/* /* Eclectic Contemplative: November 2006

Eclectic Contemplative

Driven by a need for a more reflective approach to existence, I am exploring contemplative thought from a variety of traditions, particularly Catholic and Buddhist, in an effort to find a practice that will enable me to access that "inner room" that is at once still and luminous.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


What passes for mental prayer, meditation, or centering prayer in my life right now is taking time to sit outside on the deck underneath the enormous umbrella of an oak tree that shades the entire backyard. From there, it is easy to practice sky-gazing meditation, or lose myself in the sounds and smells of my little piece of wilderness with eyes closed and mind at rest. I have now, after many years, even come to accept the noise from the nearby freeway as background noise, almost as natural - and ubiquitous - as the wind through the canyon.

Whenever I have control of the living room, I open the sliding door even if it's chilly, turn off the fan and the filter in the fish tank, just so I can hear the crickets. As we move into the shorter days of the approaching winter, the sun is crossing so far south that it hardly shines on this side of the yard at all, the house being situated below street level and behind fencing and many trees on the south side. But there is a bonus; the moon, which has been absent from our yard for months, is moving back toward the north, and tonight came up 3/4 full and misty where I could actually see it.

I imagine that no matter where I lived, I would need to make some daily connection with nature, even from an apartment balcony barely big enough for potted plants. I can even enjoy the little park with the man-made pond right next to the freeway in Rancho Bernardo in spite of the din of the traffic. It is the way I keep my eyes on the big picture, which is the entirety of Creation, rather than just the temporary dramas of human culture.