From Nouwen again – what’s needed for contemplative prayer are: reading, silence, and guidance. Our December event isn’t religious, in premise… but art, religion, physics, etc. often hold a mirror to each other, so some religious forms may help model or orient practical thinking.
By “reading” Nouwen definitely means reading of scripture – but in opening out to secular practice, I wonder if reading could be understood first as a relationship to words (and the body, the territory of the word, which relates to silence in ways we talked about last week), and then as a relationship to breathing. God breathing into a human is literally a way of speaking in the “first person” – breath is a name. Be careful how you breathe (or at least deliberate) because you are naming, naming all day and all night.
Guidance feels crucial as well. The guide could be a historical figure or even a type – but a personal intelligence. A living guide would be great, and as we move through the year, let’s be looking to and with each other for wisdom, encouragement, and practical know-how. Especially folks who are doing 31 days, but also folks who are doing only five minutes – clarity of intention and execution will come, in part, through ample discourse in the run-up.