Contemplative Times, Issue # 3
The Newsletter of Meditation Chapel
The Meditation Chapel Vision
Meditation Chapel nurtures unity and world peace through the sharing of divine stillness and sacred listening. We support groups of all faith traditions in offering and sharing the contemplative experience through the sacramental use of technology.
A letter from the editor
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
~ Thomas Merton
The paradox in Merton’s words on art are easily applied to contemplative practices – the art of contemplation is the work of attention. Art, whether focusing on product or process, is also the work of attention. Finding and losing ourselves involves an exploration, one that enables us to embrace our inner artist, and to stay committed to our contemplative practices. We “find” and “lose” ourselves each time we enter the silence to pray, meditate, create, or otherwise commune with Source.
In meditative or contemplative art, one allows for conscious connection with the inner Presence, Source, God. As attention focuses on what the eyes see in photography, or tattooing skin, writing a 5-7-5-syllable Haiku poem, or creating a blessing for what’s dear to us in a moment or a lifetime, we become conscious of the sacred everywhere.
Expressing the sacred within each of us is art. We are co-creative, and living as if God is everywhere affords us the chance to let God out – in color, in word, in imagery; on paper, on canvas; in the garden or kitchen; through our breaths and voices, through dance and touch, through being present with grief.
Ultimately, expressing the sacred within is about both the artwork produced and about the process of art-making. But because art is about silencing and stilling the busyness in our lives to open ourselves to Divine presence, when the focus remains on the process, Presence is cultivated and experienced.
This issue of Contemplative Times highlights contemplative arts – art-making that establishes and/or maintains a connection with the Divine. Included here are poems in various forms, as well as visual art by Meditation Chapel participants. The 8-week Meditative Arts class participants kindly agreed to share some of what we created during our sessions this summer. Corey Krupowicz and Janice Andrews contributed this issue’s articles.
Take your time as you move through this newsletter, soaking in and savoring the words and images, allowing yourself the space and time to encounter what’s waiting here for you.
Editor, Contemplative Times
Newsletter of meditationchapel.org
THANK YOU AND WELCOME TO OUR NEW FACILITATORS!
Breath in, breath out, breathe…
Earth’s rhythm…bringer of life,
My rooted feet breathe love.
~ Janice Andrews
|ATTEND ONE OF OUR NEW GROUPS
Centering Prayer Group, Thomas Keating Chapel
Buddhist Group, Peace Chapel
Healing Meditation Group, Peace Chapel
Universal Christ Book Study, John Main Chapel
Have you lost the URLs for the chapels? You can find them at
Guitar is silent
As it stands in the dim room
Awaiting my touch.
~ Ritagail Burleson
Want to Try Meditation?
Have you wanted to try meditation, but don’t know how? Are you intimidated by the technology? We have a workshop just for you! Join us for our next Introduction to Christian Meditation Workshop.
This life-changing workshop will be held on Saturday, September 14th from 2:00-3:30pm Eastern time in the Peace Chapel of Meditation Chapel. There is no cost for this workshop or for any of the services provided by Meditation Chapel.
This workshop will be taught by highly experienced meditators and will cover the following topics:
At the end of this workshop, you will understand why you might want to make meditation a part of your daily routine and how to do so. You will also know how to meet online with the thriving contemplative community of Meditation Chapel.
Time for this workshop in different time zones:
City Start Time End Time
For other time zones, copy the following into the Google Search Bar: Convert 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time to Local Time.
If you would like to participate, sign-up here and we will send you information on attending the workshop a week or so before it begins.
A CANTICLE by Bob Brown
O Risen One,
you first appeared to women, then to men;
now you speak to us all, “Peace be with you.”
In dazzled awe we behold the eternal glory of your resurrection.
By the light of your radiance, may we lovingly take up the cross,
bearing all our self-centered ways.
By grace may we surrender totally to you,
emptying ourselves of our desires,
letting go our grip of things temporal,
abandoning to you our hard-heartedness
which blocks your light, your life, your love.
May we be emptied so that you fill us
with your kindness, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.
May your heart and your mind rise in us.
May we bestow your peace on the world and usher in your justice,
not to be served but to serve.
Your truth will make us free to share your abundance in its fullness.
May we all receive the Holy Spirit and be drawn into divine union
with you and with our Majesty, in the same Spirit, now and for ever.
Five. Seven. Five.
Dominating my mind all day.
How I love Haiku.
~ Wendy Arthur-Banfield
IN THE FLOW by Janice Andrews
Here I am, hours away from another powerful new moon (the second one in July) portending an opening, a beginning…. a jumping off point. When I began as a participant in the Meditative Arts 8-week sessions on Meditation Chapel, I definitely felt I was jumping off into the unknown.
The program came at a crisis point in my own artistic practice – I was questioning the validity of what I do, and why…all the big questions ad nauseam. I had been through this before, this “crisis,” the dreaded clouds that hide the spark of joy, of creating. My wise mentor likened it to the ebb and flow…of nature, of seasons, of the universe, of life. Sometimes the ebb takes you farther out with no land in sight, but faith in the process of the flow always brings you round again. I seemed to have forgotten this.
So, as I was in this deep ebb, Laura Waters’ Meditative Arts session popped up on my radar – on my email actually – as I already participate in the online Meditation Chapel. I had a hundred reasons why I could not commit to eight Saturdays in early summer, but the whisper of Spirit convincingly said, “Why not give it a go?” Thankfully I listened for once and found myself with 12-15 others showing up for a creative Saturday adventure.
Having no expectations is probably a good thing as my eyes were opened to new avenues of creativity. I was continually brought to joyous tears with the sharing of my fellow participants. The honesty and bravery to put ourselves “out there” with a group of strangers quickly morphed into a supportive and loving community. That the Divine Mother/Father/All That Is was present each time was so evident. We connected through electronic energy and heart energy. It was always uplifting and sacred.
The readings and meditation that began each session helped to ground and lay the framework for the artistic practice of the day. I was amazed at what showed up for myself – writing? Haiku? Me? haha…you betcha! The photographic practice that has totally changed the way I look through the viewfinder has made photography a joy and a curious wonderment again. I saw through new eyes – of the Heart. Forever changed…. I cannot go back.
Shortly after the Meditative Arts sessions ended, I attended an annual retreat. I was in a totally different space…everything flowed. I was joined to the process and not the product. I learned to let go, see with the eyes of the heart and with the playfulness and curiosity of a child. I was in the Flow!
Love to you and all who participated in this loving creative community.
Bless you all and thank you!
Fresh cut grass, smelling senses
Behold – The Beauty and the Beast by Simara
The Beauty is seen from Beauty’s eyes
The 11th step online prayer and meditation group that meets in the John Main Chapel on Meditation Chapel every Tuesday evening (7:30 p.m. EST) and Sunday morning (10 a.m. EST) is open to everyone who is seeking to explore and deepen their practice. Our format uses a variety of materials from across all areas of recovery. However, this group is NOT limited only to people who are in recovery through a 12 Step program. It is our belief that we are all recovering from something and the 11th step of the 12 steps of recovery provides a wonderful process for exploration of how that develops and deepens our “conscious contact with the God of our understanding” over time.
Having said that, it is requested that who you see and what is said during these meetings remains anonymous.
Please spread the word and feel free to join us.
Join Carolyn Yankovitz and Nancy Cord-Baran as they facilitate a 12-Step Forgiveness Prayer Workshop.
WHEN: Wednesday 4 Sept. and 11 Sept., 3-4:30pm EDT
This workshop will train 12-step members in the Forgiveness Prayer Practice.
“Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Contemplative Tattooing by Corey Krupowicz
The many years of meditation has afforded me the time to develop a relationship with the Divine in silence and solitude. This ever-deepening relationship has conditioned me to bring contemplative practices into my work a tattoo artist. To be a contemplative tattoo artist is to serve others who seek to adorn their bodies with art.
Allowing silence and solitude to infuse my career of tattooing, I often find myself in a contemplative state during my work process. The active prayer is my practice while in the middle of an ordinary day. Active prayer clears my mind and allows the Divine presence to permeate the tattooing process. The grace of the Divine indwelling creates space for me to serve with an open heart and a quieter mind. This is the space where I enter my inner mandala.
The Mandala is a special representation for my work in tattooing. It is well known in multiple wisdom traditions, for it contains an overwhelming sense of moving into the center point, a beautiful symbol for our spiritual journey inward. Over the years, more and more people – without ever understanding the concept behind them – are attracted to these designs for their beautiful imagery.
I look at the mandala as both entering the sacred center within and simultaneously radiating Divine sacredness outward. One of my loves for mandala skin art is that it allows the contemplative conversation to open between the client and me. The knowledge shared about the inward and outward expression represented by the ornamental design and how it may relate to our lives creates a sense of comfort, a deeper understanding of the spiritual dimension of life and art.
Most of my clients know of my deep relationship with contemplative meditation through my social media channels, and many inquire about meditation practices while they sit for their tattoo. It is a blessing to be able to give the gift of tattooing compassionately, to be of service in a deeper way for the person who is asking me to permanently mark his or her body. The art of tattooing is one of healing, growth, and compassion, just as living a contemplative life develops healing, growth, and compassion.
Tattooing allows me to share the fruits of the contemplative life with those who may have never known anything about spiritual development or the contemplative lifestyle. It’s a beautiful path with many responsibilities emotionally, spiritually, and artistically. The art of contemplative tattooing is a beautiful journey into the ever-developing relationship with the Divine and with the divinity within others.
A Prayer … Blessing the Donkey
I start the day with a prayer online. This morning prayer’s focus was on the donkey … Jesus’s last ride into the city of Jerusalem before his crucifixion. I was now invited to allow Jesus on his donkey, to enter the city of my heart. During the course of the morning I held that image close to my heart and then in the afternoon had the awe-inspiring opportunity to explore more and share once again my prayer with our Meditative Art practice group.
Bless all the donkeys on our planet. How blessed was that donkey to take you onto your last ride before you died for us on the Cross. Please help me with my daily attempt to keep the door of my heart wide open for you. How blessed I am to be able to wake up every morning, switch my cell phone on and so start my day on-line with you. This morning I was extraordinary blessed with this prayer. I asked you to help me and give me the humility to accept that your will triumph in me – not in the stately and dignified way that I might choose, but in the way you choose for me … simply quietly, joyfully in poverty and in the company of all that is least in me and the world.
Continue to let the blessings rain upon the technologists and their systems giving us daily the opportunity to gather around our Online Meditation Circle of Love. Blessings to each partner of our circle and to continue illuminating our souls. How blessed we are…Amen.
~ Fran Lombard
Bluebirds sweetly sing.
Their songs fill bright morning skies.
~ Stana Warren
“Although many of us, under the ceaseless bombardment of photographic and electronic imagery that we experience daily, have lost the gift of seeing, we can learn it anew and learn to retrieve again and again the act of seeing things for the first time, each time we look at them.”
~ Frederick Franck, Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing
WAITING by Roger Sessions
I’m waiting for you. Whenever you are ready, I’ll be here. I always was here, and I always will be.
I tried to tell you, but you didn’t believe me. I knew you wouldn’t. To be honest, had I been you, I wouldn’t have believed either. Part of me didn’t even believe me, and I had the clarity. But being human, there was always some doubt. What if I was wrong? What if I was crazy? What if the clarity was just some monstrous delusion?
I had those thoughts, but I couldn’t share them with you. Your faith was barely hanging on by a thread anyway. So, when I doubted the clarity, I would sit under a Cyprus tree. I would gaze out until I could hear the whispers of the stars. They would hold me, remind me, reassure me, until the doubts passed, and the clarity returned.
The clarity has been with me as long as I can remember, but until recently, it made no sense. It was a vision of love versus evil. Which would you bet on? We were surrounded by evil, and we were afraid of it. Terrified. The wrong word, the wrong thought could mean a beating, imprisonment, death, or worse. Much worse. The idea that the force of evil could be overcome by the gentleness of love seemed absurd. All you had to do was open your eyes. Where did love ever win over evil?
But the clarity told me this was wrong. I couldn’t shake it. The stars wouldn’t let me.
There was only one way to test the clarity. Only one way to prove it to you. And perhaps, only one way to prove it to myself. Through trial. The gentleness of love meeting head-on the forces of evil. Anything else was just talk. I had to put my money where my mouth was. I had to face the monster.
But I was so frightened. I had seen what evil was capable of. We all had. It wasn’t something you ever forget.
I walked into the evil, and the evil did its worst. It was bad. Very bad. I thought at times I would give in.
But I didn’t. I survived. Not my body. Evil has the power to kill. But that isn’t really much power. We are all going to die, all evil can do is expedite it.
This was never about my body. It was about my love. Love can’t be killed. I am now proof of that. Evil did its worst, and it couldn’t destroy love. It couldn’t even weaken it. Love rose from evil’s ashes stronger and more radiant and purer than ever.
You don’t need to take my word for it. You can see all of this for yourself. Open your heart. Feel my love flow through you.
See me in the smile of a baby. In the gentle touch of a mother. In one person reaching out to help another. I am in the trees and the breeze. I am in the stars and the moon. Come and find me in the evening mist. Come and find me in the morning rain. I am here. Waiting for you.
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