CONTEMPLATION AND ACTION

by contemplativeinquiry

I’ve been thinking about action and contemplation – and their relationship. I think they belong together. Both modes are engaged. Neither is passive or indifferent.  I am coming to see them as qualities that arise together and remain interdependent, rather like the paired opposites described in the Tao Te Ching:

For being and non-being arise together

Hard and easy complete each other

Long and short shape each other

High and low depend on each other

Note and voice make the music together

In progressive Christian circles, this kind of relationship is demonstrated in organisations such as Richard Rohr’s Centre for Action and Contemplation. Andrew Harvey would be another example.  In my ‘contemplative Druidry’ home group, I’ve noticed that a high proportion of the members are politically and socially engaged (mostly in the kind of causes currently packaged as ‘Green’). And I’ve also noticed that these different commitments support each other, rather than getting in each other’s way. On the one side it’s something about self-care, time for refreshment and renewal , and remembering to pause a little, able to maintain a spacious rather than frantic or tunnel-visioned awareness. On the other side it’s about enacting our interconnectedness and service, our commitment to the life of the world.  Right now it’s nudging me in the direction of activity.

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