February 2014

Meditation Opportunities

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 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.

February Retreat Day 

                                            Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 

                                                8:30 am – 1:00 pm

                                              In the Fellowship Hall  

                                                     Tai Chi with Hei                                                                                                      

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices.  Tai Chi is categorized as an Internal Martial Art, as opposed to External Martial Arts such as Karate, Kung Fu, or other fighting arts. Tai Chi encourages us to work with our internal and external energies that are readily available for us to access.  It encourages us to move slow, smooth, and steady.  In Tai Chi we move with an upright posture, and this helps open our joints to facilitate better passage of energy (chi).  Join us this Saturday for our Monterey Meditation Group retreat day with a focus on Tai Chi.  Hei Takarabe will be our presenter.  Hei has been practicing Tai Chi for over 10 years, and he encourages us all to join him in the fun and health benefits.  Hei attributes the practice of Tai Chi for his own good health.  It is especially good for arthritis.  It helps to improve flexibility,  muscular strength, and fitness. Hei will introduce Tai Chi from both the theoretical and practical points of view.  We will also have a chance to experience the practice and get a taste of Tai Chi.

Upcoming Events

Ongoing                                  Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer

Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)

March 29                                MMG retreat day     8:30 am – 3:00 pm

                                              Day of Zen sitting

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

Sacred Poetry

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

January’s retreat day was the third edition of Susan Raab’s presentation of Christian Symbolism in the Harry Potter literary series.  This time we focused on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.  It is such a treat for those who attend to catch the infectious joy Susan has for this literary work and the delight she gets from delving into the symbolism between the pages.  Susan shared with us the major theme of the book:  the quest to find one’s father.  This theme plays out in Harry’s journey throughout the book to discover more about his father who died before he had a chance to get to know him.  The theme can also be expressed as one of self-discovery as we all must try to find our true character and destiny.  This is evidenced in questions such as “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, and “Where am I going?”.

This Harry Potter book also addresses transformation from depression and despair to hope.  This despair is symbolized by the Dememtors that suck out the soul of Harry, leaving him worse than dead.  In order to overcome his despair, he is taught a spell by Lupin — “Expecto Patronum!”.  The symbolism of this spell is the latin translation “I long for Little Father” or “I long for my Savior”.  Harry has to work at this spell throughout the book to allow it to get strong enough to deflect the Dementors.  In the end, he realizes he has the power to cast the Patronus spell and he realizes that he is no longer an orphan but actually has much support from those who love him.  He learns from Dumbledore that love is more powerful than death.  In fact, his father was helping him strengthen his Patronus spell all along.

In closing,

“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us?

You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever

in times of great trouble?  Your father is alive in you Harry, and

shows himself most plainly when you have need of him.”

Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.  Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

Jesus from John 14: 18 – 20


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