is a mindset and heart vision that can lead to more and more action on the ground for healing and wholeness around us.
Those committed to the contemplative stance of the Contemplative Evolutionary Network believe that we can help to change the outer gloomy picture of the world, however fractionally. We see the pain of the world as our pain. All who are suffering are part of us. Even those we see as the perpetrators of suffering are part of us. We are a whole body, connected by our very genetics, by our larger story of life and human unfolding, by our origins and our longings. When one suffers, we all suffer. Therefore we are suffering together and need to work together towards healing and new birth.
Throughout this year many have endeavoured to be faithful to holding the hour between 4 and 5 pm each day as a sacred time of mindfulness and contemplation. In this hour, either by physical contemplative sitting in silent prayer with others or by joining mindfully and intentionally with those who are able to do so, we have sought to contribute to the holding and healing of the pain of our world. We have been “frequency holders”[i] of the new earth consciousness that is emerging and which we hope and pray will slowly shift the energies that seem hell bent on mindless violence and destruction.
As we advance further into the season of remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus, let us also remember and continue to work towards the larger birth that his physical appearance heralds.
Thank you for adding your powerful contemplative support to this movement to help bring healing, wholeness and compassion to our unfinished, becoming world.
May the season of Christmas be a blessed one for us all.
The CEN Team.
[i] Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth, p.307
I sit in quiet attention, watching the silent world of nature outside my window, showing me how to just BE. This natural way is mine also if I but peel back the layers of the activity of this day and the self-expectation that jostles within me, pointing out the things I should be doing. I close the door on all of this. It is 4.00 pm – the sacred hour set aside each day to draw inwards and hold a space, with others, to contemplate and pray silently for and with all that is suffering in our world.
As I gently enter the quiet time, I join with all those who will also be settling into this purposeful silence right now. We are linked by our commitment and focused intention to shift something in the world around us that needs healing and drawing into a circle of prayer and hope. We are joined to one another in an intangible way as we draw inwards to the deeper Source of our being – the Source of all being.
Sinking into that Source, I leave behind the things to be done, the tasks that seemed so important before. And I enter a world that holds my spirit and all spirits together in a single embrace of love, reverence and delight that we are here. Here we are one with all who similarly gather, individually or in groups, and with those who link with us by intention. In this time we pray a prayer of heart’s silence and desire for peace, healing and hope for our hurting world and our wounded earth. We sit, we wait, we focus, we desire, we trust, that beyond our own efforts to be healers and comforters of all in pain, another Power enters through our desiring and contemplating and intending together, and weaves a larger, stronger web of possibility.
In this sacred place of holding and healing, I draw into my reflection the myriad events in my world and in the larger world that cry out for resolution and relief. There comes to mind and heart the violence, the warring individuals and nations, the hitting out at and blaming of others in the outer world of human interaction. Stories of sickness, starvation, of abuse, of displacement of peoples from their natural homelands…all of these arise to claim my attention. And always I am confronted by news of natural disasters which have uprooted and decimated hundreds, even thousands. I feel the weight of news of rioting and racism, of gang warfare of rape and trafficking of people… The stories go on and on… entering my awareness and holding a vice-like grip on my sense of our human reality. Is this what ‘reality’ is? Or is there something more or other that exists at a level of consciousness not accessible to anyone without the eyes to see?
In my own smaller world of human interaction I am aware of the pain of many who are hurting or in need in a variety of ways, people for whom I have promised to pray or who are in need of relief from their suffering. Beyond this human suffering, I see also the whole earth community crying out at this time, crying for people to be more conscious of how this one community of all earth beings is affected by everything we do, or do not do and should. When earth hurts, we all hurt! When one person hurts, we all hurt!
It is 4.30 pm. I take this backdrop of pain and suffering and simply hold it gently as I draw it down with me into the Divine Source. I trust that here, a Power beyond my own holds, soothes and heals this suffering, even a little. I am but a channel of Divine grace and healing, a conscious connector of this Power and the abundance of suffering. I, and all who sit or simply intend with us, hold the pain of the world in our consciousness, knowing that, in this deep place of contemplation, all is one. This earth, these people, these human situations are not separate from us. We are one. We are linked in ways we cannot see but which exist nonetheless. What happens to one happens to all. In this belief, my drawing down into the Source, into the heart of the Beloved draws all down into the great Sea of Being deep inside all that exists. In this Sea of Being, pain becomes a great well of new possibility for fuller life.
In silence I remain…in trust, hope and conscious connectedness…Amen.
March 28, 2016
From: Madeline Duckett rsm written on Good Friday!
February 18, 2016
From: Mary Jo Wells rsj written October 2015
A Personal Reflection on the Providence of God
In a continuous fruitful cycle,
Seeds in the earth are nourished
By falling rain, and become the plants
Which provide food for animals and us:
Gift of our provident, exuberant God.
Rivers and seas provide a safe habitat
For whales, sharks and tiny fish;
The sun provides light and warmth,
And as the earth rotates and orbits,
The seasons enable crops to ripen.
In each tiny creature God has planted
An instinct which enables it to thrive,
To reproduce its species, to know
What to eat, where to find shelter,
How to educate its progeny.
In humankind God has given all this;
But also God has sent His Son,
To be human like me every day;
To live, and love and be betrayed;
To offer His life on the Cross; to give me life.
In the palm of His Hand He holds me;
Dares me to love as He does:
To be inclusive, accept the needy,
Assist the refugee, welcome the outcast;
Share His abundance showered on me.
God of provident, exuberant abundance,
Watch over me and lead me;
Fill my heart with your Spirit;
Urge me to love as You do;
Bring me to fuller life in You.
How could I not believe!
February 5, 2016
February 2016 Offering – We Invite you to Share Your Experience!
The Contemplative Evolution Network
Contemplation to help heal and transform a world in process…
As the end of the first month of the New Year dissolves into the second, it is good to recall our purpose and intent as people committed to shifting the balance of energies in the world through contemplation and intention. The strength of the desire to unite with the Source and hold the pain being experienced by so many in the world, as well as by the earth itself, is a powerful means of strengthening the field of healing and love in our larger environment as love grows in and through us. It is believed that this can be particularly done as groups contemplate together – either physically or intentionally.
During the month of January we have seen and heard of so many natural disasters in diverse parts of the world. We have sat in contemplation and union at the Centre holding, as best we could, the suffering people and our suffering earth in their experience of pain, destruction and loss. As we link together daily between 4 and 5 pm– either in contemplative prayer or by contemplative intention we become ever more deeply one with, and embedded in, the Source of all being, the Love that holds all of life in its very essence. In doing so, we help to hold the frequency of connectivity and love as we dissolve more fully into that Love ourselves.
In the months ahead, we invite anyone who is willing to share with us all, how she or he enters into this time or sustains concentration during the sacred hour between 4 and 5 pm. We would also love to hear from those who cannot sit in contemplation for any of this sacred time, due to other life commitments, yet unites with the purpose of CEN in some other way by means of contemplative intention. This month we offer one experience that may be helpful or informative for others. See Messages: this month from Tess
Let us continue to meet in the place of spirit presence and inner desire to be ONE with the All and so help evolve the world into new expressions of Love.
January 1, 2016
Download pdf New Year Reflection 2016 sml
December 20, 2016
Download pdf Christmas Reflection