In the book, Contemplative Practices in Action, Doug Oman asks the questions, “Do I enjoy the spiritual support of an integral contemplative practice? If not, can I expand my practice in ways that are personally appropriate and consistent with my tradition and beliefs?”
Oman looked at 10 different contemplative practices found in non-religious traditions and religious traditions and discovered commonalities between the practices. He says these common elements “share a coherent resemblance.” According to Oman, an integral contemplative practice consists of four elements: Set-aside time, virtues and character strengths, short practices that can be used throughout the day for centering during stressful situations, and a spiritual model. Last week, we considered the element of set-aside time. Today, we will explore virtues and character.
The second common element is virtues and character strengths. In my Christian tradition, I consider the fruits of the spirit as words to embody in my practice : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. This fall, I took one word per week in the list and developed a yoga practice around that character trait. One week is not enough time to consider how to embody a virtue, but it is a start!
This element of a complete contemplative practice asks if you are incorporating something that you are working to embody throughout the day.
This year, I am working to embody ABUNDANCE. For me abundance is a way of looking at the world. It is a tuning into how God works in the world instead of caving to a scarcity mentality.
In my meditation practice, I am working with Loving Kindness which cultivates compassion for myself and others. A friend of mine is working with being Fearless in 2019. What word do you have for this year? What intention for embodying this word have you set? This is a fancy way of saying, “how will you express this word through your thoughts, words and actions this year?”