March, 2011

As I sit this afternoon to write this month’s newsletter, I look out the window to see unsettled weather.  At some times there is rain, a few moments of blue sky, and dark clouds get blown across the sky.  I’m also a bit concerned that the now swift creek may claim my back fence into its embrace.  This picture echoes the changes that have been reflected in our world this past month.  It can all be a bit unsettling.  I’m so grateful to have all of you as a support to my meditation practice.  Our deepening together helps us support each other through unsettling times.  We practice touching the place of Peace and Presence within.  We practice sharing what we experience with the world.

March Retreat Day

Saturday, March 26 2011

The Brother Bernie Story

For our March retreat day, we will watch another video of Thomas Keating from the Spiritual Journey Series titled “The Four Consents”.  Fr. Thomas defines four opportunities to say “yes” in life to illustrate a positive and insightful way of looking at the spiritual journey.  The four consents are an invitation to love life and to appreciate the human vocation and the gift of being a member of the human family.   Fr. Thomas uses a warm and inspiring story of a fellow monk, Brother Bernie, to illustrate a beautiful way the four consents can be lived.  This presentation by Thomas Keating will be sure to make you laugh, sure to make you cry, and most certainly will warm your heart.  In addition to watching the video together, there will be time for discussion and two periods of sitting and walking meditation.  Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  A freewill offering will be available.  All are welcome.

Meditation Opportunities

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in March and April (except for Maundy Thursday April 21st) 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 practicing group contemplative listening.  We listen to a short reading from a contemplative author or poet, sit together for a period of silence, and share our reflections with the group.  This is a wonderful way to practice deep listening to each other.  All are welcome to join us at any time

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.

Upcoming Events

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

April 30                               MMG Retreat Day with Susan Raab, Our relationship to food

May 21                                 MMG Retreat Day of Zen sitting, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

June 25                                MMG Retreat Day with Prof. John Provost—The poetry of Rumi

August 14 – 21                    East/West Sesshin at Mercy Center

No MMG Retreat day in August

Summary of February’s Retreat

Rev. Hei led our extended Zen retreat day in February.  We had two longer periods of sitting and walking meditation and also time to read and discuss a Zen reading, “Sho-Do-Ka” (Song of Realization).  This is a work written by Yoka-daishi, a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch who lived in the 7th century AD.  A koan in his writing that stood out for me is as follows:  One monk says, “The flag is moving”.  Another replies, “The wind is moving”.  The former clings to the entity of the flag.  The latter has a broader view, but does not understand true emptiness. The Sixth Patriarch answers them, “The flag is not moving.  The wind is not moving.  The mind is moving”.

In closing, a quote from Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.  Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace.  It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

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