June 2023

Dear Group Leaders and Friends in Christian Meditation,

I hope these summer days find you well amidst the summer heat so many of us are experiencing. The heat waves are a difficult reminder that our world is changing. We see the heat surfacing in our political rhetoric and the violence in our communities. We might want to shut our eyes and simply say our mantra in our little prayer corners, but it seems that we are invited to something far deeper than that to respond to the world’s needs.

The spiritual teacher Andrew Harvey has articulated time we are in using the images of St. John of the Cross, in a universal “Dark Night of the Soul.” Andrew suggests that we need a global rebirth. There is something in this imagery that frightens me as well as gives me great hope for our world. God has given us our common home, and God has given us each other to walk the path towards something whole, a way of universal love. Something that I continue to appreciate about the World Community for Christian Meditation is even though it teaches us to sit in silence, stillness, and simplicity as we say our mantra, it also calls us beyond ourselves to contribute to creating a community of love. As meditators, we are to be people of hope who strive to create a world of universal love. Just as every time we sit down to meditate, we can begin again, we are rebirthed in the saying of the mantra. When we get up out of our chairs or meditation cushions, we have an opportunity to be a participant in the rebirth of our global family.

Well, that was a very preachy “enjoy your summer days” monologue. I will say that if you are intrigued to explore all of the ways our community is responding to “the signs of the times”, you or your group might consider virtually attending the next John Main Seminar: New Wine, New Skins which takes place at our spiritual home in France, Bonnevaux this September https://wccm.org/events/new-wine-new-skins-john-main-seminar-online/ The seminar will be led by Cynthia Bourgeault, Andrew Harvey and Laurence Freeman. Recently I was talking with a fellow meditator who leads a group in Texas. He shared that he and his group might participate in the seminar together. It struck me that this could be a good way for a small group to grow together. Those of us who lead groups might take this suggestion to heart as a way to share deeply in a group beyond the depth of relationship that is fostered in the silence of our meditation groups.

When I began to meditate and shortly after, lead a meditation group, I found that simply hitting play on the cassette player, or when I was feeling more techie, the CD player, was a simple way to lead the group. Now we might just as easily use our smart phone, tablet, or computer.

Leading a group isn’t meant to be only for the “super meditator.” Here is the gentle reminder we all might need to hear: There are no expert meditators, and we are always beginning. That takes a lot of needless pressure off us. Most of us aren’t educated in group process. We simply desire to share the gift of meditation. The WCCM Community has a lot of resources for us. Recently I moved and I realized how many of the old cassettes and cd’s produced by the World Community that I have tucked away. Now so many resources are at our fingertips, at the tap on our phone, tablet, or computer. One such resource that I want to draw your attention to is the Group Leader Course. I will have more information about working through this course in my next letter.

It is a great way for each of us to refresh and renew our understanding of leading a meditation group. This is for each of us whether we have been leading groups for years or if this is the first time that we have led a group and for all of us in between. Best of all it is a free resource for each of us to use as we grow in our own experience as Christian meditators and group leaders.

May each of us experience peace as we continue along the way of meditation!