February, 2012

Included here is information about Thursday and Tuesday evening meditation, an invitation to this Saturday’s Retreat Day, news about upcoming events and a summary of January’s Retreat Day.  Please be sure to read the sections that are of most interest to you.

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian

 We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in February and March 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

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 (except for March 6 and March 13).  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.

Retreat Day    Saturday, February 25, 2012    8:30 am – 3:00 pm         Meeting in the Manse (the room in back of the fellowship hall)

 Joseph Cotham will lead our February retreat day with a focus on Zen meditation.  We will have three sittings of meditation in the morning, a time for listening to a reading by Suzuki Roshi, a lunch break, and conclude with another three sittings 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)

Ongoing                                       Satsang – with Mokshananda

Unitarian Universalist Church

490 Aguajito Road, 624-7404

2nd and 4th Tuesdays 7 – 9 pm

March 31                                    MMG Retreat day

Insights from neuroscience on the

fruits of meditation

8:30 am – 1:00 pm (in the Manse)

April 21                                      MMG Retreat Day

8:30 am – 1:00 pm


Summary of January’s Retreat Day

 Susan Raab delighted us with her passionate presentation of the Christian content in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  We were taken on a hero’s journey through the first of Joanne Rowling’s seven books.  Susan gleaned much of her research from books by John Granger, described by TIME as the “Dean of Harry Potter Scholars”.

The Hero’s Journey is a circular path that begins in the known world, travels to the unknown, and then returns to the place of origin with new knowledge.  For Harry, his call to adventure comes to him with the realization that he has special powers and is able to talk to snakes at the zoo.  He has supernatural aid in the form of the abundance of letters that pour into his house trying to reach him with the invitation to be educated in magic.  His threshold guardian and helper is Hagrid and his mentor, Dumbledore.  His revelation at the abyss takes place with his journey to capture the sorcerer’s stone.  The gift of his journey upon his return to the beginning is the knowledge of who he is – someone who is gifted with magical powers.

Susan shared with us a multitude of symbols that J.R. Rowling used in her book.   To name a few, the world of magic is a metaphor for the spiritual life, and the Dursley’s and the Muggle world shows life without the spirit.  The sorcerer’s stone is a symbol for the unlimited riches of Christ and eternal life.  The underlying thread in the book of God pursuing us (the Hound of Heaven) is played out in the symbols of the multitude of letters that keep coming to Harry until he is able to receive the message. It also plays out in the chapter where Harry receives his wand – the wand chooses Harry as God chooses us.  A third symbol used in the book is the Mirror of Erised (Desire).  J.R. Rowling uses this image as a metaphor for resolution of subject/object duality.  We need to see ourselves and reflect to others in the world what we truly are – not what we would like ourselves to be or what we want that is other than what is happening in the present moment.  If we look into the mirror and only see regret for the past or desire for the future, we miss the opportunity to realize our unity with the Source.

In closing,

Ocean Blue

Drifting grey,
Rising blue,
Crested white,
Golden light.
I am not
And God is.

                                                                                     Joanne Ablan, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

In peace and love,


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