Meditation as a journey
Meditation is a journey, journeys involve progress, movement from one stage to another. To help meditators follow this journey most fruitfully national communities organize regular events to introduce, support and deepen the practice.
There is a rich programme of such events offered locally and nationally and online which inspire meditators to persevere. These events can take many different forms.
Here are some examples of these enrichment events.
In our noisy and stressed world a ‘day off’ can mean more than entertainment break. It can mean a day in the desert with life simplified, reduced to its essentials and nourishing us with its spiritual teaching. These quiet days spent with others maybe facilitated by a speaker or with a video from the WCCM resources of talks and retreats. Maybe a physical element to the day, such as yoga or bodywork, a time of sharing and lectio, contemplative walking.
Understanding the rich tradition from which our practice derives and becoming acquainted with some of the major teachers of the tradition is not merely an intelectual exercise. It can make us more deeply aware of the meaning of our own experience. We also are encouraged by discovering that our own experience is shared by others and connects us to them. In a new sense of community and spiritual friendship. These days can be very useful for newcomers to meditation and connect them to people who have been practicing for many years.
Workshops are based on themes of the Essential Teaching of this tradition. The Essential Teaching Workshop is ideally presented as a residential week-end experience. However it can be adapted in other formats. The elements of the ‘Essential Teaching’ , which presents John Main’s communication of meditation from the desert tradition, the ‘History of the Tradition’ which describes the context of the Christian mystical teaching, and the ‘Stages of the Journey’, identifying the levels of consciousness which the meditator will pass on their journey.
There are also practical training workshops for example on leading a meditation group, or bringing meditation to children or to other specific areas of society. Sometimes a workshop, including a meditation period, is dedicated to the practice of Yoga, Tai Chi or similar practices.
Days of Delight
Some of these ‘days off’ can also link our meditation to other dimension of creative play and knowledge This includes Art, Poetry, Music, Dance, Ecology, Science, Psychology. Often a presenter in one of these fields is invited to lead the day which will awaken and refresh forgotten dimensions of our humanity.
Another helpful way of holding these days is to focus on the life and teaching of a particular mystic. In this way our personal experience can be lift up into the greater tradition to which we belong.
Weekends in modern culture are conventional ways of changing pace, relaxing and refreshing ourselves. These holidays can also be viewed as ‘holy days’. A weekend retreat from Friday evening to Sunday lunch time may lift us out of the sense of speed and pressure which oppresses us and restore us to the experience of the present moment.
These weekend meditation retreats are designed for those seeking to touch in to the recreative power of silence and stillness in meditation. They combine regular periods of meditation, a discipline about silence and digital activity and openness to teaching and the sharing of one journey’s with others.
There are many WCCM retreats offered around the Community information of which can be found on the national websites or the news section of wccm.org.
Bonnevaux offers a rich programme throughout the year of seminars, workshops, retreats and evenings series which can help to revive your spiritual practice. Learn more about this here.
A section of the ETW
Other workshops – find some examples of these kind of day – watercolor, music festival, etc