Phil Stone

Articles:

Joel Goldsmith – Practicing the Presence

Remote Prayer for the Contemplative

A Search for Meditative Prayer

Wisdom School with Cynthia Bourgeault

The Contemplative Journey – Finding God Within

Creative Meditation – Can Tress Speak?

The Path – Going Deeper at The Well

Minding the Mystics – Shalom House 2015

The Seeker

I have always felt that man’s journey can be divided into three main parts: the innocence of childhood, the rebellion of the ego and finding your way back to your Creator. Although science has not labeled the force that attracts us to relocating our God as such, many theologians call it our “divine dna.” We are designed and programmed to search for the Holy as we progress through our limited time on this earth. Just like the wild geese and turtles are programmed to return to their home at various stages of their life.

I am most experienced as a seeker in the final stage of the journey. I read spiritual books, attend retreats, lead contemplative prayer groups, investigate the mystics and the great philosophers, learn about all religious traditions and dialogue with many while searching for the truth about the God that never changes but it viewed with diverse faces by most of humanity. I am truly a seeker, one that seeks to know and experience the God of love in this life time. My journey is not about lack of faith or dogma but is about being in the holy presence of a God who I believe is closer to me than breath itself. I am a seeker!

Julian of Norwich, a 15th century English mystic, had a series of near death experiences where she believed God revealed many truths to her (Divine Revelations). One such truth is that the soul’s constant search pleases God greatly. She elaborates that it is God’s will that we seek on until we find Him, at His will. As a seeker, I am pleased to know that my searches, my investigations and even my doubts are pleasing to God who is both the Creator of the heavens as well as the Indwelling lover within me.

Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish mystic, wrote about the stages of the spiritual journey in her book The Interior Castle. There are seven stages in the castle where one journeys through sin, seeking, transformation and union. The seeking is one’s way of searching for the truth and being available for the transformational grace that God bestows on those with hearts of true intention. The seeker uses many ways and paths to discover the One God that has loved the universe into existence. As ones searches for God through different religions, prayers and books there is a realization that truth remains truth, that God is God, and only the lens through which the seeker uses changes.

As a seeker I remain rooted in my Christian religion but my path to God is my spiritual journey. Many religions today are exclusive, corrupt, control oriented and money focused. There are many religious paths to God and the essence of their truths will most likely lead you to the Divine. It is a worthwhile exercise to learn about and experience the holy tenets of these religions to see how they view Divinity. Do they all point to the God of love that is closer to you that you are to yourself?

Is your journey about trying to find, understand, and love your Divine Source from the eyes and hearts of different religions, mystics, quiet meditation and prayer methods? Or is your journey about believing the doctrine of your faith and waiting for God? Both are acceptable to God. But for me I want to learn as much about God as humanly possible. Start the journey. Measure the revelations of this new trip to your faith. A spiritual director can help. You will grow and be transformed. You will be enlightened, spiritually reborn and uncover the awareness that God is close to you always. You will see as others see; you will see as God sees. Meister Eckhart, a 14th century German mystic says that “The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.”

For me the spiritual journey includes contemplative and meditative prayer, readings from the mystics, attending spiritual retreats, learning about metaphysics and seeing God through the eyes and hearts of those in other faith traditions. In particular, I meditate frequently using either the Centering Prayer or Christian Meditation format. My intention in this practice is to be available to the Holy Presence – to be loved and healed of my wounds of a lifetime. In Francis Thompson’s poem “The Hound of Heaven”, God is the active pursuer of all souls in order to bestow His love upon them. It is God who takes the initiative to search us out. So as the seeker seeks, he can simply make himself available to be found by God through holy intention. As the poem concludes God says “I am He whom thou seekest”.

My journey has revealed the many commonalities of belief, in particular when it comes to the “divine dna”. Most faith traditions believe that Gods dwells within man as described as the indwelling, the light and spirit within. My path seems to widen as I discover these commonalities of belief at the same time feeling more excited about truths and traditions of my own Christian religion. I can now view my Christian faith though the eyes of a new seeker with experiences in contemplation, metaphysics, meditation, philosophy and other faiths. My God has not changed! My perception of my God has changed. My new lens has provided me a clearer glimpse of the Divine.

My God is pleased, I am pleased. This is a win-win situation so to speak. The seeker has found the seeker!