Saturday, February 9, 2013

When traditions come home

In the last years, ever since I became  involved with Nonviolent Communication, I have been learning more  about mindfulness, being in the present and the practice of meditation. It feels very true to me, I believe it is a part of a good quality life. But there has always been this inkling that to integrate it on a deeper level I need to find a missing piece. 

I guess was trying to understand how I could relate to the spiritual source of mindfulness and meditation, which  for me echoes from the traditions of Zen and Buddhism.  As little as I know of this tradition I feel respect for it, but it is not quite my own.  Although there are  authors and teachers I can call my own: Barry Magrid, Thich Nhat Hanh and lately Leo Babauta. Then there is Antony De Mello and Thomas Merton who loved both of these worlds and weaved their teachings  out of what is best about them. But to hear Fr. Laurence Freeman, here in Warsaw, speak of meditation from the Christian perspective and guide us through an exercise, has made this more alive for me, that there is a deep link with what I know. 

The way he spoke of meditation and mindfulness was not "we Christians can also do meditation so we are not worse than anybody else". He spoke of meditation as something that has been practiced from the very beginning of Christian contemplation.  It's not a fad  or an experiment, but coming home. 

Of course the wording "Christian meditation" has its weakness. Meditation in the Christian tradition is a form of prayer, and thus it has its unique meaning, but at the same time meditation is a meditation. The core of paying attention, being here and now is simply what it is. 

Fr. Laurence Freeman speaking of paying attention- very beautiful to me, and it can be listened by anybody.

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