Saturdays at 3:30 in the Centre Chapel
“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.”
– Revelation 3:20
Christian meditation is an ancient form of prayer and spiritual practice, dating back to the writings of the desert monks in the 3rd and 4th centuries, but which has clear roots in the Gospels. We use the silent repetition of a short prayer, or a single prayer word, as a way to still the constant chatter of our minds, and thus allow ourselves to experience the fullness of the present moment. And as Christians we believe that in this present moment dwells the presence of the Lord.
This kind of prayer was rediscovered in modern times by a number of devout and scholarly Christians in the later 20th century, many of them monks in the Benedictine orders – Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, John Main.
Our group draws particularly on the rich writings of Fr John Main OSB, and is associated with a worldwide organization – the World Community for Christian Meditation. John Main died in 1982, and the WCCM was established 20 years ago by men and women whose spirituality and prayer lives were inspired by his work. Their website – www.wccm.org – offers an extensive collection of writings by John Main (and by Fr Laurence Freeman, director of the WCCM, and others) as well as information on other groups in the Toronto area and around the world.
How to Meditate:
Sit down. Sit still with your back straight, and close your eyes lightly. Then silently, to yourself, begin to recite a single word – a prayer word or mantra. We recommend the ancient Christian prayer-word “Maranatha”. Say it as four equal syllables – ma-ra-na-tha. Breathe normally and give your full attention to the word as you say it.
Stay with the same word during your whole meditation and from day to day. Don’t visualize butlisten to the word as you say it. Let go of all your thoughts (even good thoughts), of images and other words. When distractions and random thoughts arise – and they will – don’t fight them, but let them go, by simply returning to the job of saying your word. Keep saying it throughout the whole of your meditation – faithfully, gently and attentively – and when you realize your attention has wandered, return to it in the same way. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to do this.
Fr John said that the essence of meditation is Silence, Stillness and Simplicity. Silence means letting go of thoughts. Stillness means letting go of desire. Simplicity means letting go of self-analysis.
Meditate twice a day, every day, for 20 to 30 minutes a time. The daily practice may take you a little while to develop. Be patient with yourself. When you give up, start again. Meditating in a group is great help, which is why we meet every Saturday afternoon, at 3:30, in the chapel (830 Bathurst St.). You can e-mail us or use the online contact form for more information. Or just drop in and try it for yourself. Above all, meditation is a spiritual experience– come by and experience it for yourself.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”
– 1 Corinthians 3:16