Do you desire the peace, balance, and deep meaning in life that spiritual transformation promises but haven't found the right set of spiritual practices or community to make it happen? If so, you are not alone. Consider joining us for another Contemplative Prayer Session at St. Margaret's Church as we contemplate the opportunities and meaning of the new year for our lives and our spirits!
Come to the session prepared to relax and open your heart, mind, and body to God's healing presence as you meditate in silence surrounded by the warm architecture of this historic sacred space. We usually have 8 to 15 people participate in our spiritual practices group (although we had 23 people at our November event).
St. Margaret's Church offers a time for Contemplative Prayer twice a month, and we will be visiting their Session as a group. Usually only a handful of people come from the church itself, so we should form the majority of the group (in other words, almost everyone there will be a first- or second-time visitor from our group). The session starts at 6:30PM, but feel free to come in late to catch the last part of the time if you can't get out of work. The session usually lasts 30-40 minutes.
Hope you can join us!
--Glenn, Jen, Timothy, and Janet
Here's more details....(see below sections):
Here's how the 30 minute session breaks down:
1. reading of scripture or from a book on prayer by a spiritual guide,
2. 3 chimes,
3. silent prayer for 20 minutes,
4. another reading of scripture,
5. sharing of prayers out loud or silently,
6. sharing any kind of insights that were had,
7. 3 chimes to end
Our Experimental Method: The spiritual practices group regularly experiments with new ways, sacred spaces, and insights (including those from science) to invite the presence of God into our distracted lives. We are convinced that there are better ways to engage in spiritual practices than we grew up with, but we're not sure what exactly those look like...hence the need for thoughtful experimentation. For example, we've had great experiences walking the Great Labyrinth at the National Cathedral for body prayer/pilgrimage, and we've met at homes for Lectio Divina ("divine reading") meditation.
Preparing for your Contemplative Experience: Since contemplation and silence are so challenging for us, a word of advice is in order. First, it is hard the first couple of times to meditate for a 20 minute period, so be patient with yourself. Contemplative prayer is the "extreme sports" version of spiritual practices, those 20 minutes of silence are going to feel like a mental marathon at first. Some people might have to do it 4 or 5 times before they notice a change in themselves and your thinking. But rest assured, you will notice a change in your thinking eventually. Second, Thomas Keating has published some basic works on contemplative prayer you might want to order (for his classic book Open Mind, Open Heart, click here) or watch on YouTube (click here for a basic instructional video on how to prepare for the experience). Keating founded the Contemplative Prayer movement in the 1960s as an attempt to bring Christian spiritual practices (specifically those practiced in Benedictine monasteries) into the modern world. Third, psychiatrist and science writer Curt Thompson has spoken to our group several times about how meditation like contemplative prayer rewires the neural pathways of the brain, transforming our hearts, minds, emotions, spirits, and relationships in the process (click here to get his book, or to visit his website with video interviews). The St. Margaret's contemplative prayer sessions allows us an opportunity to combine these new insights from neuroscience and ancient practices as we continue our search for the spiritual practices of the 21st Century. Join our pilgrimage!
Directions to the Location: St. Margaret's Church is about 4 blocks away (and North) of the Q Street Exit of the Dupont Circle Metro Station along Connecticut Ave (click here for their website map). It is basically across the street from the Washington Hilton Hotel.
About Parking: about a block away, there's a big garage at the edge of 2002 Florida Avenue NW which is near the intersection of Florida Ave and Connecticut Ave. Cost is about $8.
Afterwards: If folks are interested, we might get some food at the Cosi's down the street on Connecticut.