ART OF CONTEMPLATION

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Auguste Rodin, the French sculpturer, is quoted in this very profound statement describing art is contemplation. This seems true in the sense that it is not possible to appreciate art without contemplation. This is especially obvious, as he suggests when we contemplate nature and divine “the spirit of which nature herself is animated.”

It may also be said that true contemplation is an art. On to itself, contemplation is much different than the chatter (and clatter) in our minds where the ‘voices’ have little to say except to express annoying, ego-driven fears and desires.

True inward contemplation, however, is about going inward to find the still waters of our soul’s most inward being.

James, the hero/protagonist of the Elysium’s Passage novel series is a thinker and intellect but has never learned to fully engage with his heart in quiet contemplation. In the first book of the series, The Ascent, he discovers how to peacefully contemplate life, rather than just figure it out. While doing this he senses a Presence within he was never aware of before, but has yet to come to terms with what this is.

What he was beginning to learn is the true art of contemplation. I have included a brief excerpt on this from The Ascent and then listed some of my favourite quotes on contemplation. 

In the evenings after they left, there was little for me to do but sit by the fireplace and read. Interestingly, I always seemed to be selecting books on the mantle most germane to our discussions. 

I also spent a fair amount of time reflecting on what we had discussed during the day which turned out to be a welcome change to my restless life back home where there never seemed to be a right time for inner contemplation. 

I remembered I once enrolled in a Transcendental Meditation course. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to work that well for me since I was often distracted by all the beautiful lassies I thought I was in love with. But now, in this seclusion, there was nothing to divert my attention. I remained calm, my mind now less occupied with the frivolous concerns of the past.

Finally, I was learning how to exert more control over my emotions and be less reactive when my beliefs were challenged. This lesson wasn’t easy to learn while my old thoughts remained along with the old doubts and fears that had plagued me all my life. However, over time, these disturbances began to diminish as a new, unfamiliar presence of serenity sometimes enveloped me.

I couldn’t embrace this whatever it was, but I could be embraced simply by surrendering to it. There was something more to it than just a feeling. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was having my first conscious encounter with the divine; something I had never before known, or for that matter, believed in. For lack of a better word, I simply called it the Presence.

During such moments of divine intimacy, I caught, or thought I caught, an image being reflected to me, as when peering into a clear, settled pond. It wasn’t exactly visible, but more of an impression of something larger than me, and yet it was me. Or I was it? I didn’t know what to make of this mystical encounter if that’s what this was. I wondered: was this a fleeting glimpse, or vision, of what I was yet to become.

These rare, but lucid moments, came to me when I was most at peace, whenever I was able to put my residual fears aside. It was the first time in many tumultuous years I felt so splendidly serene. I suspected it might not last; sooner or later my mind would default to its old habits.

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 QUOTES ON CONTEMPLATION
 

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival. Aristotle

Contemplation is that condition of alert passivity, in which the soul lays itself open to the divine Ground within and without, the immanent and transcendent Godhead. Aldous Huxley

Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing. Dodie Smith

Contemplation means rest, suspension of activity, withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God and learns something of the secret of His perfections less by seeing than by fruitive love. Thomas Merton

Contemplative prayer is natural, unprogrammed; it is perpetual openness to God, so that in the openness his concerns can flow in and out of our minds as he wills.  Ray Simpson

Contemplation of life after retirement and life after death can help you deal with contemporary challenges. Russell M. Nelson

The contemplation of beauty, whether it be a uniquely tinted sunset, a radiant face, or a work of art, makes us glance back unwittingly at our personal past and juxtapose ourselves and our inner being with the utterly unattainable beauty revealed to us.  Vladimir Nabokov

So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant. Henry David Thorea

Contemplation is the root of awareness and creativity.  Sandra Chantry

Meditate nothing. Learn to contemplate. Contemplate glory. There will be a light. Contemplate Truth until it burns your eyes out.  Robert Frost

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. Meister Eckhart

Concentration is the creation of the instrument; meditation is the right use of it; contemplation transcends it. Christmas Humphreys

True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace. It can come to us only as a gift, and not as a result of our own clever use of spiritual techniques.   Thomas Merton

Contemplate sweetly on love, and the wisdom of God shall find you.  Harold Klemp

Contemplation places us in a purity and radiance which is far above our understanding.  John of Ruysbroeck

The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention.   Dorothea Lange

Contemplation is a luxury, requiring time and alternatives.  Tahir Shah

Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant source.   Thomas Merton

Observe and contemplate on the hidden things of life: how a man's seed is but the beginning, it takes others to bring it to fruition. Think how food undergoes such changes to produce health and strength. See the power of these hidden things which, like the wind cannot been seen, but its effects can be.   Marcus Aurelius

Contemplation is an alternative consciousness that refuses to identify with or feed what are only passing shows. It is the absolute opposite of addiction, consumerism or any egoic consciousness.  Richard Rohr

A contemplative life has more the appearance of a life of piety than any other; but it is the divine plan to bring faith into activity and exercise.  Lord David Cecil

For contemplation is both the highest form of activity since the intellect is the highest thing in us, and the objects that it apprehends are the highest things that can be known, and also it is the most continuous, because we are more capable of continuous contemplation than we are of any practical activity. Aristotle

Contemplate the good things in your life and be grateful for them. Rebecca Pidgeon

Contemplation and wisdom are the highest achievements and man is not totally at home with them.  Gabriel Marce

The contemplation of consciousness which is the contemplation of no-thing whatsoever is endlessly fascinating. It's like staring at a candle in a dark night you find yourself mesmerized by something that is unchanging yet infinitely compelling. You feel drawn into something you don't understand rationally but that your heart or soul grasps completely. You are drawn into it, and as you are drawn into it, the only thing you experience as real is the eternal or timeless nature of Being itself. You find yourself in a state of rapture, because the deepest part of yourself has been released from your ego's endless fears and concerns, and drawn out of the time process altogether.  Andrew Cohen

The contemplation of beauty in nature, in art, in literature, in human character, diffuses through our being a soothing and subtle joy, by which the heart's anxious and aching cares are softly smiled away. Edwin Percy Whipple 

The contemplation of truth and beauty is the proper object for which we were created, which calls forth the most intense desires of the soul, and of which it never tires.  William Hazlitt

 


SUMMARY OF ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE SUMMIT

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This the first in a series of five Elysium narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.  

After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.

An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality, and our ultimate destiny. 

The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.

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The following comments are excerpts from among the first readers including a number of Amazon five star reviews. To read the full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com or directly at https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews  

"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture, and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”

"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"

“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"

“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”

“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting, yet calming, experience that is not to be missed."

"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."

 “N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."

"I am really enjoying your book, it’s fantastic! It is so incredible and diversified that I can’t really explain it to other people, so what I say is just read this book. Thank you so much for the blessings that you’ve given the world!"

“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”

“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humour together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”

“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”

“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.

“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”

“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)

“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.”  (CLARION REVIEW)

 
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PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE SERIES


 
 
The Summit is now available for purchase. With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows: 
 

THE SUMMIT available

QUANTUM LEAPS spring 2020

SURREAL ADVENTURES summer 2020 

MYSTICAL ROMANCE spring 2021

HE ELIXIR spring 2022

THE RETURN sometime in 2023