November/ December 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at First Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in November and December from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall (expect Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day). Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are doing a contemplative listening book reading.  The book was recommended to us by Ruben Habito and is titled Selfless Love:  Beyond the Boundaries of Self and Others  by Ellen Birx.   Ellen shows how meditation can help us realize that we don’t love — we are love.  She draws from the Zen tradition, her experience as a mental health therapist, and the Gospels.  We will read a short portion of the book together out loud, sit with it in silence, and then share with each other.  You do not need to read the book ahead of time or even buy the book if you don’t want to.  You can just listen.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.                                                               

November Retreat Day 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

8:30 am -1:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall

The Science of Connectedness

And How it Affects Our Daily Lives

In addition to our time of meditation, our presentation will focus on “The Science of Connectedness and how it affects our daily lives”. In 1989, the Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths published the book “A New Vision of Reality: Western Science, Eastern Mysticism and Christian Faith.” Based on his discussions with physicists and biologists in the1980s, Bede described the universe as a dynamic web of interdependent relationships in which everything is interconnected and in which the whole is present in every part. To Bede, this unifying understanding of reality means that our life in this world has eternal value and leads us toward a practical spirituality that impacts all aspects of our daily lives, including how we treat the earth and one another. In our presentation, we will delve deeper into Bede’s vision of reality and discuss scientific findings from the past 25 years that point toward the interconnectedness of the universe and illustrate that everything we do can be part of our spiritual life.

Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

December 6                          Holy Night Embracing the Darkness

Soul Work Studio Retreat in Saratoga

j-pete@pacbell.net for more info

 

December 11                        Return Children’s gifts and grocery gift

cards to meditation

December 18                       Cookie Party in fellowship hall after

meditation

In closing,

Humankind has not woven the web of life.

We are but one thread within it.

Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

All things are bound together.

All things connect.

 

Chief Seattle, 1854

 

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September/ October 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at First Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in September and October from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are doing contemplative listening book reading.  The book was recommended to us by Ruben Habito and is titled Selfless Love:  Beyond the Boundaries of Self and Others  by Ellen Birx.   Ellen shows how meditation can help us realize that we don’t love — we are love.  She draws from the Zen tradition, her experience as a mental health therapist, and the Gospels.  We will read a short portion of the book together out loud, sit with it in silence, and then share with each other.  You do not need to read the book ahead of time or even buy the book if you don’t want to.  You can just listen.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.  There will be no Tuesday meditation on October 7.                                                                     

September Retreat Day 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

8:30 am -1:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall

The Gift of Life Part 2 

Our September Retreat Day will feature the second part of a newly released video by Fr. Thomas Keating titled:  “The Gift of Life:  Death & Dying, Life & Living”.  During four days of filming, Fr. Thomas sat with the founding director of Contemplative Outreach, Carl Arico, and shared an intimate conversation focused on the transformative process of death and dying as part of, rather than the end of, life’s journey.  It is a gift to listen and receive Fr. Keating’s teaching as an embodiment of wisdom and compassion.

Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available.

October Retreat Day 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

8:30 am -3:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall 

A Day of Zen Sitting

Our October retreat day will have a focus on Zen meditation.  We will have an hour and a half silent meditation in the morning, a two-hour talk and discussion time, a lunch break, and conclude with another hour and a half period of silent meditation.  Come join us as we learn from Zen practice how to deepen our silence and bring more love and peace into the world.  Please bring a sack lunch.  Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available. All are welcome.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

November 22                           MMG Retreat Day   8:30 am – 1:00 pm

The Science of Connectedness

In closing,

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.

Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think … and think … while you are alive.

What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,

Do you think ghosts will do it after? 

Kabir

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July/August 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at First Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in July and August from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we will begin a new contemplative listening book reading.  The book was recommended to us by Ruben Habito and is titled Selfless Love:  Beyond the Boundaries of Self and Others  by Ellen Birx.   Ellen shows how meditation can help us realize that we don’t love — we are love.  She draws from the Zen tradition, her experience as a mental health therapist, and the Gospels.  We will read a short portion of the book together out loud, sit with it in silence, and then share with each other.  You do not need to read the book ahead of time or even buy the book if you don’t want to.  You can just listen.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.                                                                           

July Retreat Day 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

8:30 am -1:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall 

The Gift of Life 

Our July Retreat Day will feature a newly released video by Fr. Thomas Keating titled:  “The Gift of Life:  Death & Dying, Life & Living”.  During four days of filming, Fr. Thomas sat with the founding director of Contemplative Outreach, Carl Arico, and shared an intimate conversation focused on the transformative process of death and dying as part of, rather than the end of, life’s journey.

Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

No MMG retreat day in August

September 27                         MMG Retreat Day   8:30 am – 1:00 pm

In closing,   

O Brother Jesus

who wept at the death of a friend

and overturned tables in anger at wrong

let me not be frightened by the depths of passion.

Rather let me learn the love and anger

and wild expanses of soul within me

that are true expressions of your grace and wisdom.

And assure me again that in becoming more like you

I come closer to my true self

made in the image of outpouring Love

born of the free eternal Wind.

 

J. Phillip Newell

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June 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in June and July from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are watching videotapes of Fr. Thomas Keating’s “Spiritual Journey” series.  This series is produced by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and describes the method and background of Centering Prayer developed and taught by Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.

The topics the series covers are Developing Centering Prayer, Models of the Human Condition, Paradigms of the Spiritual Journey, and Contemplation the Divine Therapy.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.                                                                     

June Retreat Day 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

8:30 am -3:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall

A Day of Zen Sitting

Our June retreat day will have a focus on Zen meditation.  We will have an hour and a half silent meditation in the morning, a two-hour talk and discussion time, a lunch break, and conclude with another hour and a half period of silent meditation.  Come join us as we learn from Zen practice how to deepen our silence and bring more love and peace into the world.  Please bring a sack lunch.  Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available. All are welcome.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

July 26                                 MMG Retreat Day   8:30 – 1:00 pm

Fr. Keating video: “The Gift of Life”

No MMG retreat day in August

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

For our May reteat day we were introduced to two experiential body-based spiritual exercises. Tina guided us through a practice of foot massage in which we were each able to experience being the giver and receiver. From her experience as a physical therapist, Tina taught us a brief anatomy of the foot, demonstrated the technique, and then with a wonderful set of guidelines set us off to practice our massage on each other. We were encouraged to do this practice with the intention of connecting with our partner to help them relax and experience pleasure. I must admit I was a little hesitant on how this would be for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised how the actual experience as giver was so enjoyable. It was a good reminder to me that my thoughts about an experience are not the experience. I had to wait until I actually was engaged in the body-based practice to know what it would be like for me. And likewise, the experience of receiving a foot massage was equally pleasant and relaxing. I appreciate Tina sharing her expertise with us and helping us to incorporate our bodies in our spiritual growth.

With a continued focus on the foot, John Larson shared his practice of reflexology with us. Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. Reflexology is a unique method of using the thumb and fingers on these reflex areas. We all had a chance to have John work on our feet. I was much impressed by the amount of relaxation this practice brought to my entire body. It was a treat to have John share his love of reflexology with us.

In closing,

A Prayer for Washing Feet

Jesus

Is it really you

   kneeling before me

   with that bowl of water

   In your hands?

I’d feel more comfortable

   If we could trade places

I wouldn’t mind kneeling before you,

   but you before me?

I can’t let you love me that much.

Your piercing eyes

   suddenly

   heal my pride.

I’m able to accept

   your gift of love

   and I’m blessed.

O Gift Giving God

I blush

with the memory

of gifts I’ve refused

because they weren’t given

my way. 

Macrina Wiederkehr

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May 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in May and June from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are watching videotapes of Fr. Thomas Keating’s “Spiritual Journey” series.  This series is produced by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and describes the method and background of Centering Prayer developed and taught by Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.

The topics the series covers are Developing Centering Prayer, Models of the Human Condition, Paradigms of the Spiritual Journey, and Contemplation the Divine Therapy.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house (no Tue. Meditation from

                                                     April 29 – June 17)

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.

May Retreat Day 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

8:30 am -1:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall

Compassionate Foot Massage

Our focus for this month’s retreat will be a group experiment in giving and receiving foot massage.  Tina Holston, a trained Physical Therapist, will give us simple information and guided instructions.  Some anatomy of the foot and massage strokes will be presented.  Giving and/or receiving a non -threatening foot massage can lead you to increased relaxation and connection with others.

Jesus washed the feet of his 12 Disciples before he was crucified.  Pope Francis recently washed and kissed the feet of 12 juveniles at a detention center.  The message is powerful.

Here are some additional suggestions for home preparation before the retreat: Wash feet, put on medicinal creams if you use them, as well as band aids as needed. Pack or wear a pair of thin socks and a bath size towel and a small cushion to go under your thigh. File any rugged edges on fingernails.

All are welcome to join us.  A freewill offering will be available.  Please contact Janet at hoffmanjms@gmail.com for more information.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

June 28                                 MMG retreat day     8:30 am – 3:00 pm

A Day of Zen Meditation

July 26                                 Fr. Keating video: “The Gift of Life”

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

Our April Retreat day featured our annual Sacred Poetry selections collected for us by Joseph Cotham. Joseph brings his love of poetry to our group and it is infectious. This year we read together selections from the poetry of Mary Oliver, Rumi, Jane Hirshfield, Denise Levertov, and many others. The verse comes alive when we read it aloud and the wisdom of the group helps us grapple with the meaning. Our retreat day enriched us with the peace of silence and the deep emotion of well-chosen words.

In closing,

Some days it’s all fuzzy

I can’t find the world.

Can’t find the beloved.

Can’t even find the words.

Time to lie back and listen.

Maybe something’s being said,

Something I haven’t heard. 

Time to stop talking

And let the beloved speak.

Time to trust it all:

To stop searching

And let the beloved seek.

 

Gregory Orr

 

 

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April 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian  

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in April and May from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are watching videotapes of Fr. Thomas Keating’s “Spiritual Journey” series.  This series is produced by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and describes the method and background of Centering Prayer developed and taught by Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.

The topics the series covers are Developing Centering Prayer, Models of the Human Condition, Paradigms of the Spiritual Journey, and Contemplation the Divine Therapy.

Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house (no Tue. Meditation from

                                                                    April 29 – June 17)

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.    Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.

April Retreat Day 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

8:30 am -1:00 pm

In the Fellowship Hall 

Sacred Poetry: An Exploration

Poetry in all its beauty and truth has the potential to open our hearts to the mysteries of life and the wondrous workings of the Spirit in our lives. It can deepen our appreciation of the simple but profound truths that are found in our experience.  We can soar with the poets who fling themselves into heart of things.  Join us as we meditate and then recite and share poems of gratitude, prayer, longing, and the timeless search for wisdom.

A freewill offering will be available.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

May 31                                  MMG retreat day     8:30 am – 1:00 pm

Compassionate Foot Massage

June 28                                 MMG retreat day     8:30 am – 3:00 pm

A Day of Zen Meditation

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

Our March Retreat day was our longer format day of Zen sitting.   We meditated together for three 25-minute sittings in the morning, and three more 25-minute sittings in the afternoon. For our talk, Joseph shared a reading from Suzuki Roshi’s book Zen Mind, Beginners Mind and Hei shared a Koan from The Gateless Gate.

What I took away from the day was this quote from Suzuki Roshi:  “You don’t have to understand Zazen – you just have to practice it”.

The fruits of the day were in the extended periods of silence. We had a good turnout for the day, and those who came shared their spirit and energy and we all benefited from the day together. Thank you to all who attended and for the support that you are to my practice. I am grateful to you all.

In closing,

April’s air stirs in

Willow leaves . . . A Butterfly

Floats and balances

 

Basho

 

 

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March 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in March and April (except April 17, Maundy Thursday) from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between. For the second hour, we are watching videotapes of Fr. Thomas Keating’s “Spiritual Journey” series. This series is produced by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and describes the method and background of Centering Prayer developed and taught by Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.
The topics the series covers are Developing Centering Prayer, Models of the Human Condition, Paradigms of the Spiritual Journey, and Contemplation the Divine Therapy.
Tuesday evenings at Hei’s house

Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays. It is one half hour of sitting meditation. Please call him at 899-4845 for directions and to let him know that you are coming so he can prepare a place for you.

March Retreat Day

Saturday, March 29, 2014        8:30 am – 3:00 pm        In the Fellowship Hall
A Day of Zen Meditation

Joseph and Hei will lead our retreat day with a focus on Zen meditation.  We will have an hour and a half meditation in the morning, a two-hour talk and discussion time, time for lunch in silence, and conclude with another hour and a half time of meditation.  Come join us as we learn from Zen practice how to deepen our silence and bring more love and peace into the world.  Please bring a sack lunch.  Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer
Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

April 26 MMG retreat day 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Sacred Poetry

May 31 MMG retreat day 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Compassionate Foot Massage

June 28 MMG retreat day 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
A Day of Zen Meditation

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

For our February retreat day we were treated to a presentation of Tai Chi by Rev. Hei. We are fortunate to have his expertise, as he has been working with a Master Teacher, Dr. Paul Lam of Sidney, Australia for the past 10 years and has practiced Tai Chi for years before that. Hei shared the history of Tai Chi, the health benefits for those who practice, and the personal joy and wellbeing he feels from his everyday practice.
The first mention of Tai Chi in China was in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 960) in the Wudang mountain temple. The Chen Style, Yang Style, WU Style, and Sun Style forms of Tai Chi developed from 1600 until the early 1900’s in China, and the first Tai Chi School in the United States opened in 1968 in New York.
Tai Chi is born out of the Taoist understanding of creation and the universe. It is their attempt to unite with the energy that created the universe and everything that is in it. The Taoist belief is that in the beginning there was only WU JI, a void. For some unknown reason, a polarity of YING and YANG was born. Energy began to flow between these two polarities of YING and YANG and the process of flowing energy was called Tai Chi. The energy is called CHI. Hei shared that when he practices Tai Chi and experiences the CHI, he feels as if he is experiencing the energy that has created and is creating the universe and everything in it. He is participating in the process of creation.
The health benefits of a Tai Chi practice include:
the benefits associated with low-impact, weight-bearing, aerobic exercise
to improve physical condition, muscle strength and flexibility
to improve balance and decrease the risk of falls
to ease pain and stiffness (such as in arthritis)
to improve sleep
for overall wellness

We all had a chance to participate in Tai Chi exercises and movement. It is a good counterbalance to our sitting still in meditation. There is the same connection to the depth of silence — whether in motion or in stillness.

In closing,

“Do not seek to become powerful,
Seek only to release fear from the body-mind.
Do not chase after joy,
Only breathe out your pain, your grief, your loss.
Do not ask for mastery,
Ask only to shed that which is unnatural and disharmonious.

Darkness and day follow each other,
Heavy is the root of light
Stillness is the mother of movement
Emptiness is the source of ten thousand things.

Release, breathe, shed, stand still, un-do,
Let your tears fall into the earth beneath your feet,
Let your sorrow sink and become your strength,
What you thought was weakness will become your strength,
Where fear has been dissolved, laughter blooms;
After looking inward, the spirit rises.”

Cheng Man Ching (Tai Chi Wisdom)

 

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