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Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation Hardcover – November 13, 2018
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"I'm honored to have Phileena as a teacher, and thrilled you discovered this book. If you apply the practices she teaches, you will learn how to stay engaged and involved in changing the world without descending into despondency or burning out. The contemplative tradition truly is a game changer. Once you start practicing, you will be shocked by how something so simple can have such a profound effect on your life." (From the afterword by Kirsten Powers)
"In a world marked by busyness and burnout, Mindful Silence offers us both an exit strategy and an invitation. Phileena Heuertz has written a must-read for anyone desiring to live a more mindful, meaningful life. Read this book and learn from one of the great spiritual guides of our time." (Jonathan Merritt, author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch, contributing writer for The Atlantic)
"Phileena's thoughtful words and practices are like water and sunlight for the soul. As I strive to find mindful silence in my own life, this gift of a book will be my trusted guide." (Ryan O'Neal, producer of Sleeping at Last)
"Phileena's Mindful Silence is a beautiful field guide for sustainable social action through contemplation. A timely book that offers practical tools and powerful insights for a generation grasping for methods of self-care." (George Mekhail, executive director, Church Clarity)
"Phileena has provided an extraordinary service to Christians today who desire to become more deeply aware and spiritually mature in their daily walk. By providing the history and context of daily meditation and prayer practice cultivated in the first two thousand years of Christianity, she has filled a vast gap linking practicing the presence of the living God to this great lineage. She then makes this very practice come alive in its eternal power―'yesterday, today, and forever.' Furthermore, Phileena very generously reveals her vulnerabilities and discoveries of the power of daily mindful contemplation within her own life. She walks the talk, and in so doing she provides a vision for how we might encounter a profound deepening within our lives too. This is a vital and necessary book, and one that I will keep beside me in my daily practice from now on." (Bobette Buster, professor of storytelling, Northeastern University, Boston, author of Do Story: How to Tell Your Story so the World Listens)
"I can't think of a single person who wouldn't be helped by Phileena Heuertz's Mindful Silence. But people like me―who write, speak, and preach for a living―will find special gifts here because the deepest currents of awakening and discovery only begin to flow in us through the intentional, practiced silence of the contemplative way." (Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration)
"Phileena Heuertz brings together the wisdom of Christian mystics past and present with her own sage vision of contemplative spirituality. Mindful Silence penetrates the heart and mind, pointing us to return to the wellspring of life found in the still small voice that emerges when we engage solitude, silence, and stillness long enough to hear it. Phileena reminds us that to do justice in Jesus' name, we must actually be still. She taps into her own experiences on the frontlines of religious nonprofits to illustrate how our zeal for justice for the oppressed must be tethered to a contemplative spiritual practice, rooted in the life that is truly life, Jesus himself. Mindful Silence is sure to become a classic of our time." (Larycia Hawkins, Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics, University of Virginia)
"In this modern world our attention is being demanded, pulled in every direction. 'Sleepwalking,' as Phileena so eloquently defines it, is a way of life. In our culture, our sense of wonder of the natural world has been replaced by technological advancements, solitary contemplation by social media, and discernment by distractions. To break out of these habitual patterns takes self-realization and the deep desire to take a step back from this monotonous life and focus on actually living it. This is not an ambiguous feel-good self-help book to find God, but suggests practical, real, hands-on ways in which we can encounter our Maker. From contemplative and centering prayer, to practices of solitude and implementing the Enneagram, this book will entice you to be more than a reader but also a doer of its words. If life 'to the full' (John 10:10) is what you desire in your own journey, then this book will serve as the ideal road map to your destination." (Stephen Christian, vocalist for Anberlin, worship pastor at Calvary Albuquerque)
"In reading Phileena's wonderful book on mindful silence, I am reminded of Thomas Merton's words: 'To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.' We live in a society where we celebrate the violence of too much work, media, music, food, drink, and merriment. Phileena's insights sound the clarion call for the church to offer less, not more, and to offer contemplation instead of altercation. Phileena has given us a practical resource to cultivate healthy, mature faith. I'm thankful for her presence and voice found in these pages." (Gideon Tsang, pastor, Vox Veniae, Austin, TX)
About the Author
- Hardcover : 199 pages
- Item Weight : 13.1 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 0830846492
- ISBN-13 : 978-0830846498
- Dimensions : 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : IVP Books (November 13, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #148,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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“So, come with me as we explore these touchstones of contemplative spirituality: Withdrawing to Engage, Finding Liberation by Discernment, Discovering Darkness Is Light, Exploring a Deep Well, Dying for Life, Unknowing to Know.” Phileena explores these topics in six different chapters.
“You’ll be guided and supported not only by me but by these prominent wisdom teachers within the Christian tradition: Thomas Merton, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Clare of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and the fourteenth-century anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing.” Each chapter includes a wise past or more contemporary guide for your journey.
“Let me encourage you to engage in each of the practices at the end of the chapters: breath prayer, the prayer of examen, lectio divina, labyrinth, the welcoming prayer, and centering prayer.” At the conclusion of each chapter a contemplative practice is presented for the reader to learn and further explore.
Let me share eight key points that I pulled from this wonderful book.
“Remember, the contemplative tradition has one main objective: the deconstruction of the self.”
“Who are you? What external forces shape your identity? In what ways do you feel trapped inside a self that’s not the truest you?”
“This is where the greatest meaning in life is found—in the freedom to let go of who we think we are. When we let go, we are brought into alignment with the divine will, so that in union with God we might make the world a better place.”
Who are you? We are not our thoughts. We are not who our families, friends, community and employers tell you us we are. Something wonderful happens when we continue a daily contemplative practice. We let go of who we think we are and who we think we need to be. We rest in the rest of God. We let God shape and mold us into the person God intends us to be: our true self.
Loved, Safe, No Need To Fear
“Like many good-hearted religious people of Jesus’ day, we too often fail to get the good news that Jesus is trying to communicate—essentially, that we are loved, safe, and have no need to fear.“
God unconditionally loves us. Unfortunately, too many people do not believe this. The thought of sitting in silence with God is terrifying. It is in the silence that many painful thoughts deep within us begin to flow out. If we give it time, this same silence that once terrified us can become a silence that fills us with God’s love. (God’s love was always within us, we just did not realize it.) We begin to feel more and more God’s beloved child.
Contemplative Prayer And Social Action
“Contemplative prayer and social action must go hand in hand for effective social change. Otherwise our social action will too often end up being our imperfect will imposed on the world.”
“In time, by withdrawing a few times a day for contemplative prayer, I realized that solitude was not a disconnection from the rest of the world but instead a necessary recalibration for more meaningful connection with the world.”
“Over time, as we engage in contemplative practice, we become less self-absorbed and able to be of greater service to others.”
We need a balance of prayer and action. Our times of prayer prepare us for our times of action. Silence teaches us who we are. Silence provides inner wisdom. Silence teaches us when to be silent and when to take no action. (Did you ever later regret something you said or did?) Silence teaches us that sometimes someone else, not us, is better suited for the action.
“When we are rooted in the ground of being and aligned with the heart of existence, there’s a different source of energy flowing through us.”
“Through contemplative prayer we get in the flow of what God is already doing in and through us. It’s less about our effort and more about our alignment with the divine.”
“When we’re grounded in love we are less likely to burn out, because love is directing our action, rather than unconscious, distorted motivations.“
It is a paradox. We do not need to work harder to get more done. I have found that silence teaches me how to work with a calm intensity and at the same time be even more productive. Silence seems to gift me with wisdom for my daily tasks.
“Consider whatever physical, emotional, or mental challenges you may be facing, and let go of being in control. It’s not about being perfectly well or perfectly physically fit. God is at work in you and through you—even in your limitations. All that is required of you is cooperation with what is.“
We must cooperate with God where we are at. In mid December, I began to experience pains in my hip, lower back and down my right leg into my foot. I went to the Chiropractor. There was no improvement. I went to an orthopedic doctor. The doctor prescribed a dose of steroids and sent me to physical therapy. Finally, some 2 1/2 months later I feel better. The pain has dissipated. The lesson I learned was that I must continue with my life. As Phileena mentions I found that God continued to work in and through me and I continued to cooperate with what was my situation.
“Gradually, through the mysterious season of darkness, God excavates our interior landscape, uprooting the layers of imperfections that keep us from fully cooperating with God in our world.”
At one time or another you will probably experience a dark night of the soul. It is during this time that you will be challenged to operate by pure faith. You must continue to come back to your silent sit despite a feeling that God is absent. God is not absent and is still at work within you!
“I am resolved to be free of fear, to be unafraid. To boldly and humbly live this one wild and precious life I’ve been given.”
“You are stronger and more resilient than you realize.”
Silence transforms us! Silence teaches me that even if I am afraid, I still need to take action and move forward. My barometer is if it excites me and it is an action that will not harm me or others, then I should move forward. Fear is never a reason not to move out of my comfort zone. This is how I grow. This is how I continue to become the person God intends me to be.
“The more of us who commit to the contemplative path—the path of seeing, observing, and taking responsibility for our life through meditative practice—the more possible it will be to experience God’s presence in the center of our being. From that center, we can build the world we all want to live in.”
The contemplative path helps us open to and connect with the presence of God within. We rest in the rest of God’s love and naturally want to take this love into the world and serve others. When we do this, we continue to make the world a better place to live in for everyone.
I encourage you to check out Phileena’s book, Mindful Silence!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
With her work through both Gravity Center and the words on these pages, she holds space for our brokenness, uncertainty, pain, anger, and all of life’s heaviness. Phileena teaches us how to embrace our true selves. She teaches us how to truly see ourselves for what we are and to take our pain and transform it into healing ourselves and the world.
Give yourself a gift: read this book, learn these practices, not only because you need to, but because the world needs you to.
Top reviews from other countries
This book will both root the reader in tradition, and also give them wings to soar with the Spirit to deeper places within themselves. It's an important book for our time.