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Spirit Journal – December 2018

Preview

This final issue of 2018 begins with a warm and heartfelt Christmas greeting to all of our members from Contemplative Outreach – Chicago.  Then we share information about the first workshop of the 2019 Living Wisdom Program – Mystical Poetry During Times of Trouble – coming up in less than a month on January 12.

Next up is an invitation to participate in the Winter Weekend Retreat in February.  The 2019 iteration of this long-running annual event will focus on the Welcoming Prayer Practice.  We also provide information about several additional contemplative activities that are coming up soon and may be of interest, along with Insights from Thomas Keating.

As always, we invite you to let us know what you think about Spirit Journal – and start your side of the conversation – by emailing the editor at the address provided at the end of the newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you!

A Christmas Greeting

by Alan Krema

Merry Christmas to all of our newsletter readers!

We have had a very deep and meaningful year as the Chicago Chapter of Contemplative Outreach.  I hope all of you are well and feel well connected to Contemplative Outreach and contemplative prayer practices.   Our daily lives are all made much more open to the work of the Spirit as we open ourselves to the sensation and energy of our lives beyond the mental constrictions of our egoic false self.

Thank you all who participated in our fall workshop with Cynthia Bourgeault.  It was a wonderful day.  And thank you especially to those who very graciously had to decline attending because of our rescheduling of the workshop due to the passing of our beloved Fr. Thomas Keating.   We do not yet have a video presentation of Cynthia’s teaching, but we hope to have one soon and will let you know how to access it.

As we now sit in the advent season, we open to the spaciousness of the birth of Jesus and of Christ becoming. Here is an advent prayer I would like to share:

Inner Life of Being

Bearing Christ within me

Come

Waiting, anticipating, listening, watching, allowing, opening,

suspended in love, attending to and relating to what may be and what may come.

Embrace my inner life, allowing it place in my outer life.

Christ becoming, my becoming,

flowing into and through the landscape of my body, soul, and spirit.

Come . . . . . Come . . . . . Come.

I wish you a very blessed advent and a very merry Christmas.

In great love,

Alan 

The 2019 Living Wisdom Program Starts January 12 with Mystical Poetry

The Living Wisdom Program is a series of four full-day Saturday workshops to be held at the Tau Center in Wheaton, each dedicated to a theme of wisdom in the Christian contemplative tradition.  The program’s vision is to deepen the contemplative wisdom in each participant.  For complete program information and registration, please visit the Living Wisdom event page.

The 2019 program will kick off January 12 with a workshop entitled Mystical Poetry During Times of Trouble, led by the Rev. Alison Hine.  During these dangerous and apocalyptic times — times of a deep unveiling — the voices of the Prophets and the Mystics rise up to awaken the soul of humanity to its true conscience and to the light and fire of spirit within each of us. Using digital images created by Rev. Hine and a collective, contemplative, innovative form of “Visual Midrash,” we will dive into these sacred verses.

Your Invitation to the 2019 Winter Weekend Retreat

Contemplative Outreach Chicago’s Winter Weekend Retreat will take place February 22-24 at the beautiful Portiuncula Center for Prayer in Frankfurt Illinois.  We hope you can join us!

Led by Alan Krema, the 2019 retreat will introduce the basics of the Welcoming Prayer Practice and explore the embodied Wisdom dimension of the Welcoming Prayer.  We will explore attentiveness to the wholeness of our being and open to the knowledge and presence resident in our bodies.  Centering Prayer and the Welcoming Prayer Practice will open us to a deepening sense of presence.

We will explore the calling to live in a higher mode of consciousness, one of abundance and liberation.  This invocation comes with responsibility to remove the obstacles we own in our body which arise from the addictive and reactive structures that restrict our growth.

For more information about the Welcoming Prayer Practice, have a look at last month’s Spirit Journal.  To register, visit the Winter Weekend Retreat event page.

Other Upcoming Events, Retreats, and Conferences

Here are some additional contemplative activities that are coming up and may be of interest:

Ongoing Centering Prayer “11th Step” Program – Chicago

In AA 12-step programs, the 11th step is making a personal effort to get in touch with a Higher Power, however one understands it.  Increasingly, people in 12-Step programs are deepening their

relationships with their Higher Power using the method of Centering Prayer.

Here in the Chicago area, an ongoing Centering Prayer-based 11th step group meets on Fridays at 6:45pm in conference room “C” on the 7th floor of the Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison Street, Chicago. For further information on this program, please contact Philip Lo Dolce — stuffer1@ameritech.net.)

Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop – February 2 – Winnetka

An introductory workshop is a great way to begin or solidify a regular practice of Centering Prayer.  This workshop will take place at Winnetka Congregational Church, 75 Pine Street, Winnetka.  The workshop presenter, Bob Frazee, is specially trained and commissioned in teaching this short course, which covers the essentials and conceptual background of the method.

For more information or to register, please contact the Rev. Jeffrey Phillips at 847-999-9403, jefrey.phillips@wcc-joinus.org.

The Universal Christ: Another Name for Everything – March 28-31 – Albuquerque New Mexico or Online

This conference, presented by the Center for Action and Contemplation, explores the idea that Christ is more than Jesus’ last name. Jesus is a person whose example we can follow. Christ is a cosmic life principle in which all beings participate. The incarnation is an ongoing revelation of Christ, uniting matter and spirit, operating as one and everywhere. Together—Jesus and Christ—show us “the way, the truth, and the life” of death and resurrection. Featured speakers are Richard Rohr, Jacqui Lewis, John Dominic Crossan, and Janet McKenzie. For complete information and registration for in-person or online participation, visit the CAC website.

Insights

Centering Prayer really includes any effort at interior silence in the presence of God that evokes more and more of our total surrender to that presence.

Consent is not an effort.  Surrender is not an effort.  And transformation is something only God can do.  From that perspective, it should be easy.  So, my heartfelt prayer for each of you is: Keep going!  And, have invincible confidence that this is God’s work in you, and do not be afraid to ask that what he has begun in you might be completed.

Centering Prayer – I think it’s increasing, it’s burgeoning, and I think after my demise it’s likely to grow significantly, even more. I don’t know why, it’s just the nature of things.  The seed has to fall into the ground and die for its full energies to be released.  So whatever gifts I’ve received hopefully will be continued by divine providence, perhaps in ways that we don’t foresee.

Humanity as a whole needs a breakthrough into the contemplative dimension of life. This is the Life at the heart of the world. There, the human family is already one.

– Thomas Keating

Your Turn

You are always invited to write in to comment on or add to any of the items in Spirit Journal.  Let us know if you are aware of an upcoming event you think others should know about, or send us an inspirational quote you’d like to share, or information about a book, website, podcast, or video you recommend.  You can contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at news@centeringprayerchicago.org

Spirit Journal – November 2018

Preview

In this issue of Spirit Journal, we have many ideas and announcements to share with you. We begin the November edition with Phil Jackson’s reflections on an important question: Who will replace Thomas Keating?  Next, Alan Krema writes about the Welcoming Prayer Practice, which will be the focus of our 2019 Winter Weekend Retreat, as well as one of the four sessions in the 2019 Living Wisdom Program.  The issue also includes official announcements about the Winter Retreat and Living Wisdom, with links to find out more and register for the programs.

Next, Jack Lloyd takes a brief look back at the Annual Fall Workshop that took place early this month (and invites you to do the same). We provide you with information about several additional contemplative activities that are coming up soon and may be of interest, along with Insights from Margaret Mead, Rosa Parks, Etty Hillesum, and Thomas Keating.

Finally, this issue includes the last chapter in Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild series. If you haven’t been following this adventure yarn/reflection over the past seven months, please consider taking a look at it. (There’s a link for those who want to go back and start at the beginning.) We are very grateful to Phil for sharing this exciting and inspiring piece in Spirit Journal.

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Spirit Journal – October 2018

Preview

Have you noticed that autumn has arrived?

We are now less than a month away from November 3 – the date for this year’s Annual Fall One-Day Workshop.  This event is always a great opportunity for Chicago-area contemplatives to meet face to face and get to know one another better, while learning and growing in ways that help each of us move along the spiritual path.  We hope you can join us this year for a unique opportunity to spend a full day with Cynthia Bourgeault, focused on her transformational wisdom teachings. (See below for further information and registration.)

In addition, this issue lets you know about opportunities to get involved and help Contemplative Outreach Chicago as an active volunteer, and it shares information about a number of interesting events and retreats that are coming up in the Chicago area and across the midwest.

This month’s Insights come from Thomas Keating, William Johnston, Richard Rohr, and Kahlil Gibran.  This issue also includes the seventh chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – an ongoing journal of Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  In this chapter, dangerous weather conditions are creating an increasingly precarious situation, as Phil struggles to make progress toward safety and home.

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Spirit Journal – September 2018

Preview

This issue points you toward opportunities to register for two upcoming contemplative events: a silent retreat in Wisconsin next month and our seventh annual Fall Workshop on November 3 in Lisle.  Cynthia Bourgeault provides an invitation and welcome to the conversation she plans to lead at the Fall Workshop.  (Now is the time to reserve your place – the workshop is less than two months away and 350 people have already signed up to attend.  Please register soon so you won’t be left out.)

We share information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and across the midwest. This month’s Insights come from Richard Rohr, Marco Semarini, Ram Dass and Rabbi Rami Shapiro.  This issue also includes the sixth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing journal of Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  In this chapter, things are getting more than a bit dramatic as unexpected snow and cold weather put Phil into a precarious situation.

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Spirit Journal – August 2018

Preview

This August issue reminds you that it’s time to register for this year’s Annual Fall Workshop, coming up on November 3, and provides a look at the themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring that day. It’s not too early to register – the workshop is now less than three months away and more than 200 people have already signed up to attend.  Please register soon so you won’t be left out.

We also include a personal reflection from Al Krema on maintaining contemplative consciousness and balance amid the distractions and disturbances of the current era.  We share information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and further afield. This month’s Insights come from Marianne Williamson, Krista Tippett, Lama Tsultrim Allione, and Wayne Dyer.

This issue also offers the fifth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing journal of Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

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Spirit Journal – July 2018

Preview

In this issue, we announce the start of registration for this year’s Annual Fall Workshop, coming up on November 3, and provide a look at the themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring that day.

We also provide information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and around the region, including two that are scheduled for mid-July: a “level two” Enneagram worshop in St. Charles and Advanced/Post-Intensive Retreats in Benet Lake, Wisconsin.  This month’s Insights come from Wendell Berry, Henry David Thoreau, Sharon Salzberg and the Rig Veda.

Alan Krema offers a reflection on the topic of Opening Race Into a Question of Belonging, based on an “On Being” podcast that discussed the ideas of John Powell.  This issue also includes the fourth chapter of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing reflection on Phil’s solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

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Spirit Journal – May 2018

Preview

In this issue, Alan Krema provides a first look at the important themes Cynthia Bourgeault will be exploring during our seventh annual One-Day Fall Workshop in November.

We also provide information about a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the region and renew our “call for new volunteers” to help build on the Contemplative Outreach – Chicago mission, which is to support the teaching and practice of Centering Prayer.  This month’s Insights come from C.G. Jung, Lao Tzu, Martin Laird, and Thomas Keating.

This issue also includes Chapter 3 of Phil Jackson’s Spirit in the Wild – a ongoing personal reflection in which Phil describes his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  In addition, there’s a poem Pat Benson was inspired to write during a recent retreat day at Healing Gardens and a thank you note from Fr. Keating to those who recently reached out to thank him and wish him well.

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Spirit Journal – April 2018

Preview

This April issue continues Spirit in the Wild — a story that began in last month’s Spirit Journal in which Phil Jackson describes and reflects on his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.  We also remind you to save the date this fall – November 3 – when you’ll have an opportunity to encounter the transformative wisdom teachings of Cynthia Bourgeault at our seventh annual One-Day Fall Workshop.

This issue also includes a “call for new volunteers” to help Contemplative Outreach – Chicago continue and expand its mission in support of the practice of Centering Prayer, along with information about a number of upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  This month’s Insights come from Chief Seattle, Rachel Carson, John Muir, and Pema Chödrön.

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Spirit Journal – March 2018

Preview

This issue provides updates about the ongoing 2018 Living Wisdom Program and the rescheduled “Winter” Weekend Retreat and releases the initial chapter of a story we think you may find interesting and inspiring: an in-depth personal reflection written by Phil Jackson about his solo wilderness journey in the High Sierras last year.

Importantly, this issue also includes a “call for new volunteers” to help Contemplative Outreach Chicago continue and expand its mission in support of the practice of Centering Prayer, along with information about several upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  This month’s Insights come from Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Camus, Thomas Keating, and Richard Rohr.

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Spirit Journal – February 2018

Preview

This issue provides new information about the ongoing 2018 Living Wisdom Program and our rescheduled “Winter” Weekend Retreat.

We also inform you about several other upcoming contemplative activities and events, locally and regionally.  February Insights come from Ram Dass, Martin Luther King Jr., Victoria Rosales, and Howard Thurman.

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