There is a group of people who meet on Thursdays at 7:00 pm, in our Parish Hall for meditation.
All are welcome.
The group is currently on hiatus...
What is Meditation?
According to the World Community of Christian Meditation...
Meditation is a universal spiritual wisdom and a practice that we find at the core of all the great religious traditions, leading from the mind to the heart. It is a way of simplicity, silence and stillness. It can be practiced by anyone wherever you are on your life’s journey. It is only necessary to be clear about the practice and then to begin – and keep on beginning.
The process we have developed at St. Paul’s, has been to have the leader come with a combination of readings and/or music designed to encourage silent contemplation and reflection. As the person leading the meditation changes every three weeks the meditation also changes. Our standard format though, is music and a reading, then a period of silence. Then time for discussion at the end.
Most of us are surprisingly unaccustomed to Silence and may find it uncomfortable at first. With a bit of time, however, it can become quite comforting, and a welcome rest for our overloaded brains.
I would like to encourage two main points... sit with the silence... and if you begin to feel uncomfortable and find yourself thinking when is this silence going to end... Return to the breath. Breathe and become an observer of your own emotions. It is these moments that silence becomes the most rewarding – where you will find yourself going deepest.
And the other point is the ultimate purpose... kindness and compassion.
We meditate to take the attention of ourselves:
In the Christian tradition it is seen as a work of love. Not surprising then if we find we become more loving people as a result of meditating and this will express itself in all our relationships, our work and our sense of service especially to those in any kind of need.
In Christianity the tradition of meditation became marginalized and even forgotten or suspect. But in recent times a great recovery of the contemplative dimension of Christian faith has been happening. Central to this now is the rediscovery of a practice of meditation in the Christian tradition that comes to us from the early Christian monks _ the Desert Fathers and Mothers and allows us to put into practice the teaching of Jesus on prayer in a radical and simple way.
The teaching of this ancient tradition of prayer is rooted in the Gospels and the early Christian monastic tradition of the Desert.
How can one meditate?
There are many ways to meditate but tonight I’m going to talk about traditional Christian meditation...
Sit still with your back straight. Close your eyes lightly. Then interiorly, silently begin to recite a single word – a prayer word or mantra. We recommend the ancient Christian prayer-word "Maranatha". Say it as four equal syllables. This is a scriptural phrase meaning ‘Come Lord’ (1Cor: 16:22), in the language Jesus spoke, Aramaic, and a sacred phrase in the early Christian liturgy. Breathe normally and give your full attention to the word as you say it, silently, gently, faithfully and above all - simply. The essence of meditation is simplicity. Stay with the same word during the whole meditation and from day to day. Don't visualize but listen to the word as you say it. Let go of all thoughts (even good thoughts), images and other words. Don’t fight your distractions but let them go by saying your word faithfully, gently and attentively and returning to it immediately when you realize you have stopped saying or it or when your attention is wandering.
Silence means letting go of thoughts. Stillness means letting go of desire. Simplicity means letting go of self-analysis.
Meditation verifies the truths expressed by faith through one’s own experience.
Meditation has the capacity to open up the common ground between all cultures and faiths today. What makes meditation Christian?
First: The faith with which you meditate – a sense of personal connection with Jesus. Then the historical scriptural and theological tradition in which we meditate.
Second: The sense of community it leads to: ‘when two or three pray together in my name, I am there among them.’ And by the other means, which our spiritual life is nourished – other forms of prayer, reading scripture, partaking of the sacraments, communion and public worship. Meditation does not replace these, or any other form of prayer. Quite the reverse it revives and enhances their meaning.