As I will explain, it all started with a fire. I started meditation about 19 years ago at an eight-day silent retreat, the so-called Spiritual Exercises. We meditated several hours per day in a beautiful natural setting. It was a time when all illusions of the ego would painfully fall apart, one by one, and I could go deeper and deeper and discover the astonishing spiritual reality within. It was like discovering a new continent – a promised land.
It certainly helped having a spiritual director to interpret all movements of the spirit and the endless stream of images that were generated in my mind during the meditation. It seems that these images captured all of human experience, from heaven to hell, from darkness to light, from despair to hope. In hindsight, I came to realize that if we are afraid to face our darkness, and instead embrace the distractions that the world is trying to offer us constantly, we never really discover our inner treasure, our vocation, or God’s redemptive light resting within us. I also experienced that every moment God is still creating me, and that meditation brings me in touch with an inner, deeply hidden, life-giving well. I made a commitment to always stay in touch with that inner well of life, since I had decided that there is nothing more important.
This retreat was a sudden, life changing experience, and I have been meditating every day since then, both in good times and in bad times. At the retreat we meditated in silence, but together, exactly as we do in WCCM. I find that meditating in a group is still an extraordinary experience, and the Spirit often leads us in unexpected directions – the Spirit is fully of serendipity and surprises. Sometimes people tell me that they don’t have time to meditate. On the other hand, people sometimes underestimate my age by about 15-19 years or so. Can time stand still? One translation of the Golden Sequence, the prayer to the Holy Spirit, reads “Free us from the tyranny of time”.
The secular world is by its nature anti-meditative. It wants us to live by illusion, addiction and disease. The discipline of meditation, on the other hand, leads us to truth,freedom and holistic health. Now back to the fire. During that retreat when everything started, I experienced for the very first time the presence of the Holy Spirit in a physical way like a fire going through my body, purifying and bringing to life, but not burning. Meditation is as much about the body as about the spirit, and that experience has been with me, even though we do not seek any experience at all in meditation, but rather simplicity. I have been helping to lead a WCCM meditation group in Edinburgh for many years. In my work as a software developer, I have also been developing mobile apps for religion, spirituality and healing.