Thursday evenings at First Presbyterian
We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in June and July 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 doing a contemplative listening book reading. We are currently reading short sections from a book by Pema Chodron, The Pocket Pema Chodron.
June Retreat Day
Saturday, June 27, 2015
9:00 am -3:00 pm
In the Fellowship Hall
Rev. 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 reading from the Heart Sutra, time for lunch in silence, Tai Chi, 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.
Ongoing Hei’s Tai Chi class at Oldemeyer
Center (Tu/Thur at 10:30 am)
Summary of May’s Retreat Day
Susan Raab led our retreat day presentation on the topic of forgiveness. Susan walked us through the three phases of forgiveness, talked about why we need to forgive, and introduced us to a worksheet tool to help us identify the “unenforceable rules” (high expectations) we place on ourselves and others that set us up to experience the deep pain of betrayal, abandonment and rejection. We looked at specific issues in our own lives and were able to see a little more clearly the part we play in holding forgiveness at bay. This also led to a lightness in the group and we shared a lot of laughter around our common humanness.
In summary, the three phases of forgiveness are: 1. Hurt and suffering, 2. Our response to the hurt and 3. The healing phase.
The hurt is caused by the disparity we experience between our attachment to the way we want things to be (our expectations or unenforceable rules) and the way things actually are (reality). Our response to the hurtful experience can range from holding on to our expectations (in which we retell the story with its accompanying emotions over and over) to the gift of seeing things as they actually are and letting the hurt go. How do we know we have healed from our hurt and have forgiven another? When we are able to wish the other well. When we are able to be with or think of the other without retelling our grievance story and restarting our emotional reaction. In my life, I have found that this stage may take time. Sometimes I don’t want to wish the other well, sometimes I’m not able to let go of the story until I have worked through all of the emotion, and sometimes I have to wait for other areas of healing and growth in my own life to happen first. It all requires deep compassion for self and openness to divine help. As the saying goes “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. We can’t offer forgiveness without divine help.
Notes From A Deep Conversation
Without thinking or feeling some emotion, there is just awareness.
There is then no desire for bliss, enlightenment, or to teach others. Things are just as they are. In that so-called emptiness, enjoyment arises of itself. As soon as we try to enjoy, the enjoyment ceases. Somehow at the bottom of emptiness (openness, pure awareness), there is enjoyment, fullness, presence and peace.
Bring the same emptiness and freedom to each moment and its content. Then you will be happy even in the midst of suffering. Accept everything and everyone just as they are, where they are, and try to act as lovingly as possible in every situation. Be ready to be led you know not where or when. Hush the discriminating mind dividing things into good or evil for me.
Fear draws us to the center we have created, the ego self. Love expands from our real center, the true self.
Father Thomas Keating
Contemplative Outreach News