With summer at last in full swing, this issue announces the start of registration for our 2019 One-Day Fall Workshop, coming up on November 2, and provides a look at the various topics and themes we’ll be exploring together that day. We also provide information about the Living Flame, a series of seven full-day offerings of in-depth spiritual study that starts in October, and highlight a number of other upcoming events and retreats in the Chicago area and around the region.
We offer a snippet of a fascinating and meaningful Buddhist tale and a link to read the rest of the story in the noteworthy magazine Parabola. This issue of Spirit Journal also includes Insights from Tara Brach, Sharon Saltzburg, Jose Ortega y Gasset, and Dr. John.
Please take a moment 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!
Early Bird Registration Starts Now for Our Eighth Annual One-Day Fall Workshop – November 2 in Lisle!
Registration for the annual fall workshop is now open. Sign up soon to take advantage of Early Bird pricing!
Participating in this annual event has become an autumn tradition for many Chicago-area contemplatives. This year, you may choose to spend a half day or the full day in an introductory workshop on The 12 Steps and Centering Prayer. We also offer four additional half-day sessions: Why Ritual? God’s Gift to Humanity; Centering Prayer and Its Connection to the Twelve Steps: Two Views; Sufism; and Centering Prayer and Spiritual Psychology.
For complete information about the sessions and the session-leaders, please visit the Fall Workshop event page. Hope to see you there in November!
The Living Flame Program Starts October 12
Registration continues for the Living Flame Program, which was last offered here in Chicago more than ten years ago. The program has been updated and re-designed by Father Thomas Keating and the national circle of service in recent years. It includes seven full-day offerings of in-depth spiritual study presented over a seven-month period by commissioned presenters from the various Contemplative Outreach Service Teams.
Designed to teach the vital conceptual background needed to support a faithful practice of Centering Prayer, the program also offers encouragement and support in a small community setting, heightens the awareness of the purification process, helps discern when psychological skills can be helpful tools, and provides the opportunity to give and receive spiritual companionship.
Advance registration for the Living Flame Program is now available for $235. A few weeks before the program begins, the price will increase to $260. Please consider signing up early to take advantage of the savings.
All Living Flame workshops will take place at Mary Seat of Wisdom Church in Park Ridge, one each month (except January) October through April. For specific dates, topics and an opportunity to register, please visit the Living Flame event page.
Upcoming Events, Retreats, and Conferences
Here are some additional upcoming contemplative activities that may be of interest to you:
Healing Gardens Summer and Fall Programs Include Silent Saturdays, An Enneagram Workshop, and an Awakening in Nature Retreat
Many contemplative activities take place at Healing Gardens at Stonehill Farm, two acres of perennial gardens in a quiet wooded setting in St. Charles. For example:
Awakening in Nature Retreat, Sunday July 21, 8:45am-3:00pm
Silent Saturdays, July 13 and August 31, 9:00am – noon
Level 2 Enneagram Workshop, Saturday October 12, 8:45am-3:30pm
For more information and registration, please visit the Healing Gardens website.
12-Step Meditation Retreat Near St. Louis in Late August
August 23-25, Contemplative Outreach of St. Louis will present, An Unshakable Foundation for Life – A Centering Prayer Meditation Retreat, facilitated by the 12-Step Outreach Service Team. This event will take place at the Marianist Center, approximately 30 miles west of St. Louis.
This retreat is for people who participate in any 12-Step program, or those who support recovery, and have the intention to improve their meditation practice and enlarge their spiritual life. Expect silence, prayer and meditation practice; 12-Step meetings, and presentations on Centering Prayer, the Welcoming Prayer, and the Human Condition and Transformation.
For full information about this retreat, please visit the Contemplative Outreach of St. Louis website.
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 — firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Sarabha-miga Jataka, The Noble Stag
A traditional Buddhist tale, retold by Margo McLoughlin
Once the Bodhisatta was born as a deer. He grew up to be a magnificent stag—a Sambar, the largest of the many kinds of deer that roam the forests of India. He had a shaggy grey coat and antlers that towered over his head. Sarabha was his name. He dwelt deep in the forest, browsing on leaves and wild fruit. With his long, funnel-shaped ears, he listened for any sounds of danger in the forest world.
Read more in Parabola, the magazine of the Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition.
Daily meditation practice is a training in coming back to the one place where we can experience this life – right here in this body.
– Tara Brach
As we practice meditation, we get used to stillness and eventually are able to make friends with the quietness of our sensations.
– Sharon Saltzburg
Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.
– Jose Ortega y Gasset
When the voice and the vision on the inside is more profound and more clear and loud than all the opinions on the outside, you’ve begun to master your life.
– Dr. John
Please write in to comment on or add to any of the items in this month’s newsletter. 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 are invited to contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at email@example.com.