Annual Conference details are in the News items below.
WCCM in solidarity with our Ukrainian Community and all the People of Ukraine
Laurence Freemans sends a message of solidarity and support to the Community in Ukraine during this time when dark forces have been unleashed in the barbaric invasion of a free country. In such times the necessary link between inner and outer peace cannot be more obvious. Peace in the Heart, Peace in the World - an online session bringing together the WCCM Ukraine national community with their WCCM fellow meditators around the world - was held on the 26th of March 11.00 am to 12.30pm. It was led by the Ukraine coordinators Maria and Albert and included talks by Fr Laurence and Herman Van Rompuy and a period of meditation. A recording of the session is here.
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.
2022 Issue 2 Meditation News is Now Available
The latest issue of Meditation News, the UK Community Newsletter, is now available to download and read. Printed copies will be sent to subscribers in the middle of May.
The WCCM International Newsletter will be uploaded when it is available in mid-May.
In Meditation News there is a final call to sign up for this year's conference Touch the Earth Lightly - places are still available, book here. - and aligned with that Sarah Feeney provides her view on the new role of Special Interest
Coordinator for the Environment. Julie Roberts looks at how the UK Community has changed over the past two years and how this will shape the future and there is an update on the Annual Appeal from Roz Stockley.
Jacqueline Russell provides her thoughts on the UK Community / Bonnevaux online retreat The Heavenly Jerusalem and we look forward to a summer of 'on the ground' retreats with details of the Meditatio Retreat at Ampleforth Abbey in June, the Bonnevaux Pilgrimage and Retreat in July, the Summer Retreat at Shallowford House in July and the School of Meditation Silent Retreat in Whalley Abbey in September. Gwen Hindley gives her Experience of Meditation and the support from her local group she has found as a new meditator and there is information about the Meditation In Schools webinar in June along with new support material. The is a review by Roz Stockley of Psalms for Praying – an invitation to wholeness by Nan C Merrill (Bloomsbury, 2007).
There are details of UK and Oblate events and some selected WCCM online talks and there is an updated Contacts list.
The Unconscious and Grace 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.
Just Turn Up!
Just Turn Up! the meditator's companion, a practical guide by Julie Roberts with foreword by Laurence Freeman
This new book by UK National Coordiator Julie Roberts is a walk with an aspiring meditator who has begun the journey of meditation at an introductory course and encounters a variety of challenges along the way. It's an easy read and hopefully one that every meditator can relate to. Written with local group members in mind, the UK community have supported this publication which has taken several years to come to fruition and Fr Laurence has kindly written the foreword.
The book costs £8.99 including postage from the Meditatio Centre - contact firstname.lastname@example.org - and there is also an e-book option. You can see the details on the WCCM Medio Media website but ordering from the Meditatio Centre avoids currency conversion charges.
You can join the online book launch on Wednesday 1 December from 7.00 – 8.00 pm using this link: https://bit.ly/JTUBookLaunch There is no need to book, you can Just Turn Up!
Unified Consciousness is the WCCM theme for 2022. The essential reality of the consciousness of mind and heart is a shared insight of all spiritual traditions as well as of the greatest scientists of the modern era. In a series of talks throughout the year, spiritual teachers, social leaders, thinkers and writers with contemplative wisdom will explore its meaning for us today.
Each monthly session will be hosted by Laurence Freeman who will also open the discussion between the speaker and the audience. A Chat Room for further reflection among the participants will also be made available between the regular sessions.
Details of the series of talks including how to book are available here on the WCCM website.
Unified Consciousness is our original home, our source of being, our quest and our true home.
Laurence Freeman OSB
Introducing the theme of Unified Consciousness
Father Laurence Freeman invited His Holiness to talk about how heart and mind can be combined in a unified consciousness. Essentially, how can someone be transformed into a more loving person. This talk was held online on 1st December 2021 and introduces the theme of the 2022 series: Unified Consciousness.
COP26 and Climate Change
A Contemplative Approach to the crisis
Glasgow hosted the vital COP26 Climate Conference from October 31 to November 12. Postponed from last year because of the pandemic, and with the window of opportunity already very tight to make the essential changes, it is now even more urgent that the international delegates negotiate with their focus on the needs of the whole world, and take fully into account those communities already suffering from the warming of the planet. The gift of meditation and the development of the contemplative mind has never been more important.
UK Conference 2022 - 17 to 19 June
What an extraordinary two years! Many of us have discovered a new online space where we can be together, sharing in a very fruitful way, but it is not the same as being together in a physical place. We have a basic need for physical connection.
We are confident that we can offer a safe physical place for the weekend UK Conference on Friday 17 June to Sunday 19 June at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. The flyer for the conference provides all the information you need to be reassured of your well-being. CCT is the well-established Christian Conference Trust that is catering for large groups in a COVID safe environment. You can now book for the Conference in confidence.
You will see from the flyer, it offers us all a time to be together, to listen to the wisdom words of our own spiritual leader, Father Laurence Freeman OSB, and to hear from James Thornton, whose work as an eco- lawyer, has founded Client Earth, a global charity.
We will be offering a range of workshops during the Conference and an opportunity to catch up with one another after a long time apart.
We look forward to this physical step towards a lighter future.
New WCCM Online Series, Future of Intelligence - 4 Round Tables
This series is an exploration of the Integral Intelligence with prominent experts from the science, spiritual, political world
With Dr Iain McGilchrist, Cynthia Bourgeault, Dr. Mary McAleese, Prof. Charles Taylor & many more
- 21 April 2022
Dr Iain McGilchrist along with Natalie Zeituny and Marco Schloremmer explore Hemispheric Intelligence. (A recording is available.)
21 July 2022
Spiritual Intelligence In this round table dialogue, Laurence Freeman along with Alan Wallace and Cynthia Bourgeault will explore Spiritual Intelligence.
08 Sept 2022
Artificial Intelligence - Promises and Perils In this round table dialogue, Dr Susan Schneider along with Prof Andrew Briggs and Alessandro Colarossi will explore Artificial Intelligence.
24 Nov 2022
Socio-Political Intelligence In this round table dialogue, Prof. Charles Taylor along with Dr. Mary McAleese and Herman Van Rompuy (TBC) will explore Socio-Political Intelligence
Learn more here: https://wccm.org/events/future-intelligence/
Fully Alive - A Contemplative Experience of Health and Healing
A Meditatio retreat – seminar exploring a contemplative approach to living the true meaning of health and healing.
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.