Episode:The Contemplative Life (Part 3)
Tamara Strumfeld provided insights she applies in her daily life as we wrap up this month of changing seasons with more about different models of Contemplative Prayer. She found The Urantia Book eight years ago and finds its teachings profound and transforming. She was so inspired by them that she moved to Chicago to work for Urantia Foundation. She has been practicing contemplative prayer for several years and finds it to be a cornerstone in her spiritual life.
Keywords: Contemplative Life, Successful Prayer Life, Jesus, True Success
Note: Kermit Anderson joined as a caller about halfway through the broadcast.
Summary by Brad
On the contemplative life
Centering prayer is a discipline one can learn to aid in finding the temple within (also known as Christian meditation). The exact technique is not as important as the recognition that you must find sufficient inner peace and trust to abandon fear and become self-forgetting. This clamor of the world is something we hear just to the extent we are focused on the self. Escape from this chatter can only be secured in one certain place: the center, the heart, the core of your being, the temple of contemplation. If you can turn away from self, you open to communion with a cosmos. And over time, if you grow in faith, you can walk through life being in the inner temple at all times. "Walk in the eternal now." James adds that this state, while it is a quiet state, is still an active listening mode state. Listening for spirit ministry.
Tamara says she was impressed by Jesus telling Simon Peter, (in resurrected form) "Let experience teach you the value of meditation." [192:2.2] Also, that "worship is the highest privilege and the first duty of all created intelligences" [27:7.1] She starts her day by worshiping God, to get out of herself. She finds the technique of the centering word to be very helpful when you catch the self drifting back into the frame, incessantly clamoring for attention like a pile of monkeys.
It can be difficult to hold onto the contemplative space, explains Tamara, when there is a lot on your mind. But this is the time it's all the more important to have that contemplative space, to be better equipped to deal with all the outer-life business. Many have trouble with an active second adjutant energy, where thoughts race, connecting dots. Like a parent to a child, you must tell this self to be still.
The child may always be clamoring, but the parent sometimes must tell the child to be still. In this analogy, it is your higher self, even the personality, that is taking the role of the parent. This isn't a schizophrenic mode of being, it's a parent-child way of being. Ann says this is akin to becoming an observer of herself.
This is an effort, but not a magical one. It takes actual physical calories of exertion. It's worthy work.
Tamara explains that, day to day she focuses on doing the will of God, living the great commandment, and having trust and faith in spiritual growth. She explains that disagreements happen, but she tries to avoid being self-centered during those times. Having a small child has brought some of this into a new focus for her recently. Chris says this sounds like the need to put God at the center. So you are standing on "the rock," and you need not worry so much, moment to moment, about what you say and do.
Chris suggests bringing the words prayer and worship into this practice:
- Prayerful contemplation. A self-reminding, sublime thinking where the self is in view, but it's being viewed as a parent views a child.
- Worshipful contemplation. Self-forgetting, super-thinking. Standing in the temple and looking to the cosmos, not looking at self. This is true worship.
On worship and prayer
The word worship has several connotations in the 5th ER. The objective domain of worship associated with the 3rd cosmic intuition is not the same of the (comparatively lower) 6th adjutant spirit of worship in one's subjective consciousness. The 6th adjutant starts out as an energy of zeal. But if, through the 7th adjutant, you can bring true worship down into your subjective mind, the 6th adjutant can truly take of the form of the spirit of worship.
Even the most primitive prayer of a savage (or a little child) is useful in the evolutionary process insofar as it at least minimally takes one's focus off of oneself. By definition, it is acknowledging the existence of the other as some power in the cosmos that might be of some help to you (even if the content of the prayer is utterly material). And praying for another bring in yet more others than just the self. It's "an antidote to harmful introspection." [144:4.6] Be reflective, not introspective.
Can prayer have a material effect? Perhaps there is a mindal physics at play between two people. After all, mind permeates all of Nebadon; it is non-localized. But also, just letting someone know you're praying for them may strengthen that person's mind, leading them to their own "heal thyself" moment of their own mind healing that which is within the reach of mind to heal (some forms of cancer were tentatively mentioned as possible examples of this).
Many people have discovered the temple within precisely because of how unpleasant the outer life environment is (e.g., imprisonment or tyranny as in Myanmar or Tibet). God has given you absolutely all you need in terms of spiritual strength! Ann told a story of someone on a plane flight who lived under Stalin and was not free to worship as she wanted, but still secretly found a way to spirit (listen to the broadcast for details).
Chris explained his interpretation of the seven adjutant mind-spirits and their connection to the levels of meaning for awhile. Those comments are integrated into those pages linked here.