Leaving “Winding Up” to Others and Finding Spaciousness Within
As the activities of fall gear up, are you also “winding up?” Do you wonder how on earth you are going to get everything done? Do you have work piling up at the office, carpools needing to be organized, a best friend planning a wedding for October?
If this is your life, then a little change might be in order. A friend who is in the midst of chemo- and radiation therapy for a potentially life-threatening cancer puts it like this: The Buddhists have this term, equanimity, meaning, “even mind.” What passes through your mind is held with spaciousness so you stay even-keeled and so aren’t thrown off balance. I suspect we would call equanimity “the peace that passes all understanding.” Jesus might use the term, “the kingdom of God.” Notice how many times Jesus says, “Do not be afraid?” in his teachings. Equanimity can help us with that. The ancient circuitry of the brain is continually driving you to react one way or another—and equanimity is your circuit breaker. Equanimity is an unusual brain state--it’s very new in our millions of year old evolution.
The practice of Centering Prayer, a form of meditation developed within Christian circles, helped my friend develop this spaciousness and can help you develop this spaciousness, too. The Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 4th Century are among the originators of this type of practice, so be assured that even though the quote above refers to Buddhists, this is indeed a practice with deep roots in Christianity.
There are two different classes of Centering Prayer at the Church of the Redeemer. One might be right for you!
The Wednesday evening group meets from 6 to 7 PM in the Chapel. The Wednesday format consists of
- one 20-minute sitting of Centering Prayer
- 5 minutes of walking meditation
- a second 20-minute sitting of Centering Prayer
- a brief reading from Fr. Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart
The Saturday morning group meets from 10 to 11:30 AM in the Cloister Room. The Saturday format consists of
- Review and sharing about the prior week’s lesson
- Reading and sharing about the current week’s lesson (We are presently reading Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom Jesus.)
- A break for coffee or tea
- One 25-minute sitting of Centering Prayer
Both groups are open to new members any meeting day. For additional information please contact Sherrill Pantle: firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-377-0381.