March 2014

Meditation Opportunities

Thursday evenings at 1st Presbyterian

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in March and April (except April 17, Maundy Thursday) 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.

March Retreat Day

Saturday, March 29, 2014        8:30 am – 3:00 pm        In the Fellowship Hall
A Day of Zen Meditation

Joseph and Hei will lead our retreat day with a focus on Zen meditation.  We will have an hour and a half meditation in the morning, a two-hour talk and discussion time, time for lunch in silence, and conclude with another hour and a half time 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)

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

May 31 MMG retreat day 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Compassionate Foot Massage

June 28 MMG retreat day 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
A Day of Zen Meditation

Summary of Last Month’s Retreat

For our February retreat day we were treated to a presentation of Tai Chi by Rev. Hei. We are fortunate to have his expertise, as he has been working with a Master Teacher, Dr. Paul Lam of Sidney, Australia for the past 10 years and has practiced Tai Chi for years before that. Hei shared the history of Tai Chi, the health benefits for those who practice, and the personal joy and wellbeing he feels from his everyday practice.
The first mention of Tai Chi in China was in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 960) in the Wudang mountain temple. The Chen Style, Yang Style, WU Style, and Sun Style forms of Tai Chi developed from 1600 until the early 1900’s in China, and the first Tai Chi School in the United States opened in 1968 in New York.
Tai Chi is born out of the Taoist understanding of creation and the universe. It is their attempt to unite with the energy that created the universe and everything that is in it. The Taoist belief is that in the beginning there was only WU JI, a void. For some unknown reason, a polarity of YING and YANG was born. Energy began to flow between these two polarities of YING and YANG and the process of flowing energy was called Tai Chi. The energy is called CHI. Hei shared that when he practices Tai Chi and experiences the CHI, he feels as if he is experiencing the energy that has created and is creating the universe and everything in it. He is participating in the process of creation.
The health benefits of a Tai Chi practice include:
the benefits associated with low-impact, weight-bearing, aerobic exercise
to improve physical condition, muscle strength and flexibility
to improve balance and decrease the risk of falls
to ease pain and stiffness (such as in arthritis)
to improve sleep
for overall wellness

We all had a chance to participate in Tai Chi exercises and movement. It is a good counterbalance to our sitting still in meditation. There is the same connection to the depth of silence — whether in motion or in stillness.

In closing,

“Do not seek to become powerful,
Seek only to release fear from the body-mind.
Do not chase after joy,
Only breathe out your pain, your grief, your loss.
Do not ask for mastery,
Ask only to shed that which is unnatural and disharmonious.

Darkness and day follow each other,
Heavy is the root of light
Stillness is the mother of movement
Emptiness is the source of ten thousand things.

Release, breathe, shed, stand still, un-do,
Let your tears fall into the earth beneath your feet,
Let your sorrow sink and become your strength,
What you thought was weakness will become your strength,
Where fear has been dissolved, laughter blooms;
After looking inward, the spirit rises.”

Cheng Man Ching (Tai Chi Wisdom)

 

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