The Great Web of Contemplation

 In Reflections

Guest Blog Post by Rev. Dr. Mona West

During this time of “sheltering in place” amidst the spread of Covid-19 I have been reminded of a phrase from ABBA Moses.  He said, “your cell will teach you everything.”  I learned that first hand when I spent a week at a monastery some years ago with no cell phone coverage and internet. Instead of leaving the world behind, I was faced with all the fears and judgements that came along with me to the monastery!

While many of us have access to virtual gatherings and internet services while we social distance to flatten the curve of this pandemic, there is still, I believe, an invitation to let our ‘cells at home’ teach us everything. That is what solitude and contemplation are all about—not an escape from the world or ourselves, but being grounded in the midst of it.

I had a profound awareness of this last week as I was using a favorite meditation app during my morning prayer time.  The app had a flat graphic of the world with little dots clustered in various geographic locations indicating where in the world people were meditating.  At that time there were seven thousand of us.  As I moved into my time of meditation, I visualized that map of contemplation overlaying the maps I had seen with clusters of the corona virus outbreak.  I felt part of a great web of people who were wrapping the world in compassion and peace.

In the days ahead, as we pause for those contemplative moments in our own lives, may we know that we are connected to this great web, “shaking, changing forever, forming, transforming.”

Web, by Denise Levertov

Intricate and untraceable

weaving and interweaving,

dark strand with light:

Designed, beyond

all spidery contrivance,

to link, not to entrap;

Elation, grief, joy, contrition,


shaking, changing forever

forming, transforming;

All praise, all praise to the great web.

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