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Toward Detachment : A personal journey toward true self-awareness

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This journal highlights the scribbles and bibbles written whilst in the midst of exploring the path of self-awareness along which a group of men learnt to become contemplative persons we deep down really are and always longed to be. It taught us,
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  ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET   COURSE:UNIT NAME & CODE:DATE DUE: _____/_____/_____  ASSIGNMENT TITLE: DATE RECEIVED: _____/_____/_____ EXTENSIONGRANTED TO: _____/_____/_____ BY:RECEIVED BY:POST ________________ LECTURER:MODE OF STUDY:ON CAMPUS DISTANCE ED INTENSIVE   Return Address: Christian Heritage College AssignmentsPO Box 2246Mansfield BC QLD 4122   TITLE FIRST NAME FAMILY NAME  _______________________________________________    ADDRESS  _______________________________________________  POSTCODE ____________________________________________________  DECLARATION   I declare that: • No part of this assignment has been copied from any other person’s work exceptwhere due acknowledgment is made in the text. • No part of this assignment has been written for me by any other person except wherecollaboration has been authorised by the lecturer concerned. • I hold a copy of this assignment which I can produce if the srcinal is lost or damaged.Signed: __________________________________ Date: ______/______/______  NB: An examiner has and may exercise the right not to mark this assignment if the abovedeclaration has not been signed. If the above declaration is found to be false, appropriatefurther action will be taken.   STUDENT NUMBER __________________________   REVIEWER’S COMMENTS     “AMan’sLife Journey”Acknowledgements&special thanksto: Aninner journey toward truesef-awareness   A JOURNAL FROM xx/07/2008 TO 20/11/2008 A CONTEMPLATIVE GROUP JOURNEY “  It’s not so much what happens to us, but what we do with what happens tous that finally determines the way we make our passage through life.”       My greatest wealth is the deep stillness in which I strive and grow and win what the world cannot take from me with fire or sword . ~ Goethe  My journey with the group of men shown (2absent) began over a year and a half ago. Thesemen chose to come together each week anddiscuss the things of life… of a man’s life journey,through their own hardships and victories;trusting that this journey is a journey into thesoul. Into the Self.They believed, as I did, that the contemplative waywas the way forward. They believe, as I do, thatparadoxically we cannot know God unless weknow ourselves, and we cannot know ourselvesunless we know God.Like Thomas Merton, we’ve spent much of our time together trying to figure out what is wrong withus as human beings that God alone can put right. In line with many other great Christian thinkers, Mertonconcluded that we, himself foremost, suffer from divided or compartmentalized selves. Our true, inner self isovershadowed by a false, external self, one that no longer sees things as they really are. How we can wehope to reach a point where our true, inner self rather than our false, external self controls what we do, weoften wonder? Merton would encourage us to pray the prayer Augustine prayed following his conversion atage thirty-two: " Teach me to know myself. Teach me to know You ."As we do, and as we discuss our prayers, dreams, visions and desires, severalthings have happened. •  WE   HAVE   EXPERIENCED God's ‘okaying’, and find ourselves experiencingfreedom to look with new eyes at the people, the community, and the worldaround us. Amazing changes can and have happened as a result. • When we 'center down'... when life is lived "   with singleness of eye, from a holyCenter where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we arewholly yielded to [God]"   as Kelly once said, we experience one another inamazing ways. In new ways. In more loving ways.They believe, like me, that we are in the midst of exploring the path of self-transformation alongwhich we learn to become the contemplative persons we deep down really are and have longed to be. Thisvision grounds itself in a faith in the revelatory nature of our moments of spontaneous contemplativeexperience as disclosing to us the inherently holy nature of the present moment.As we learn to establish ourselves in this founding first principle of life's essential holiness, thesecond principle comes into view as our tendency not to see the divinity of the life we are living. As we learnto live with this awareness of our unawareness, we discover that the obstacle, contemplatively pondered,becomes the path along which we are transformed. For our awareness of our unawareness draws us intothe third principle, which is that of the felt need to commit ourselves to a path of transformation alongwhich we become more habitually aware of and responsive to the inherent holiness of life.We all trust in the words of Merton when he wrote: “ This path of self-transformation can beexpressed and explored in three directives: Find your contemplative practice and practice it. Find your contemplative community and enter it. Find your contemplative teaching and follow it . ” Andso we embark on all three of these directives simultaneously, in community. We sought the first directiveby planning and, with all due diligence, following the path which is depicted on page XX of this booklet. This journal is a collection of thoughts, notions, reflections, quotations of readings I’ve discovered on my journey, all which speak to my own growth and interactions with the men’s group.I’m sold out on these blokes; each and every one of them, in their own right. I love them with “allmy heart, my soul, and my strength”. They have become for me, true ‘brothers’ in the Lord. And that isthe blessing I receive each time we meet...    My greatest wealth is the deep stillness in which I strive and grow and win what the world cannot take from me with fire or sword. ~ Goethe  I have learned that my contemplative practice is any act, habitually entered into with mywhole heart, as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of theinherent holiness of the present moment. My practice may be to be alone, really alone, without anyaddictive props and diversions. Or my practice may be that of being with that person in whosepresence you are called to a deeper place.If I’m not careful, however, the demands of each day's events easily drown out theunassuming importance of fidelity to those simple acts that intimately awaken me to the ultimatemeaning and value of those same daily events. Remaining faithful to my contemplative practices callsfor the integrity of remaining faithful to a commitment that nobody sees; it consists of giving myself over with all my heart to simple acts which, on the surface, seem to be but the incidental passage of time. But if I’m faithful to this unassuming path of fidelity toward daily contemplative practices, thesubtle awareness of the depths to which they grant access begins to permeate the very texture of mydaily experience of living. Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, fidelity to our contemplative practicesevolves into an habitual awareness that does not miss the surprise appearance of God showing up…“ Finding  my contemplative practice is then an event that occurs in each and every granting of contemplative experience in which the divinity of the present moment is realized. Flowing out fromeach finding is the possibility of then learning to practice my contemplative practice by learning to"hang out in the neighborhood" where the granting of spontaneous contemplative experience of themoment occurred.One arena in which this has become a reality for me is in my marital life. Self-transformationclearly has its moments of spontaneous contemplative experience in which my wife and I bothrealize, in an intimate, intuitive, body-grounded manner, a oneness that never ends. The granting of this experience may occur in the naked embrace of sexual intercourse. When this is so, penetrationand orgasm are realized to be not simply physiological processes, but, what is more, ways of yieldingover their last defense against the free fall in which there is nothing for them to hold on to exceptone another. Or the contemplative experience of love's overflowing nature is more often than notgranted in times of crisis; in which one is there for the other at a tremendous cost to oneself.As a couple, committed to deep intimacy; however, intimacy comes indeed at a great cost.This is especially so, as each one experiences daily pressures and the baggage of woundedness thatwe’ve brought into the marriage takes its toll on our intimacy. But, when all goes well, if wecooperate with love's ways, we’ve come to learn to recognize and faithfully give ourselves over tothose acts, which we’ve discovered by experience inherently endowed with the capacity to awakenand deepen our love for one another. We might take long slow walks together, or sit sharing whatmost needs to be shared… or pray together, or simply sit in a mutual silence in which each giveswitness to the other of love's ultimately unspeakable nature. We become, in short, faithful to thosesimple acts discovered by experience inherently endowed with the capacity to awaken, deepen, andsustain a contemplative aware - ness of love's never ending ways.This same self-transforming process observed in marital love can be observed as well in my religiouswalk, or even walking in the midst of nature, sitting in solitude, doing philosophical reflection, andthrough the healing of psychological wounds — and all other arenas of fundamental humanexperience. Each of these arenas form the context in which I am, from time to time… in momentsof contemplative awakening; which then evolve into an habitual contemplative awareness of thedivinity of daily living.It is this “awakening” to all that is life, all that is precious, all that which draws me into the Divinepresence; into authentic ‘comm(union)’.
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