Tag: listening

Spiritual Reflection: Time to Study, Time to Contemplate, Time to Pray


Study forms our minds but also our inner character.

Study affect our beliefs and our values.

Study affects our understanding and our vision.

Study affects how we look at and perceive the world.


Contemplation is a near-lost method of thinking.

It has been preserved and passed down by some who engage in spiritual practices – for example those who follow the Benedictine way, or who use lectio divina, a contemplative way of reading.

The practice of contemplation can help prevent us reducing life to simplistic logical dualities of right/wrong, us/them, either/or. 

Contemplation allows expansive thinking, consideration of possibilities, engagement of the heart and soul with the mind.

Contemplation may help us to be more compassionate.


Not everyone prays.

And not everyone who prays understands prayer as anything more than asking for things.

To pray is become aware of the presence of God.

To pray may involve just being there in God’s presence in silence.

To pray may involve listening – to our deepest thoughts, to our random and superficial thoughts, to what is revealed to us in the silence, to God.

An Ongoing Structure of Life

Study, Contemplation and Prayer may form the basis of an ongoing structure, or rule, of life.

We can try to set aside certain regular times of the day for study – like first thing in the morning, the evening, or “low times” during the day.

We can set aside times for silent contemplation. For example, using what otherwise might be “dead time” – time driving or commuting, time walking or shopping, time doing necessary but mundane tasks.

And we can set aside regular times of prayer.

Some communities support each other to pray at periodic intervals during the day – like at morning and evening; or morning, noon, evening and night.

I think we can only be deeper people with more to give if study, contemplation and prayer are an integral part of our daily lives.

Spiritual Reflection: Openness is Enough

Why him,

why him,

why him?


Because it seems

God chose


One so foolish

and so poor


To show that

only openness


To God

Is enough.


I wrote those lines inspired by Francis of Assisi.

Openness is enough: openness to life in all its richness, openness to others, openness to God.

The practice of mindfulness is a good way to develop openness to life.  Many people in the west today live life so quickly that they forget to actually experience the here and now.  It is possible to live in future, and also to live in the past; but to live in the present takes a special form of attention, mindful of detail, of both pleasure and pain, of both self and others, of both inner and outer worlds.

Listening is a way to be open to others.  Many of us talk so much that we forget to listen.  We are full of our stress, our worries, our feelings.  But if you round and round inside a bubble you just end up…trapped in a bubble!  Better to burst the bubble, step out, and listen to those around you.  Openness is a discipline, a way of loving others, a grace.

Prayer is a way of being open to God.  When we pray we put ourselves into perspective.  God is bigger than our momentary concerns.  We make space in the silence to listen and to think.  We acknowledge our finitude, our limitedness, our need of grace.

We can all be “chosen” in the way that Francis of Assisi, and others who have followed the spiritual way,  felt chosen by God.  It was part of Francis’ humility that he often described himself as “foolish” and “poor”.  It means we feel a sense of belovedness, a personal sense of meaning, of being loved by God.

Openness, then, can develop your sense of self-worth, that you are loved just for being a being created by God, living in an amazing universe.

Openness is enough.

Listening for the Stillness


For the stillness



Do you hear?


Go deeper

Than thoughts


Of the



To the quietness

Of a universe


Still being



God’s force



And silent

And kind.


Inspired byhttps://www.patheos.com/blogs/strategicmonk/2019/02/05/listening-to-sacred-stillness-the-language-of-stillness/