April 2012

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 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.  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

Retreat Day    Saturday, April 21, 2012    8:30 am – 3:00 pm        

                            Fellowship Hall

Day of Centering Prayer

All are welcome to join us for an extended day of silence this Saturday.  We will gather at 8:30 for morning refreshments and then begin our first sitting at 9:00.  Our first time of silence will have three periods of Centering Prayer, with walking meditation in between.  We will watch a video of a teaching on Centering Prayer from approximately 11 – noon, then enjoy our lunch in silence from noon until 1:00.  The remainder of our time together will be three more periods of Centering Prayer.

Coffee, tea and refreshments will be provided.  Please remember to bring a sack lunch.

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

April 27 – May 5                     NASK 2012 – Intensive Zen Meditation

Retreat with Ryoun Roshi

Orange, California

see attached flyer (NASK 2012)

for more information

May 26                                      MMG Retreat Day – Happiness, Love

and Wisdom:  Recent Insights from

Neuroscience on the Fruits of

Meditation     8:30 am – 1:00 pm by

Joe Cotham and Joe Neary

see attached flyer (Buddha’s  Brain)

for more information

June 22-23                                A Retreat with Meister Eckhart

El Sobrante, CA

see attached flyer (Meister Eckhart)

for more information

June 30                                     MMG Retreat Day

July 28                                      MMG Retreat Day


Summary of March’s Retreat Day

Our retreat day last month was a treat indeed for all who intended.  Patricia Merrifield shared her experiences of walking the ancient pilgrimage route, “The Way of St. James” or in Spanish, “Camino de Santiago”.


According to Wikipedia, “A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying (often on foot) to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system.”   For Christians all over Europe in the 9th century, The Camino de Santiago became a pilgrimage route to the cathedral in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. The cathedral is the Holy destination that is believed by the faithful to have the body of St. James buried there.

Patricia explained that the symbol of the Camino is the scallop shell.  It’s original may be from the medieval practice of sending pilgrims on the journey to Santiago de Compostela as a form of penance.  In order for the pilgrim to prove they completed the journey, they would bring back a scallop shell that they found at the seashore, as short distance beyond the destination of the cathedral.  Patricia wore a scallop shell around her neck the entire time she hiked the Camino.

Why do people go on pilgrimage?  Patricia shared that during the Middle Ages this route was remote, a difficult journey, and was dangerous.  People set out for various reasons:  as a form of devotion, in hopes for a cure for a disease, as a means of penance, or maybe just because they long for an adventure.  Also, there were professional pilgrims who would walk for you.

Why did Patricia set out on this pilgrimage?  She felt called to the journey when she first heard about it.  It was something she knew she wanted to experience.  She shared that for her it incorporated three things that she loves:  walking, meeting others from different cultures that speak different languages, and spiritual experience.

What makes it a pilgrimage for Patricia and not just a long walk?  Patricia shares — if you wear a scallop shell and your intention is that it is for spiritual reasons.

Patricia has make three pilgrimages to the Way of St. James.  The first she journeyed with her husband.  After two months their walk together was tragically interrupted when he died in his sleep in a little town along the Camino.  Three months later Patricia returned to the Camino with her husband’s ashes and completed the journey to the cathedral and further on to the sea.  Her last pilgrimage was with her 11-year old grandson and she plans another visit this summer.

Through the pictures that she shared and the stories that she told we could see her love of this place and the way it brings her life and joy.  She admitted to us all that it has become like an addiction for her.  It keeps calling her back and she continues to say “yes”.

In closing,


Let Nothing Upset You

Let nothing upset you:

Let nothing frighten you.

Everything is changing;

God alone is changeless.

Patience attains the goal.

Who has God lacks nothing;

God alone fills every need.


Saint Teresa of Avila

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