Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Christian meditation

On the train to Lugano (for a second impact investing conference this month), I was reading James Finlay's 'Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God'.

A student of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, at the Gethsemani monastery, he eventually left the monastery and became a clinical psychologist and counsellor. He has a unique writing style that evokes the state of being he is seeking to describe.

Its circling, repeating of its themes can, on first encounter, feel repetitive and yet they allow you to feel your way into the reality of meditation. The quietly sitting in open, vulnerability to the presence of God in stillness. The mind's continuous attempt to elude this presence, rooted in its ego's distractions. The continuing invitation of the God who loves us into being and wants to bring us into the full realisation of the union with all things that this loving makes possible for us.

It is a book of arresting image and his use of representative voices from the tradition is brilliant. It is not the first book I would recommend to a beginner but undoubtedly the second at the moment the practitioner begins to taste and see the reality of silence and how through it God restores us to our loving image as god's image.

It, also, beautifully captures the natural normality of this - meditation brings us to a recognition that we, with all our frailties, are the subject of God's love - not some hoped for perfection. We meet holiness in the wholeness of everyday life.


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