Contemplative Heart, The

Overview

James Finley’s reflections on contemplative living have their origins in the five years he lived at the cloistered Trappist monastery, studying with Thomas Merton. But they are not only for the monk. Finley’s meditations relate directly to our everyday experience of the hectic, modern world.

In The Contemplative Heart, Finley teaches us how to find breathing room in our cluttered lives. He reveals the divine in the mundane and offers remedies ...

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Overview

James Finley’s reflections on contemplative living have their origins in the five years he lived at the cloistered Trappist monastery, studying with Thomas Merton. But they are not only for the monk. Finley’s meditations relate directly to our everyday experience of the hectic, modern world.

In The Contemplative Heart, Finley teaches us how to find breathing room in our cluttered lives. He reveals the divine in the mundane and offers remedies to soothe stress and allow mindful living in the present moment.

Difficult as it may seem, a contemplative life is possible in today’s world. In fact, it is essential to remain grounded in the meaning and value of our lives beyond what we produce and achieve. The Contemplative Heart maps a path for the journey to insight and self-transformation.

Finley offers guidelines for meditative practices that promote self-reflection. He shows how to include contemplative influences in our lives and root out those that hinder the process.

Each chapter of The Contemplative Heart serves as a "dance lesson" for life. God never said, "Let there be rush hours." But Psalm 46:10 does say, "Be still and know that I am God." Finley shares the lessons he has carried from the monastery to help us discover instruction for contemplative living deep in our individual situations.

The Contemplative Heart is not for believers alone. Non-believers often feel equally lost in the swirl of expectations the world imposes on them. Finley teaches everyone how to navigate these external circumstances without neglecting our internal needs--a lesson too often ignored until facing death. The Contemplative Heart helps us seek a more reflective way of life. The Contemplative Heart teaches us how to live.

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Editorial Reviews

Internet Bookwatch
The Contemplative Heart shows us how to find breathing room in our cluttered daily lives. For five years James Finley lived at the cloistered Trappist monastery where he studied with Thomas Merton. Finley's meditations relate directly to our everyday experience of the hectic, modern world and the necessity to remain grounded in the meaning and value of our lives beyond what we produce, consume, and achieve. Finley offers guidelines for meditative practices that promote self-reflection, and shows how to include contemplative influences in our lives, while rooting out those that hinder the process. The Contemplative Heart is highly recommended reading for anyone needing to find tranquility in the midst of confusion, silence in the noise of the world, and personal spirituality within the framework of a secular life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893732100
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 1,004,772
  • Product dimensions: 0.48 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

From the back cover:
It is possible to live a contemplative life in today's world.

James Finley recognizes the depth and range of today's spiritual yearning and refuses to settle for anything but its most profound possibilities.

He opens our everyday living to the contemplative traditions, practices, and teaching that have been traditionally the preserve of the monk, and he does so without diluting them.

He makes us realize that wherever we live, whatever we do, the richest possibilities of a contemplative life are within our reach—that they are in fact what we have been searching for all along.

He shows us how to:

  • discover our contemplative practices.
  • find our contemplative community and enter it.
  • find our contemplative teaching and follow it.
The Contemplative Heart is a deeply satisfying contemplative book about contemplation.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
A Note to the Reader 8
Part 1 A Contemplative Vision of Life 11
1 Seeking a More Contemplative Way of Life 13
2 The Divinity of What Just Is 23
3 Ignorance 29
Part 2 Find Your Contemplative Practice and Practice It 43
4 Discovering Your Contemplative Practices 45
5 Meditation 51
Sit Still 53
Sit Straight 61
Eyes Closed or Lowered Toward the Ground 73
Hands in a Comfortable or Meaningful Position 83
Slow, Deep, Natural Breathing 84
Present, Open, and Awake, Neither Clinging to nor Rejecting Anything 93
Repetition of a Word or Phrase 105
Compassion 111
Walking Meditation 117
Part 3 Find Your Contemplative Community and Enter It 131
6 Instances of Contemplative Community 133
7 The Developmental Revelations of Contemplative Community 151
Part 4 Find Your Contemplative Teaching and Follow It 175
8 Discerning That Which Enhances 177
9 Discerning That Which Hinders 199
Notes 220
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