Editor's Introduction - This article represents part 1 of a 3-part series by Jeff Imbach, a founding member of Soulstream, a dispersed contemplative community that offers training in spiritual direction and 'living from the heart.' This series was addressed to the Soulstream partners and Clarion has asked permission to post them on Clarion for the broader public.
CONTEMPLATIVE RESPONSES TO OUR WORLD
Question: How Do We Integrate Our Contemplative Action Both At The Level Of Interpersonal Relationship And At The Level Of The Larger Institutions of Society?
Our SoulStream community is growing very beautifully in our desire to link our contemplative posture with very practical responses to life around us. It has been hugely important to focus on opening our hearts to receive the love of God so richly present in our lives. We have come to realize that it is not only in the good times but also in times of great suffering that our hearts are opened up in this way – sometimes even broken open into God as the Jewish tradition says! It seems now that, by a wonderful grace of the Spirit among us, we are hungry to deepen our contemplative posture and practice in our responses to the world in which we find ourselves. As we say in Living From The Heart, the fourth pillar of the Way of the Heart is, “Contemplative Transformation Leads to Compassionate Living”
In this reflection I will attempt to bring two themes of our contemplative responses to the world into a unified perspective. It is not easy and we may all have resistances somewhere along the way, but if this reflection can spark more conversation and deepened trust in God then the stumbling words will have been well worth while.
In recent SoulStream conversations we have talked about dancing and weeping in the face of our present world situation. The imagery comes from Dorothee Soelle’s book, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance. It is a great image to help us process the whole spectrum of responses. Let’s look at both sides of the image.