November/December 2013

Christmas Project and Party

The holiday season has arrived and once again Monterey Meditation Group is joining First Presbyterian Church in the Adopt-a-Family Christmas project.  We have received a family of eight from an after school program in a Seaside Middle School.  A sign-up list will be available Thursday Nov. 21 and Dec. 5.  There will be opportunities to give a family member a gift or monetary donations that will go towards a grocery store gift card. The gifts need to be wrapped with the family member’s name and returned by Thursday Dec. 12 in order to get them to the church by Sunday Dec. 15. Thanks so much for helping us spread Christmas Cheer.

Another traditional December activity is our Christmas Cookie Party.  After our 7:00 Thursday meditation on Dec. 19, we will share in fellowship and our favorite Christmas cookies.  Bring your favorite holiday cookie or dessert and join us.

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian 

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in November (except Thanksgiving) and December (except Dec. 26) 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.

November Retreat Day

          Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013   8:30 am – 1:00 pm                                                         In the Fellowship Hall

 Spirituality Across Generations

 Join us Saturday November 23 for a day of meditation and an exploration of the unique culture and spirituality of each of the five living adult generations (spanning the G.I. generation to the Millennials).  We’ll look at the distinctive values, language, and spiritual needs of each generation and come to understand what works for one generation does not necessarily work for another.   We’ll see where the generation gaps are the widest and which generations seem to work best with each other.  We’ll also look at the faith style, prayer style and spiritual growth focus of each generation.

The talk will be based on John Mabry’s recent book titled “Faithful Generations:  Effective Ministry across Generations”.  John Mabry is a Presbyterian Pastor and writes from the perspective of Generation X.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                  Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

Nov. 26                                   Interfaith Community Thanksgiving

Carmel Mission   7:00 pm

Dec. 19                                     Cookie Party after 7:00 pm   Meditation

No retreat day in December

Jan. 25                                       MMG retreat day     8:30 am – 1:00 pm

                                                   Harry Potter 

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat with Ruben Habito 

Thirty participants shared a wonderful retreat with Ruben last month.  We shared in silent and walking meditation, lunch, a tea ceremony, and insightful talks by Ruben.

Ruben’s talks focused on looking at stages of the spiritual journey from both the Christian and Zen perspective.  He began with the question:  “Where are we heading on this spiritual journey?”  The answer:  “Home”.  With our spiritual practice of meditation we are practicing returning to the core of our being, which is home.  When we are at home, we are at home with each person we meet and we feel at home wherever we are.  There is no “other” when we are at home.

A classic Christian form of the spiritual journey is the three stages of Purification, Illumination, and Union.  In the purification stage we realize “my life is a mess” or ask, “is that all there is?”  We realize we are vulnerable, can’t achieve our goals on our own, and learn to accept our shadow and ourselves.  (We never complete this stage in our lives – we are in a process of ever deepening letting go throughout our life.)  In Illumination, we are invited to look at the life of Jesus as the embodiment of the Way.  In this stage we hear the good news of Mark 1:11 – “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased”.  This good news is enlightenment in that we awake to the realization that we are already at home.  There are no conditions to the love God has for us.  The third stage of the spiritual journey is Union.  In this stage we enter deeply into the place where we are one with everyone and everything.  In the Zen tradition this is expressed in the figure of Kwan Yin – the embodiment of compassion.  Kwan Yin is the one who hears the sounds of the world and becomes those sounds.  In Kwan Yin the hearer and the sounds are no longer separate.  She is the one who suffers alongside the suffering. When we come home to our true self, we are all Kwan Yin.  

In closing,

Rejoice always,

Pray constantly,

Give thanks in all circumstances;

For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you 

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

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