Spiritual Multitasking (or How to Be A Contemplative)
These thoughts came up on a discussion about living a contemplative life. It's one of the values of our church. Contemplative living isn't a very easy thing to take hold of, though. Our first thought is probably of ancient monastics living by themselves, speaking to no one and spending all day in prayer and fasting. That kind of life isn't obtainable (nor desirable) for most of us.
Contemplation is more than that, though. At it's basic meaning, to contemplate means to think about something thoroughly or to look at something thoughtfully. At it's foundation in the same root word as "temple," the Latin templum: ground set aside for worship. Contemplation is worship simply through awareness of God.
There is also an intentionallity about contemplation. It rarely just happens. This is often why I fail. I neglect being intentional about focusing on God. Yet in order to multitask in this way--to be contemplative throughout my day, no matter what I'm doing, I must be intentional. You can't be contemplative without fostering a intentional focusedness on God. It's something you must choose to do each day--each minute.
Fostering this intentionality doesn't require that you become a monastic recluse. God intends that we do it in our daily lives. That is where we need God most, and that is where He shows up.
One of my friends at church doesn't like the word contemplation--mainly because of all the high and lofty images that come with it. It seems that a contemplative life is unobtainable because of that. Instead, though, he offered up the phrase, "Immersed life." That works: being immersed in God's presence...in His love, in our place before Him. It's a good place to start each day (and continue on throughout every minute of it).