The Contemplative Stance
The Rule of Life, Week 5
by Andrea Lingle

We will practice a contemplative stance in order to be present to the world and ourselves.
     -From the MWF Rule of Life


How are you here? How are you absent? Do you believe that contemplation is a good use of time?

When a pilot is learning to fly in low visibility conditions, he or she is instructed to disregard the sensation of being upright and rely on the gyroscope. Without visual reference, a person cannot tell which way is up. That is why divers tell you to follow your bubbles.

     And that is what a Rule is: a gyroscope and bubbles.

You know that at some point, when your vision was clear(er), you embraced a way of life that called you into balance, and the community that you entered into that life with are beside you reminding you to trust the scope and follow your bubbles.

Here we are.

We are here.

The contemplative stance is the terrifying acknowledgement that God is the I AM and the I WILL BE*. Nothing more.

So, in a mad world, as we are created in the image of the I AM, we have promised to practice a contemplative stance in order TO BE.

Close your eyes.

What does your mind do when you close your eyes?

We, whatever tribe you ascribe to, find being where we are hard. Right now, you are probably reading this while, technically, doing something else. I am self-aware enough to know most of you are probably taking care of life’s persistent gastrointestinal needs or waiting for someone or stirring a pot or waiting for something to download or print.

But wherever you are, since you are reading this, you aren’t there. Since you are reading this, it’s all good, but after you are done, try this:

Contemplating a Tree

Find a place where you can see a tree and, ideally, touch it. If you can’t do this outside, gather a leaf or twig before you start.

  • Consider the lifespan of the tree
  • Consider the motion of the tree
  • Consider the depth of the tree
  • How does the tree feel?
  • What colors can you see?
  • How does the tree smell?
  • What does the tree sound like?
  • What does the tree taste like (go ahead, no one is looking)

Set a timer for five minutes and look at the tree and receive the tree. The tree that has been exchanging the carbon dioxide you exhale for the oxygen you inhale. The tree has a purpose, many purposes, but the tree stands, deeply-rooted, unconcerned.

Finding a space in life for anything is hard, but finding time to just be requires discipline. But the truth is, you don’t do this for you. Your neighbor needs you. Your children need you. Your partner needs you. I need you. Because we can’t breathe if you don’t.

And you can’t breathe if I don’t.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • How are you here?
  • How are you absent?
  • Do you believe that contemplation is a good use of time?

Reference: 
Wendy J. Miller, Come With Me (Missional Wisdom Foundation, 2015).

*Exodus 3:14 (Paraphrased)

The Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life

We hope you are enjoying our study of the Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life. This is our last week to focus on The Rule. This way of life continually blesses us in many ways and we hope that you, our Dispersed Community, have been able to share in that blessing. If you would like a very nice, framable copy of the MWF Rule of Life, you can find several options in our Merchandise Store.

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