Registered Charity Change
For a short while, the registered charities WCCM in the UK and Christian Meditation Trust (UK) are existing side by side, under the auspices of the same Trustees. Eventually all the assets of CMT(UK) will be transferred to WCCM in the UK and CMT(UK) will close down. For clarity and for the time being this means that whether you see the name CMT(UK) or WCCM in the UK on this website, you are relating with the same community.
What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation is simple, being simple means being ourselves. It means passing beyond self consciousness, self analysis and self rejection. Meditation is a universal spiritual practice which guides us into this state of prayer, into the prayer of Christ. It brings us to silence, stillness and simplicity by a means that is itself silent, still and simple.Laurence Freeman Your Daily Practice
The method involves the repetition of a single word faithfully and lovingly during the time of meditation. This is a very ancient Christian way of prayer that was recovered for modern Christians by the Benedictine monk John Main (1926 -1982).
John Main recovered this way of bringing the mind to rest in the heart through his study of the teachings of the first Christian monks, the Desert Fathers, and of John Cassian (4th century AD). It is in the same tradition as The Cloud of Unknowing, written in England in the 14th century.
John Main's legacy inspired the formation of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), and his work is being carried on by Father Laurence Freeman, also a Benedictine monk. The WCCM continues John Main’s vision of restoring the contemplative dimension to the common life of Christians and engaging in the common ground shared with the secular world and other religions.
The Community has its International Centre in Bonnevaux, France, but is a 'monastery without walls', a family of national and emerging communities in over a hundred countries, each with local Christian meditation groups, supporting meditators on a weekly or monthly basis, in homes, parishes, offices, hospitals, prisons, schools and colleges - pretty well everywhere that people live and seek. The World Community is ecumenical and promotes unity through its dialogue with both Christian churches and other faiths.
To communicate and nurture meditation as passed on through the teaching of John Main in the Christian Tradition in the spirit of serving the unity of all. WCCM Mission Statement
Individual meditators and groups can offer a range of support for those enquiring about Christian meditation. For local groups, see Search UK Christian Meditation Groups or contact your local group leader or regional coordinator.
This website provides information about the WCCM UK community. For information about the work of the communities in other parts of the world, see www.wccm.org.
An animated video introducing meditation
We are very happy to launch this short film on what is Christian Meditation and how to meditate - a generous gift by Paul Demeyer, a meditator based in the United States.
Essential Teaching Weekends
This workshop helps to deepen our practice and build confidence in talking about meditation and sharing the gift and so we encourage all group leaders and regional coordinators to attend at some point. The online course provides an alternative for those who would find it difficult to attend a weekend and we are currently looking at how we can be even more flexible in offering the Essential Teaching.
We have a residential course at St Columba’s House, Woking 11 - 13 March 2022 (flyer here), and are planning an online course so if you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who is now taking care of all the School of Meditation enquiries for us, to request an application form.
School of Meditation Co-ordinator
WCCM in the UK
COP26 and Climate Change
A Contemplative Approach to the crisis
Glasgow is preparing to host the vital COP26 Climate Conference from October 31 to November 12. Postponed from last year because of the pandemic, and with the window of opportunity already very tight to make the essential changes, it is now even more urgent that the international delegates negotiate with their focus on the needs of the whole world, and take fully into account those communities already suffering from the warming of the planet. The gift of meditation and the development of the contemplative mind has never been more important.
Attention and Love is the latest 'CD' in the Meditatio Talks Series.
These talks reflect on the meaning of attention because attention is at the centre of human meaning, Laurence Freeman says. In moments of crisis, as during the present pandemic, what really matters is our encounter with love through the attention we receive. Meditation is a way of exercising our muscle of attention.
Beyond Words, Beyond Dualities
An online retreat led by Liz Watson
October 14 – 16, Thursday to Saturday
When we are drawn deeper into meditation and spend time regularly in the silence beyond words we begin to see the world differently. Oppositions between good and bad, right and wrong, divinity and humanity, action and contemplation, discipline and freedom, body and mind increasingly seem inadequate concepts to guide our daily living and relating. The explorations of the retreat will revolve around meditation practice, shared silence and reflections on the theme, yoga.
More details and booking are at https://wccm.org/events/beyond-words-beyond-dualities-liz-watson/ and there is a short video introduction from Liz here.
Newsletters - 2021 Issue 3
The third 2021 issue of the UK Newsletter Meditation News and the international WCCM Newsletter are now available here as a PDF download along with a leaflet about the meditation and the Climate Crisis. We expect printed copies of Meditation News should be with subscribers by the middle of October. Printed copies of WCCM Newsletter will be included with the next UK newsletter in February. (Updated October 10)
The online edition is published as soon as it is completed and is normally available several weeks before the printed copies! If you would like to be notified when it is on the website, please contact the UK Office (email: email@example.com) and ask to be added to the Newsletter email distribution list.
The cover of Meditation News may seem familiar, but this time the planning team are confident that it will take place as a physical gathering with Fr Laurence Freeman and James Thornton leading the talks; more details and booking information will be available at the start of 2002 but as a taster James explains how in terms of climate change we are the problem, but we are the solution too! There are copies of two posters for meditators and groups from the WCCM Nature and the Environment webpage to support our preparation for the COP26 Climate Conference and Jim Green introduces the new WCCM course Contemplating Earth.
Julie Roberts Brings us news of future Essential Teaching as residential weekends and online and looks forward to the UK community hosting the WCCM National Community Retreat in January. Elsewhere in the newsletter there are details of future face-to-face and online meetings and retreats that are being planned. In We see in the world what we carry in our hearts Alex Holmes returns to Calais and reflects on the change in the town but no change in the situation of the refugee community. Carole Dixon and Jan Bundy give their experiences of the International Oblate Retreat in July which looked at The Oblate Path: what is Monastic Wisdom Today?
There are updates to Oblate and Community events and the Contacts pages and information about some WCCM online meetings that are of particular interest in the UK.
In his letter in WCCM Newsletter, Fr Laurence addresses the environmental crisis and sees contemplation as the simple process of repairing the broken chain of being; there is another chance to read about Contemplating Earth (which has now been released and is available here); and an article on how COP 26 is inspiring WCCM around the world. There is an update on the Bonnevaus Retreat Centre which will provide guest accomodation and is planned to open in the spring of 2022; there is a summary of the short talks at the John Main Seminar in September; Sarah Bachelard introduces her new book Poetica Divina: Poems to Redeem a Prose World and the meditator In Focus is Anu Pylkkänen, National Coordinator for Finland.
The first newsletter in 2022 will be available in early February. The last date for submitting articles and events for Meditation News is 1 January 2022.
About Christian meditation
Why Christians Meditate
Most Christian people know very well that prayer is not just asking God, or Jesus, for help in times of need, danger or distress, although that is not a bad start. Balanced Christian prayer also includes thanksgiving for blessings received, of which the public expression is Eucharist (for thanksgiving is what Eucharist means). This naturally leads to adoration of God, and to interceding for others as much as praying for ourselves. Very often Christian prayer may begin with a simple recognition of failure or sin, and so include owning up to our failures (confession) and a resolution to make amends or do better in future. These five aspects of prayer are sometimes summed up by the acronym PACTS (Petition, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
But this is by no means all that is meant by Christian prayer.
The Stages of the Meditation Journey
Meditation is a way of breaking through from a world of illusion into the pure light of realityJohn Main
The world of illusion that John Main refers to in this statement is the world we build up out of our thoughts. Many of us equate who we are with what we think. Who do you think you are? The image we have of ourselves, the image we have of others, and the world we live in is made up out of thoughts: our own thoughts and, often, the thoughts of others we have unthinkingly made our own.
Meditation and Spirituality
True seekers and travellers into the realms of spirit will inevitably discover that at the heart of any serious spiritual tradition there exists a deep, inner path which is contemplative in nature. Within the contemplative core, there are also recognised stages of spiritual life and growth which the traveller encounters, and is hopefully helped to embrace, as their journey of pilgrimage to the centre continues.
In this respect, contemplation, or meditation, is very far from being just a Christian thing - it is the essential key to all deep and true spirituality and the ultimate answer to all unreality. To quote Rowan Williams, 'To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need to live truthfully, honestly and lovingly - and is therefore a deeply revolutionary matter'.
Mindfulness and Christian Meditation
Mindfulness and Christian Meditation are both widely practised nowadays and have much in common. We are all aware of the stress and bustle of modern life and seek some escape into a state of peace or freedom from stress. We might be aware that we can find this within ourselves in special moments. Through the meditation practices of Mindfulness and Christian Meditation we can find a way of stabilising these special moments and integrating them into our daily life. For some who have followed a Mindfulness course it may be important to develop this in a way which acknowledges the spiritual and they may choose to do this through Christian Meditation.
More on Christian Meditation and Mindfulness
Having written previously about the similarities between Christian meditation and mindfulness – what they hold in common – I feel moved to complete the picture by saying something about what distinguishes them.
Mindfulness, which derives from Buddhism, exists in many forms and is practised in different ways. It has for example been taken up by the NHS to help support people who are emerging from episodes of depression and help prevent relapse. Others may seek to practise Mindfulness to achieve better mental clarity, to ease pressure in a stressful world, or to find a better balance in their lives.
The Complementary Arts of Infinite Tai Chi and Christian Meditation
Be still like a mountain and flow like a great riverTaoist Proverb
If you're looking for a way to reduce stress, consider Tai Chi. It is sometimes described as "meditation in motion" because it promotes serenity through gentle movements, connecting the mind and body and setting the spirit free in dance like expression. Originally developed in ancient China for self-defence, Tai Chi and its sister practice of Chi Kung ( energy cultivation ) evolved into a graceful form of exercise that's now predominantly used in the West for stress reduction and to help a variety of other health conditions.
Yoga and Christian Meditation
The practice of Yoga predates Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism and this path to wholeness has been interpreted over the centuries and throughout the world in many different ways. You may attend a class where there are candles, joss sticks, chanting and references to ancient Hindu texts. The teacher may talk of his or her own guru and the lineage of their tradition. On the other hand, you may be in a very hot room doing very strenuous exercise. Of course, there is every variation in between. It is important to find a class where you are comfortable and at ease, both physically and spiritually and where the discipline supports your own journey to wholeness.