June, 1997 Volume VIII, Number 6
Our Quarterly Retreat for June witll be held June 20 to June 22 at Knobs Haven Retreat House. We begin at 7 PM Friday evening and end at noon on Sunday. Our theme for the weekend is 'Honoring the Inward Path,' and our format for the retreat will allow more time for personal reflection and meditative experience. Many of us have need for time set aside for quiet; time to center, to be more mindful, and to be open to the mystery. At times activity seems to work counter to this pull to listen deeply to what is within; if this leading is honored, we may be giving ourselves that needed space to come back to a more centered and aware perspective. Over time a rhythm of outward strokes, activities, relationships, work, and so on, needs to be balanced with inward strokes of quiet, prayer, meditation and so on. Friday evening we will consider this balance, as well as our personal intention for the following day. We will give ourselves a Saturday devoted to our own choice of reflective activities, coming together only at the end of the day. Sunday morning is a time to share insights and close our time together.
This retreat is open to all. We are a small group and remain dedicated to openness and appreciation of that which is unique as well as that which is common to us all. We share our spiritual journey, and invite you to share your’s with us. The fee for the retreat, the cost of room and board, is $45, if timely, $55 if late. If you wish to join us, please pre-register for the retreat by Thursday, June 12th by sending your intentions along with $5 (non-refundable) of the fee to Barbara Ballard, 2961 Rio Rita Ave, Louisville, KY 40220, or phone her at 502–458–6022. If you have not been to a retreat before, you will be sent additional information.
Many traditions have used rhythm to enter into, and enhance a meditative space. Some feel that working with rhythm is a means of attunment to the rhytmic nature of the universe, which was set in motion througn Infinite Mystery.
First choose a means of creating your own rhythm. If you have a drum or similar instrument, this is ideal, but if not feel free to improvise. Use your interior playful energy and find a sound that your like—rattles, sticks, a resonant table. There are many possibilities.
Make sure that your session will not disturb others and that you will not be disturbed. Meditation creates a sensitive space. Most practices are silent and will not trouble others, but when one drums, or uses music or other sound, it is good to be assured that you are surrounded by positive response.
Begin by sitting quietly for a while. One might begin with a prayer for guidance, or a dedication of your time to Compassion to all. Then begin a simple repetitive rhythm. Listen to it, letting mind follow and relax into the sound. Enter into the dance of movement, reflected in your rhythm. Let it play its time out, flowing from soft to loud, intense to gentle. Explore its dimensions. Enjoy. Then again be silent.
Close with a prayer dedicating all the the good in your own way.
This is an exercise that can be done with others. When it is done in a group, there is the additional element of listening deeply to one another, and to a pulse and energy that is evoked from within the group, working together.
|"It's said in different places in different ways: in ancient China, Confucius said that music is basic to human nature. In Africa today they say that a village without music is a dead place. In most Western popular music, spontaneity has been lost in favor of preprogrammed offerings. World music—and the percussive impulse that drives it—raeches past the need of the marketplace to sell, into emotional and spiritual dialogue with older oral traditions.|
|What we call world music really is all the world’s music. It’s a reflection of our dreams, our lives, and it represents every fiber of our being. It’s an aural landscape, a language of the deepest emotiuons; it’s what we sound like as a people. The excitment that we feel when we hear it tells us that the door into the realm of the spirit is opening. It’s a romance of the ear. It's our musical skeleton.|
|Underneath the world’s extra-ordinary musical diversity is another, deeper realm in which there is no better or worse, no modern or primitive, no art music versus fold music, no distinctions at all, but rather an almost organic compulsion to translate the emotional fact of being alive into sound, into rhythm, into something you can dance to."|
"Creation is Hinduism depends on the five elements of tether, air, fire, water, earth. The first is ether, and ether is sound—the original sound, the nada. Out of the vibrations of nada comes the universe. That’s the beginning of the universe—it begins with sound, vibrations.
|And sound is also used to conjure up a deity. In the beginning was the Word, the voice. When you are summoning a deity, you pronounce the seed syllable of the holy name.|
"In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
"The prediominant sound we heard as we developed in the womb was our mother’sa heartbeats... Is it any wonder that the reproduction of these pulsations alters our consciousness and heightens our awareness? Or reminds us what we already knew and have forgotten."
"Hallelujah. Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Hime in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: Praise Him according to His abundant greatness. Praise Him with the blast of the horn; Praise Him with the psaltry and harp. Praise Him with timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instuments and the pipe. Praise Him with timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and the piope. Praise Him with the loud sounding cymbals; Praise Him with the clanging cymbals; Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Hallelujah."
Psalm 150 (King James ed.)|
(Him or Her or....A.S.)
Some of the toughest mental places, in my experience, are found surrounding the hurts that have happened in the course of living. My own sources of ‘injury’ include, the ‘System’ and strangers, as well as intimates (including myself); so these reflections apply to various categories. I know and remember the pain of these situations whenever I come close to them. They are like large rocks that form whirlpools and eddies which threaten to drag one under. So, if I am to remain firmly and consistantly on a road that is in connection with that Mystery various traditions name as God, I must learn from and also deal with these rocks and whirlpools of negativity. For me an essential part of this process could be called forgiveness.
Although not often paired as opposites, I find in my own work two opposing directions: one of resentment, the other forgiveness. The path of resentment leads away from communion. It allows the negativity of hurt to lock onto my thought and accelerate. It nurses anger and emphasizes pain; it worries sores into inflamation. It does not allow a healing encounter with problems, but imbeds them further. It really has nothing to do with consequences to another; it does not change or even punish another. What it does do is make life miserable, augmenting bitterness, degenerating self care into self pity, and leaving me numb and absent to the humanizing influences of empathy.
The other path is that of forgiveness. While to some, forgiveness may be a social normalizer, a resolve to ‘put on the appropriate face’, this is not the sense I am exploring here. Let me describe the understanding of forgiveness that works for me. For me, forgiveness is exercising the choice to heal. It is a decision to put down the knife of revenge everytime I find it in my hands. It is a conscious refusal to perpetuate the cycle of misery. It is in this context that I read Jesus’ injunction to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven.
Just as with resentment, it does not absolve others from consequences. Nor does it condone, or confuse discernment and judgment. I do not engage on this path lightly. To do so underrates the power of the negative, denies the pain or grief and leaves me in their power once again, perhaps unconciously. It is humbling to find intense confusion,anger or blame arising within , caught in a whirlpool, being thrown against rocks. It is a human moment. I am grateful when grace see fit to teach me my humanity before I act rather than after, when I may only apologize. This understanding leads to compassion for others whose circumstances may be different.
For me forgiveness is a process, not a statement. This path is much like that which the Buddhists talk of when they discuss developing an altruistic spirit, the awakening mind, or compassion. In each case it is a practice, not an instantaneous absolute. It involves understanding our very human nature and giving value to the other. This is an intrinsic value, different from those added on values which seem to be consequences of how and where we live. This worthiness exists in a present moment of Love and Compassion which we all share. Any experience of this stabilizing peace brings perspective. It is in this process that transformation takes place, and the miracle of healing works its magic.
June 20, 21 & 22, from 7 PM Friday to noon on Sunday. At Knobs Haven, Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse, Nerinx, KY.
Theme: Honoring the Inward Path
Fee: $45 room and board if timely, (by June 12th), if late $55.
Pre-register by sending $5 of the fee (non-refundable) to:
Barbara Ballard, 2961 Rio Rita Ave, Luoisville, KY 40220, or phone 502–458–6022.
DAY OF RECOLLECTION
Theme: Connections; focusing on the interdependence of all Life.