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What is Christian Meditation?

 

IMG 4123 2Meditation 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.


News

 

2020 Spring UK Newsletter The Spring 2020 issues of the UK Newsletter meditation news and Meditatio are now available here as PDF downloads.  Printed copies to be posted to subscribers by the middle of February.

The online edition 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: uk@wccm.org) and ask to be added to the Newsletter email distribution list.

meditation news is a feast of Community News starting on the front page with details about our Annual Conference in June; there is more information and an online booking 'button' on the website homepage. There is a report on the National Council, our annual planning and consultation meeting held in November, along with a summary of the Trustee's Report.  At Council Richard Broughton finished his term as National Coordinator and relates his experiences and his hopes for the future.  Bob Morley, who has taken on the Meditation Companions coordinator role, explains how you can access this small group of experienced meditators who are available to support those finding meditation difficult. Eileen Dutt and Gilly Withers explain changes to organisation of the UK Oblate Community (an enlarged version of the chart is available).

Looking back at community events in the autumn, there are reports by Sue Clarke on the September Yorkshire Regional Retreat with Canon Christopher Collins; Gunhild Wilcock on the Essential Teaching Weekend in October; and Carol Broughton on the North Manchester / Lancashire and South Manchester / Cheshire joint Retreat in Ilkley also in October.

There are some Recollections of Eileen Mcdade from those who knew and worked with her, and a short message about Graeme Watson who died in January.

There are updated Events and Contacts pages.

As we start a new decade, in Meditatio Fr Laurence's letter Reforming humanity looks at how we can approach this time with freedom of the spirit and hope and yet be rooted in the sharpest realism.  There is a review of 2019 at Bonnevaux and a look forward at the Core Community & Renovation Project and the 2020 Programme. There is an introduction to Catherine Scott, the new WCCM Head of Operations and details of changes in the leadership in WCCM France and UK.  There is a report of Fr Laurence's speech at the Australian National Conference and in In Focus Edward O'Connor from New Zealand explains how Christian Meditation changed his life!

The Summer newsletters will be available in mid May.  The last date for submitting articles and events for meditation news is 1 April.

 


About Christian meditation

 

Why Christians Meditate

Meditation as Prayer

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 reality

John Main

Looking upThe 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

Looking inward, looking outwardMindfulness 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 IMG 1323smlabout 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 river

Taoist Proverb

Be still like a mountain and flow like a great riverIf 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

Finding balance with yoga and Christian MeditationThe 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.

 


Links to more about Christian meditation