I started to meditate in a natural way during the time I was community leader of a new L’Arche-community in Belgium. I hadn’t heard about Christian meditation yet. In our L’Arche-houses, where people with and without learning disabilities are sharing life, there was a lot of violence and depression among our new people with disabilities. The only way to calm them was to sit beside them without judging and to be present with all the love in your heart. Little by little, they discovered they were loved and precious just the way they are. This love started to heal them.
It was also a difficult time for me. I discovered I wasn’t always so able to love everybody freely. I could feel powerlessness in myself and a capacity for aggression and impatience. I felt, just like our people with disabilities, the brokenness in me and I, too, needed somebody to love me to be healed. In the same period, my father died. A wise friend suggested that I take 15 minutes every day to be in the presence of God, to lean on him and just let my brokenness be in his hands, just like with our people with disabilities. She suggested ‘to be’ with my sadness instead of ‘to do’ something about it. Sometimes the confrontation with my sadness was hard, other moments it was consoling to be in the lovely presence of God, but most of the time I didn’t understand what I was doing and found it boring. But little by little, the sadness started to heal. I could feel that deeper than my brokenness was a huge field of life and light inside of me that I could touch and could live from. I continued to make time every day to be in the presence of this inner life and light. Later on, a friend told me about Christian meditation and it resonated with my experiences. By being in silence, saying and listening faithfully to the mantra and not judging, I can sometimes touch that deeper source of peace, love and presence within me. Every moment I am spending with the silence , the silence is also spending with me and doing his lovely work that has to be done. It helps me to be more gentle with myself, to be more present to others and to love more freely. It makes me more human.
I am happy I could participate this summer in the retreat for young adults of WCCM in Bonnevaux. I met people who are dreaming, longing and living on the same level of the heart as I do. I felt immediately at home. Back home, I joined the WCCM in Flanders, with outreach programs for people who don”t have an affinity with Christianity. The world needs the contemplative approach to silence, presence and love if it is to be transformed into a better place for everyone. I believe that meditation can be the source of a more humane society.