Church And Principles

A Meditation Room In A Christian Spiritual Center.

The Meditation Room Is Actually A Monastery Chapel. Soft Tones, Brown And Cream Color The Room. On A Table, The ‘altar’, Lies An Open Bible. Behind The Table Hangs A Statue Of Mary With Child. Pictures From The Bible Hang On The Walls. It Is The Story Of The Suffering And Death Of Jesus Of Nazareth. Stations, As These Images Are Called, Can Be Found In Any Catholic Church Or Chapel. But Instead Of A Priest, Two Meditation Leaders, A Man And A Woman, Are Waiting For The Visitors.

The Female Meditation Leader Asks Us To Stand. We Are Going To Do Physical Exercises That Are Meant To ‘ground’, To ‘ground’. ‘grounding’ Is Important Because We Have To Be In The ‘here And Now’ And Not With Our Attention Elsewhere. It’s About This Moment, Literally With Both Feet On The Ground. In One Of The Exercises We Shoot An Imaginary Arrow From The Shoulder Down Our Left Flank Into The Ground. After Doing This Seven Times, Our Left Leg Is Completely ‘rooted’. If Our Right Side Is Also ‘rooted’, We Will Start To Rock ‘like Plumes Of Reeds On The Water’s Edge’.

Then It’s Time For Breathing Exercises. We Raise Our Arms To ‘scoop Up The Light’. Once At The Top, We Clap Our Hands And Massage Our Head, Throat And Chest Before Sliding The Hands Along The Body. On The Exhale ‘let The Negativity Flow Down’. Breathing Remains Central In The Exercises That Follow. Breathing In Allows Us To ‘send’ Energy From The Ground To Different Parts Of The Body. With Each Exhalation We Let The Negative Energy Flow To The Earth.

After These Exercises, The Meditation Leader Explains Some Principles Of Meditation. In It He Especially Emphasizes The Acceptance Of Our Feelings And Thoughts During Meditation. By Accepting What Presents Itself, What Comes To Mind, People Can Change, Be Transformed. But Can Something Happen In Meditation That Transcends Our Senses? According To The Meditation Leader, Sometimes The ‘other Side’ Can Show Up. β€œIn The Language Of The Bible You Would Say ‘god’. And God Is Said To Come And Go As He Pleases. He May Well Come By While You Weren’t Home.” The ‘other Side’ Cannot Be Forced, But We Can Create The Conditions To Welcome It.

Looking At The Example Of Meditation, It Is Difficult To Say What Exactly Is Christian About It. Central Are The Body, Breathing, Silence, Attention To The Here And Now. As Such, These Forms Of Meditation Primarily Provide A Way For People To Live Consciously, To Become Aware Of Themselves And Their Feelings. But Also To Put Themselves In Touch With Their Social And Natural Environment. This Way Of Acting Is Indeed Inspired By Christian Notions. This Is Reflected, For Example, In The Rule Of The Benedictine Monks In Which Life In The Here And Now And Focused Attention For The Things Around Us Are Emphasized.

However, The Mediation Course Also Ties In With Ideas From Other Religious Traditions, Such As Buddhism. There Is Therefore A Clear Openness Among Visitors To Spiritual Centers And In The Centers Themselves To Also Work With Inspiration From Other Philosophies Of Life. In That Respect, There Is A Fairly Large Overlap With Another And Much Larger Circuit Of Spiritual Centers, Which Are Often Referred To By The Term ‘new Age’ Or ‘alternative Spirituality’ – Also A Product Of The Emancipation Wave Of The 1960s.

Like Their Alternative Colleagues, Christian Centers Respond To The Fact That People Do Not Feel Bound To Religious Institutions, But Want To Discover A Personal Meaning In Their Own Way. Many Meditation Courses Leave That Space To People By Offering Them Simple Exercises, Without Attaching Too Many Meanings To Them.

God Can Suddenly Appear In Meditation, But That Is Not Self-Evident And It Is Ultimately More Obvious That People Come Into Contact With Themselves And Their Own Experiences Through This Spirituality. Whether They Still Want To Call It God Is Seen As Their Own Business. As Such, Christian Spirituality Offers An Individual Ideological Path In Which People Hope To Encounter Themselves.

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