I am excited to share this meditation by Rev. Maria E. Gullo. Maria is a Spiritual Director and Christian Meditation Teacher. She has spent the past 20+ years teaching, supporting and sharing the contemplative dimension of Christian spirituality.
Maria is an ordained minister with the Federation of Christian Ministries, commissioned presenter by Contemplative Outreach, and a Certified Integrative Health Coach.
Learn more about Maria at The Deeper Connection.
Being a Contemplative Christian does not exempt me from worry, fear and anxiety. It does, however, make a way through the challenging stuff of life creating the opportunity for authentic transformation.
How does transformation translate into real world experience? What does it look like? What does it feel like? As a single woman, business owner, mother, grandmother and Spiritual Director, life can feel overwhelming at times. Primarily when I let some situation trigger me into creating a fictitious story in my mind about what could happen, rather than what is happening, in the moment. Perhaps you can I identify with this? From the story comes fear, worry and all the ‘what ifs’ that cause the stressful feelings of being overwhelmed. The story takes on a life of it’s own and worry quickly becomes fear that quickly turns into anxiety. So then what?
Sometimes I berate myself for not trusting God more. Sometimes I pray more, other times I distract myself with family or work. Yet all of the time God’s gentle, relentless voiceless Voice breathes deep within, “Be still and turn to me”. What I’ve come to learn is in times like this if I just become still, my mind is drawn to ‘the story’ and focuses on the overwhelming feeling that’s tossing me around like driftwood on a storm tossed wave. It’s the ‘turn’ within the stillness that changes everything. To turn toward God, means I must turn from the story and the feelings associated to it, releasing my white knuckle grip on fear and my small reality. In a simple moment, that gentle inner ‘turn’ creates the space for faith to move, for the to Spirit breathe and trust emerges. I can not will the ‘overwhelm’ away. I can not muster up trust. I can only choose to be still and let my mustard seed of faith prompt me to turn. For in that turning, God calms the strongest waves and transformation happens.
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I am currently reading Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill. Check it out.
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The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. It works well for group studies.
How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Spiritual Map Session.