[Spiritually Speaking] Where Does The Mind Rest?

I’ve been working with variations of Contemplative Prayer for a couple of decades. For those of you familiar with mindfulness meditation, Contemplative Prayer is very similar. When I first started I didn’t even call it that – it was explained to me as “doing nothing”.

At first it was brutal. I found it next to impossible to sit for half an hour doing nothing. I could see no benefit. I gave it up for quite some time.

Later I came back to this form of meditation, primarily through the work of Jon Kabatt-Zinn’s book “Full Catastrophe Living”.  This time the struggle was a bit different – I kept falling asleep. Again, I gave it up for quite some time as I couldn’t see the benefit.

I’ve come back to it again, this time under the dual guises of Mindfulness and Christian Meditation, through the work of a number of authors including Jon Kabatt-Zin (Wherever You Go, There You Are), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), Fr. Thomas Keating (Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, Intimacy with God), Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land), Richard Rohr (daily e-newsletter, Scripture as Spirituality), Alan Watts (The Way of Zen). David Frenette (The Path of Centering Prayer).

I’ve actually come to enjoy praying and meditating this way. I still struggle with ideas such as “I am not my thoughts” and questions such as “where do thoughts come from?”.

As I have become more aware of my thought I come to the rather unfortunate conclusion that I really don’t have an interesting mind. My thoughts are boring and repetitive. Yet when I let go of this I’m left with the question “ok, so what am I supposed to think about? Where should my mind rest?”.

Certainly during meditation the answer is easy: my breath. What a relief it brings to move my attention away from my thoughts to my breath. But the rest of the time?

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. My favorite season.




[Spiritually Speaking] The Examen

I’ve been working with a method of prayer developed and taught by the Jesuits called The Daily Examen.

With the Examen one looks back on the day,  cultivating a sense of gratitude and learning to see God’s presence.

I’m having a tough time with the finding God’s presence part. Not because I think there is some particular absence of it in my life, but because I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to be looking for. The times I laughed? The good times? Moments of surprise?

If the answer to all of those is unambiguously “yes” then am I just changing my language without actually increasing my awareness of God?

Effort, practice, patience. Unfortunately, unlike most other things, I can’t really define what getting better at it means.



An Opportunity to Experience M. Scott Peck’s Community Vision

If you’ve read M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled, The Different Drum and A World Waiting to be Born, you’ll know that he devoted much of his life to “Community Building” and The Foundation for Community Encourage (“FCE”).

As Peck writes in The Different Drum:

The overall purpose of human communication is ― or should be ― reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.

If you are interested to experience FCE’s community building process, there is a public workshop being held in late August. Check out http://www.communitybuildingcanada.com/ for more information.

For more information about FCE visit their website at: http://www.fce-community.org/


There was so much joy in the room we all commented on it

ArtsCan 2015 B-page-001“There was so much joy in the room, we all commented on it.” This was sent to me from someone who attended the November 7 Stouffville in Chorus ArtsCan Benefit.

A big thanks to Bach to Blues, Shout Sisters and The Believers Children’s Choir for making such an incredible concert experience.


Stouffville in Chorus Featuring Bach to Blues, Shout Sisters and special appearance by The Believers

ArtsCan 2015 B-page-001

Stouffville has some excellent choirs and on November 7 you’ll have the opportunity to hear three of them. Bach to Blues led by Ann Gage and Shout Sisters led by Cora Ryan Westermann will provide an evening of choral wonderment. There will also be a special appearance by the Children’s Choir The Believers, led by Eleanor McKendrick.

The show starts at 7pm (November 7th) at Parkview Auditorium, 12184 Ninth Line, Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Admission is $10 at the door. You can reserve seats by e-mailing jim@radionewmarket.com.

Jim Corrigan is EmCee. Hannelore Volpe is our media contact.

All proceeds to ArtsCan Circle, a registered charity located in Newmarket “dedicated to linking creative artists with Indigenous youth at risk in Canada. Their hope is to encourage self-esteem amongst Indigenous youth in isolated communities through a cooperative exploration of the arts.”