Registered Charity Change
For a short while, the registered charities WCCM in the UK and Christian Meditation Trust (UK) are existing side by side, under the auspices of the same Trustees. Eventually all the assets of CMT(UK) will be transferred to WCCM in the UK and CMT(UK) will close down. For clarity and for the time being this means that whether you see the name CMT(UK) or WCCM in the UK on this website, you are relating with the same community.
What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation is simple, being simple means being ourselves. It means passing beyond self consciousness, self analysis and self rejection. Meditation is a universal spiritual practice which guides us into this state of prayer, into the prayer of Christ. It brings us to silence, stillness and simplicity by a means that is itself silent, still and simple.Laurence Freeman Your Daily Practice
The method involves the repetition of a single word faithfully and lovingly during the time of meditation. This is a very ancient Christian way of prayer that was recovered for modern Christians by the Benedictine monk John Main (1926 -1982).
John Main recovered this way of bringing the mind to rest in the heart through his study of the teachings of the first Christian monks, the Desert Fathers, and of John Cassian (4th century AD). It is in the same tradition as The Cloud of Unknowing, written in England in the 14th century.
John Main's legacy inspired the formation of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), and his work is being carried on by Father Laurence Freeman, also a Benedictine monk. The WCCM continues John Main’s vision of restoring the contemplative dimension to the common life of Christians and engaging in the common ground shared with the secular world and other religions.
The Community has its International Centre in Bonnevaux, France, but is a 'monastery without walls', a family of national and emerging communities in over a hundred countries, each with local Christian meditation groups, supporting meditators on a weekly or monthly basis, in homes, parishes, offices, hospitals, prisons, schools and colleges - pretty well everywhere that people live and seek. The World Community is ecumenical and promotes unity through its dialogue with both Christian churches and other faiths.
To communicate and nurture meditation as passed on through the teaching of John Main in the Christian Tradition in the spirit of serving the unity of all. WCCM Mission Statement
Individual meditators and groups can offer a range of support for those enquiring about Christian meditation. For local groups, see Search UK Christian Meditation Groups or contact your local group leader or regional coordinator.
This website provides information about the WCCM UK community. For information about the work of the communities in other parts of the world, see www.wccm.org.
An animated video introducing meditation
We are very happy to launch this short film on what is Christian Meditation and how to meditate - a generous gift by Paul Demeyer, a meditator based in the United States.
Essential Teaching Weekends
This workshop helps to deepen our practice and build confidence in talking about meditation and sharing the gift and so we encourage all group leaders and regional coordinators to attend at some point. The online course provides an alternative for those who would find it difficult to attend a weekend and we are currently looking at how we can be even more flexible in offering the Essential Teaching.
We have a residential course at The Briery, Ilkley 1 - 3 October (flyer here), another planned at St. Columba’s, Woking in March 2022 with an online course later in the year so if you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who is now taking care of all the School of Meditation enquiries for us, to request an application form.
School of Meditation Co-ordinator
WCCM in the UK
Attention and Love is the latest 'CD' in the Meditatio Talks Series.
These talks reflect on the meaning of attention because attention is at the centre of human meaning, Laurence Freeman says. In moments of crisis, as during the present pandemic, what really matters is our encounter with love through the attention we receive. Meditation is a way of exercising our muscle of attention.
Newsletters - 2021 Issue 2
The second 2021 issue of the UK Newsletter Meditation News and the international WCCM Newsletter are now available here as a PDF download. We expect printed copies should be with subscribers by the middle of August (updated 6 August).
The online edition is published as soon as it is completed and is normally available several weeks before the printed copies! If you would like to be notified when it is on the website, please contact the UK Office (email: email@example.com) and ask to be added to the Newsletter email distribution list.
In Meditation News Richard Broughton takes a look at how Our WCCM in the UK Community fits in with WCCM International and there is a short note on the changes to fonts and colours which WCCM have introduced and over time will find their way in our publications and communications. There is news from the UK School of Meditation about how they are planning to restart teaching face-to-face while continuing the successful online course and we say farewell to Paul Swinhoe, a long standing active member of our community.
Bob Morley has an article on Eckhart Tolle from the Cumbria community's Living with the Mystics talks; Roger Layet looks at different aspects of being In Relation; and in Mind Melds Science and Spirit Shelagh Layet summarises a webinar given by Don MacGregor, author of 'Blue Sky God' and the 'Wisdom' series of book, and well known in our community. Raymond Lamb provides us with a summary of a talk on The Poetry of Lectio Divina that he gave to an Oblate Community 'Benedict's Well' meeting and if you want to practice you need look no further than the poem Study to be Quiet by Anne Boileau.
There are updates to Oblate and Community events and the Contacts pages and information about some WCCM online meetings that are of particular interest in the UK.
Fr Laurences letter in WCCM Newsletter reflects on 30 years of Spreading the Revolutionary Seeds of Meditation as we look forward to the anniversary of the founding of WCCM in September 1991 and the online John Main Seminar 2021 which will celebrate the past, future and joy of living in the present moment - information and registration for the seminar are here.
Other articles include Contemplation and the Fires of Climate Crisis , a deeply personal view of the Australian bush fires by Linda Chapman; a report on the International Oblate Retreat in July by Eileen Dutt; and a review of Contemplative Leaders, a collection of reflections by some members of the secular Bonnevaux Meditation Group (BMG). Carina Conte, national coordinator for Uraguay is this issue's meditator In Focus.
The final newsletter this year will be available in early October. The last date for submitting articles and events for Meditation News is 1 September.
About Christian meditation
Why Christians Meditate
Most Christian people know very well that prayer is not just asking God, or Jesus, for help in times of need, danger or distress, although that is not a bad start. Balanced Christian prayer also includes thanksgiving for blessings received, of which the public expression is Eucharist (for thanksgiving is what Eucharist means). This naturally leads to adoration of God, and to interceding for others as much as praying for ourselves. Very often Christian prayer may begin with a simple recognition of failure or sin, and so include owning up to our failures (confession) and a resolution to make amends or do better in future. These five aspects of prayer are sometimes summed up by the acronym PACTS (Petition, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
But this is by no means all that is meant by Christian prayer.
The Stages of the Meditation Journey
Meditation is a way of breaking through from a world of illusion into the pure light of realityJohn Main
The world of illusion that John Main refers to in this statement is the world we build up out of our thoughts. Many of us equate who we are with what we think. Who do you think you are? The image we have of ourselves, the image we have of others, and the world we live in is made up out of thoughts: our own thoughts and, often, the thoughts of others we have unthinkingly made our own.
Meditation and Spirituality
True seekers and travellers into the realms of spirit will inevitably discover that at the heart of any serious spiritual tradition there exists a deep, inner path which is contemplative in nature. Within the contemplative core, there are also recognised stages of spiritual life and growth which the traveller encounters, and is hopefully helped to embrace, as their journey of pilgrimage to the centre continues.
In this respect, contemplation, or meditation, is very far from being just a Christian thing - it is the essential key to all deep and true spirituality and the ultimate answer to all unreality. To quote Rowan Williams, 'To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need to live truthfully, honestly and lovingly - and is therefore a deeply revolutionary matter'.
Mindfulness and Christian Meditation
Mindfulness and Christian Meditation are both widely practised nowadays and have much in common. We are all aware of the stress and bustle of modern life and seek some escape into a state of peace or freedom from stress. We might be aware that we can find this within ourselves in special moments. Through the meditation practices of Mindfulness and Christian Meditation we can find a way of stabilising these special moments and integrating them into our daily life. For some who have followed a Mindfulness course it may be important to develop this in a way which acknowledges the spiritual and they may choose to do this through Christian Meditation.
More on Christian Meditation and Mindfulness
Having written previously about the similarities between Christian meditation and mindfulness – what they hold in common – I feel moved to complete the picture by saying something about what distinguishes them.
Mindfulness, which derives from Buddhism, exists in many forms and is practised in different ways. It has for example been taken up by the NHS to help support people who are emerging from episodes of depression and help prevent relapse. Others may seek to practise Mindfulness to achieve better mental clarity, to ease pressure in a stressful world, or to find a better balance in their lives.
The Complementary Arts of Infinite Tai Chi and Christian Meditation
Be still like a mountain and flow like a great riverTaoist Proverb
If you're looking for a way to reduce stress, consider Tai Chi. It is sometimes described as "meditation in motion" because it promotes serenity through gentle movements, connecting the mind and body and setting the spirit free in dance like expression. Originally developed in ancient China for self-defence, Tai Chi and its sister practice of Chi Kung ( energy cultivation ) evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now predominantly used in the West for stress reduction and to help a variety of other health conditions.
Yoga and Christian Meditation
The practice of Yoga predates Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism and this path to wholeness has been interpreted over the centuries and throughout the world in many different ways. You may attend a class where there are candles, joss sticks, chanting and references to ancient Hindu texts. The teacher may talk of his or her own guru and the lineage of their tradition. On the other hand, you may be in a very hot room doing very strenuous exercise. Of course, there is every variation in between. It is important to find a class where you are comfortable and at ease, both physically and spiritually and where the discipline supports your own journey to wholeness.