The trick is to find your vocation hidden in your life.
I recently read, “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins and came across this wonderful quote.
Let me offer some suggestions. Slow down! Listen to your life. Observe your life. Take in all of life with all of your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, auditory.
I think it is also very important to exercise your sixth sense – your spiritual awareness.
How exactly does one tap into the spiritual dimension?
A contemplative practice will dip into your spiritual awareness. My practice is centering prayer. Centering prayer is four simple steps.
Select a sacred word as the symbol of your intent to open to God’s presence and action within.
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Interiorly introduce your sacred word as your intent to open to God’s presence and action within.
When you become aware of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, return ever so gently to your sacred word.
At the end of the centering prayer session, remain in silence for a minute or two before you resume your daily activities.
For many, extended times of silence is very difficult. Do not become discouraged. Start small. Take baby steps. Perhaps initially you will only be able to handle five minutes. Gradually increase the time frame of your session to fifteen or twenty minutes. Slowly incorporate a second centering prayer sit into your day.
Centering prayer is one path I recommend. There are other contemplative practices that you might wish to consider. Let me list a few: Christian Meditation, prayer labyrinth, chanting, walking, painting, photography.
All of these seem to have one common denominator. They all entail “letting go” of the endless monkey chatter that goes on within your mind. You ever so gently let it float away. You open to something else that is beyond words, thoughts, emotions and even physical sensations.
How does a contemplative practice help you discover your vocation? A long term, daily contemplative practice slows you down. When you slow down, many, many neat things can begin to happen.
You begin to notice things with all of your senses that you previously did not see, hear, smell, taste and physically feel. You become more present. You become more aware.
You listen to someone whose opinion is much different than your own. Things no longer need to be placed in categories and labelled right and wrong or good and bad. They just are. Everything belongs. Things that once bothered you seem to no longer annoy you.
You begin to notice things you enjoy to do. You begin to notice things that you are good at. You might be asked to perform a new task and you surprisingly seem very open to try this new opportunity. You begin to have a new excitement for life.
The amazing thing is that all of these things were always there. You simply have discovered how to see them. You have learned to see with new eyes. You discover your vocation in your day to day life. Your vocation is no longer hidden. It patiently waits for you to see it and move forward in life with it.
Christine Valters Paintner, The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom
Christine Valters Paintner, The Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice
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 Jeff Goins, The Art of Work, A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do, (Nelson Books: 2015)
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I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself.
Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)