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Further Up and Further In

BioSpiritual Focusing

By Further Up and Further In, School of Contemplation No Comments

Biospiritual focusing is a practice that has some similarities to the Welcoming Prayer in that it encourages noticing and embracing emotions and bodily sensations. An element that Biospiritual Focusing adds, however, and which not all body-centred practices emphasize, is focusing on emotions or sensations in the body not only to let them be, and in order to “be with them” compassionately – which are also very important elements! – but also, through that compassionate presence, to listen to the unheard story that the body is trying to tell us. It could therefore be called a WISDOM body practice, as it…

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brother and sister feeding birds

Loving Kindness

By Further Up and Further In, School of Contemplation No Comments

One of the simplest and most helpful forms of meditation that many have learned from Tibetan Buddhism is the practice of metta or “loving kindness meditation.” In this type of meditation, one practices a slow, mindful recitation (inward or spoken) of traditional wishes or intentions of goodwill toward self and others. One example of such statements (from Jack Kornfield) is: May you be filled with lovingkindness. May you be safe from inner and outer dangers. May you be well in body and mind. May you be at ease and happy. Traditionally, one starts with expressing these intentions toward oneself (May I…), and then…

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Breathing in the Hard Stuff

By Further Up and Further In, School of Contemplation No Comments

As we explore deepening in our understanding of contemplative practices, we turn to the East to see what we might learn from tonglen meditation (and particularly from Pema Chodron’s, Start Where You Are). While it has some similarities to the “welcoming prayer” that we have given a fair amount of attention to, this practice has some unique emphases that seem important. Nearly everyone who has dabbled in contemplation has at some point practiced a breathing exercise in which you “breathe in peace (or love or stillness)” and “breathe out anxiety (or whatever might have been troubling one).” This seems natural…

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burro with saddle

Contemplating with a Wise Fool

By Further Up and Further In, School of Contemplation No Comments

In the Sufi tradition, Mullah (teacher) Nasruddin was a 13th century master who liked to teach through parables with a character named for himself who was prone to doing, apparently, foolish things. He believed that humour opened up contemplatives ways to see oneself and one’s actions and assumptions from a new point of view. With the help of Anthony de Mello’s book, Song of the Bird, we looked at some of these Nasruddin tales and we laughed even more than usual. (We are not the most somber contemplatives…) Here is one example: Everyone became alarmed when they saw Mullah Nasruddin,…

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book cover

Further Up and Further In

By Further Up and Further In, School of Contemplation No Comments

For the first time, we are entering the third term in our cycle for the School of Contemplation. The theme for this term is “Further Up and Further In” – and we want to use this time to enter more deeply in our understanding and practice of contemplation. To start us off, we did a lectio divina exercise focusing on the “Prayer of St. Brendan”: Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You. Christ of the mysteries, I trust You to be stronger than each…

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