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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Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. 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. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
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.)