I’d like to welcome you to the ‘Metanoia – Let your minds be remade’ Series which begins in January. Every year, the WCCM Guiding Board suggests a theme for the rest of the community to follow and explore in different ways in national communities. At the heart of this, there is a series of ten online talks by a variety of contemplative teachers in different walks of life, reflecting from their perspective on this theme. Two years ago we had health and this year we have been exploring what unified consciousness means, one mind, one heart. It’s been a very fruitful sharing of different cultural, professional and personal perspectives.
For the coming year, 2023, we have chosen the theme of Metanoia. Metanoia is a Greek word that simply means change your mind, so the full theme is Metanoia – Let your minds be remade. This is something that comes right from the heart of the Gospel. The call of Jesus at the beginning of his public teaching was to repent. The Greek word behind that is in fact metanoia: Change the way you’re looking, don’t beat yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made but understand where you are and change your perspective.
This year we have a wonderful spectrum of speakers and meditators who are exploring this theme of the changing of our mind. First of all, we begin with Barry White in January, the Science and Art of Healing. You remember Barry’s excellent series of health two years ago. We then move into education with Diane Tolomeo. David Egan, a philosopher, will speak about relationship and equality, but with an interesting perspective on humanity and animals. Giovanni, the Associate Director here at Bonnevaux and known to many of you through his yoga and bodywork classes, will be speaking about the embodied person and plasticity, that will be in April. Mark Medish, a lawyer who has set up a foundation for the understanding and the protection of democracy, will be speaking about democracy, that will be in May. Father Matthew Fox, a very well-known theologian, and a Christian prophet of our time will be speaking about religion: what is the role of religion is in the world as it is unfolding for us?
And then Dr Jane Williams, an English theologian, will be speaking about scripture, and how to read scripture in this world that is changing around us. And how do we change our minds to be consistent with that? Marco Schorlemmer, known to many of you through his earlier talks and seminars on contemplative science will be speaking about technology. Technology is changing our lives, how do we change our minds in order for us to be able to be in control of technology rather than to be dominated by it? And then Jane and Dennis McAuliffe from Georgetown University will be speaking about interfaith. Jane is a world expert on Islam and Dennis is a scholar of Dante. So it will be an interesting husband-wife perspective. Then in December Mark Carney, the UN special envoy for climate change, an economist and a former central banker will be speaking about economics, how that involves our rate of change and our understanding of change and the values. He wrote a very well-received book on values.
So these are the speakers and as you can see they cover a wide range of human experience, interests, personalities and age groups. It’s human beings who change. The meditator understands that we don’t pray in order to ask God to change God’s mind. Prayer, which more and more I feel is what is going to save the world, deep prayer, the prayer of the heart which brings about a powerful personal conversion from within its prayer that is going to allow us to change direction and to see the mistakes we’re making and to correct them. So we’re not asking God to change God’s mind, but we’re helping each other to be open to the Grace of God that allows us to be changed.
I think these talks this coming year will inspire us to do that. In between the monthly sessions, there will be opportunities for online groups to meet and discuss the issues arising. We invite people to take part in those, if you wish. So we will look forward to seeing you for the whole series. You can sign up for the whole series, and I think it will be a wonderful way of unifying the year with a unifying theme. Welcome to metanoia.