In summer 2016, I joined the leadership team of a Christian meditation group that I attend regularly on Saturday mornings, upon invitation by Tom Lehmkuhl. Tom was a founding member of the group and is a Benedictine oblate with a charge for Christian meditation. Tom invited me to help at a second group as well, but I couldn’t make it to their Tuesday morning timeslot. As it happened, a few months after Tom’s invitation, I left my paying job. One of the things I looked forward to during my self-funded sabbatical, was the opportunity to join Tom’s second meditation group. This week, I gave my first talk at the Tuesday morning meditation group.
In celebration, I’m launching a new area of my blog, to archive the talks and music played as the interlude preceding each talk.
The group meditation sessions follow a set format:
- 10-15 minutes of quiet music, e.g. Ambient 1/2 by Brian Eno
- an verbal introduction to begin meditation, starting promptly at the scheduled time
- three strikes on a bowl gong to begin the meditation
- 25 minutes of silent meditation
- a single strike of the bowl gong
- ~3 minutes of interlude music
- a brief talk, usually ~5 minutes, related to meditation
If you’re already meditating, hopefully you’ve already found a meditation group. Meditating with others is very supportive — just like praying with others. Hopefully reading these talks will also encourage you in your meditation practice.
If you haven’t meditated before, I recommend that you give it a try. You’ll need a mantra (also called a “mantram”). Tom Lehmkuhl recommends “Yahweh”. “Maranatha” is also recommended by spiritual leaders. Eknath Easwaran’s philosophy on choosing a mantram is a good resource before making a decision.
Meditation at home and in the two groups has brought much peace and encouragement for me. Now, leading these meditation sessions brings me much joy, as I write them, choose the music, and share them with the others. By posting the talks and music links online, I hope to pass these blessings along.
Happy New Year!