The new program is almost ready. It will reveal how manifestation really works and also enlightenment. It is different than what we think. The world is changing underneath our feet. That way some bumps are happening. The allience destroys reptilian underground bases. At least that is one version of the story. The forces of light are winning. For the others, the payday is coming closer. If you have followed Lucifer until now you may ask yourself if you want to go to hell soon for a thousand years or surrender to Christ and change directions. Only he can save you now. Think twice! If you keep being stupid you will pay a high price for your pride.
A reader named Connie wrote to me and asked the following question:
Is there a mystic/al church? What would it look like? Does such a thing exist in your experience?
It’s a great question. I imagine anyone who truly learns about the spirituality of Christian mysticism can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be part of a neighborhood church that took contemplation and mystical prayer seriously.
I wish I could say all Christian churches are mystical. I personally believe all Christian churches should be mystical, and that they would be, if they took the Bible’s teachings on prayer, silence, and union with God seriously. But we live in an imperfect world. So as we all know, many Christian congregations have very little (or no) knowledge of contemplation at all, it is never mentioned in sermons are in classes, and sometimes churches are even hostile to this topic.
I remember an evangelical friend telling me, when I was a youth, to stay away from mysticism. “It begins in mist, ends in schism, and has “I” rather than ‘God’ at the center!” That was the warning.
Unfair? Of course. But it shows how many Christians are uncomfortable with the spirituality that is actually a part of our heritage.
What Would a Contemplative Church Look Like?
If you join or visit a Buddhist sangha (community), you will find that the heart of their community is practice — they don’t just talk about Buddhism, they live it. And the heart of their practice is meditation.
In a similar way, I believe a truly mystical or contemplative church will emphasize practice as well — and the heart of Christian practice is prayer. Prayer in many forms: from “saying prayers” to chanting the psalms to fixed-hour prayer at different times during the day, to the kinds of practices typically associated with mysticism: meditation and contemplation.
So, a truly contemplative church will emphasize prayer, meditation and contemplation. Depending on the church’s denominational affiliation, it might also emphasize other practices traditionally associated with contemplation, such as Centering Prayer, lectio divina (meditative scripture reading), working with a spiritual director, making retreats, studying the wisdom of the mystics, and putting the contemplative life “to work” by engaging in a social ministry such as feeding the homeless or supporting refugees.
A truly contemplative, mystical church will still have plenty in common with other churches: including Sunday morning worship, study of scripture, small prayer groups, opportunities for fellowship and service, and making a commitment to stewardship as a spiritual practice. And because Christian spirituality is inclusive rather than exclusive by nature, a truly mystical church would still be the kind of place where people who do not feel personally called to study or practice contemplative forms of prayer would still feel welcome and at home.
Some Churches Are More Mystical Than Others
There are certainly individual churches here and there where the clergy and/or the church leadership, are very open to contemplation and mysticism. I know of several off the top of my head: Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, GA; St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY; Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gainesville, FL; Haw Creek Commons in Asheville, NC; The Portico in Tampa, FL; and the Church of Conscious Harmony in Austin, TX. Certainly there are others. But what is true of all these communities is that they serve a variety of people, so not every member of all these churches thinks of themselves as “mystics” or even as contemplatives.
Contemplatives, it seems have to learn how to live in a world where only a few people seem to be called (or accept the call) to live a truly contemplative life.
But if truly contemplative-friendly churches are still in the minority, how can you find a church that is open to nurturing the mystical life? Here are a few thoughts.
- Check out the Quakers. Quakerism has given us a long lineage of Christian contemplatives, from George Fox to John Woolman to Rufus Jones to, in our time, Parker J. Palmer and Richard Foster. Because Quakerism stresses silent prayer, meditation, and learning to listen to the leading of the Spirit within, it is perhaps the most “mystical-friendly” of all the Christian denominations.
- Look for churches that host Centering Prayer or Christian Meditation Groups. Sometimes even if the congregation as a whole is oblivious to mysticism, you can find people committed to the contemplative life by joining a local group dedicated to a practice like Centering Prayer of the World Community of Christian Meditation (WCCM) method of Christian Meditation. Visit the Contemplative Outreach or WCCM websites to see if there is contact information for a group near you.
- In the Catholic world, parishes that are served by Jesuit priests, Franciscans, Carmelites or some of the other religious orders can sometimes be very contemplative-friendly. It really varies from church to church. But it’s worth looking into.
Finally, I think what many people who are drawn to contemplation and mysticism do: find a Centering Prayer or similar group, and/or become affiliated with a monastery or retreat center where you can meet like-minded people, who are interested in contemplative practice and learning the wisdom of the mystics. On a more personal level, many people cultivate their desire for contemplative support by working with a spiritual director or guide. In fact, I would argue that anyone who is serious about daily prayer ought to have a spiritual guide anyways! If you are interested in learning more about one-on-one spiritual guidance, visit the website for Spiritual Director’s International.
You Can Make a Difference
But what if you just don’t have any luck finding a contemplative church, you don’t live anywhere near a monastery or retreat center, and even finding a spiritual director or centering prayer group seems to be impossible?
In this scenario, I would encourage you to pray about whether or not you could start your own group, either at your neighborhood or even in your own home.
There are some interesting resources for people who want to start or develop a contemplative church. I wrote a blog post called Nine Ways to Foster a Contemplative Church — perhaps you could share that with your pastor or other elders in your congregation, or invite a group of like-minded persons to read this with you and pray over it to see how God might be leading your church to become more contemplative. For a more in-depth resource, consider reading Contemplative Church: How Meditative Prayer and Monastic Practices Help Congregations Flourish by Peter Traben Haas. It’s a book that makes the case for why it is a good idea for the neighborhood church to become more contemplative. Once again, consider sharing it with your pastor and/or starting a group to read it together. And then see where the Spirit leads you.
You could also contact WCCM or Contemplative Outreach to see about starting a contemplative prayer group in your church.
Good luck! I hope everyone who would love to be part of a contemplative or mystical church will have the opportunity to do so: either by joining an existing congregation that is mystical-friendly or else helping to start such a community in your neighborhood.
If we are looking for happiness, we first of all have the impression of being powerless. We are often in circumstances that we understand as an expression of our powerlessness. We go to work, buy, cook, eat, clean up, prepare for the next day and spend another two hours watching TV. Our discussions are usually in the same direction. We fall asleep tired and seldom wonder if we’ve gotten closer to our happiness today. Others of us live alone and have a lot of free time. They may try to kill their boredom by hanging out in front of the computer, drinking alcohol or doing sports. Many of us are waiting for the day when happiness appears. But this day always seems to be just as far in the future as last year. Is it even in our power to find happiness or are we at the mercy of a chaotic world that pushes us around ruthlessly? The good news is that all we have to do is stop doing the wrong thing. Then happiness and peace will naturally flow into our lives as well as their external representatives friendship, prosperity, love, security. The power is already in us. However, it eludes the access of our ego. This is the voice of our limited identity that babbles incessantly in our heads. This voice complains, criticizes and sends us on an eternal search for something that it can not recognize. Therefore, when we listen to that voice, we are doomed to a fruitless search. The higher aspect of our self, on the other hand, is always loved, connected and loved. This higher self sends us joy, inspiration, enthusiasm and love. Our goal should be to listen more and more to this voice, which shows itself in an inner intuition. First, however, we must go the path of feeling to become clear enough inside to allow and understand higher energies. In short, we are crossing the bridge from powerlessness to power, where we stop resisting the things that appear in our awareness, be they external or internal appearances. When we stop judging, we will grow in power, greatness, and happiness, and the world will become smaller. The awakening of the Buddha meant nothing other than the realization that the whole universe was in his mind. This experience is not beyond our reach. It’s not that difficult to get them temporarily, as we may think. But it is difficult to stay in this bliss the whole time.
We can search and read as many books as we want. When we don´t change the direction of our search, we will not find peace. Normally we are trying the change outside circumstances including the body. Within the spiritual field, we have an endless variety of practices to make body and mind better. But that is not what we ultimately are. We can heal and perfect our Body-mind identity as long as we want. One day it will die and we will be left with our soul to enjoy the freedom which was always given freely from God to us. Why shall we not claim it today? How can we claim it? By canceling the search of the Ego and open our heart to accept a gift that is not earned by us but give out of love.
I am still working on the final program to incorporate happiness into our lives. We have learned a lot from the Templar Tradition. There will be a strong element of surrender and in clearing all negative emotions.
Have you ever had the impression that the friends, acquaintances and guests who celebrated with you at a party had found the secret of happiness, but not you? Do you feel imperfect? Are you working hard to improve? Have you ever thought about changing your body? Have you suffered from your mistakes and imperfections that you thought others would love or appreciate less? If so, then welcome to the human family! We all have a voice in our heads that does not stop commenting on our lives with their negative talk. Every human being, on this planet who has accomplished something great, even something as great as the attainment of happiness, had to fight against this ego voice. Which way did the winners of this fight go against the inner adversary? How have primitive peoples around the world managed to preserve the innocence and happiness of childhood? Why have some cultures banned competitions and only played games where there were no losers? The answer to these questions is in your hands! But please be patient.
We in the West have been brought up to the belief that happiness can be gained through effort. However, if we were lucky, we were happy as children without effort. Then we were taught to go to school and do things we much less liked than romping, playing, and painting. We should go to school to later regain the happiness that was lost to us now as adults. Most of us have never recovered that happiness. The whole socialization was only intended to alienate us from ourselves. People who have lost themselves have to search and they mostly seek out in the outside, where their soul is not. These people are reliable members of society because they want to earn money to realize their dreams in the outdoors. Our society is based on mutual dependence. If we were all free and independent of industry offerings, we would not be so easily governed. We would not accept many things in our lives if we could feel our soul stronger. That’s why it’s good that many people today are on the path of inner awakening. It is a liberation movement that goes deeper than the 1960s hippy revolution that was directed against the Vietnam War and issued “Make Love Not War!”, With the term “love” having a strong sexual meaning. Today we know that we do not just become better people when we go to bed together. Also not necessarily happier. The happiness we chase after seems more like the scent of roses rising in certain chapels of the two Marys, the Mother of Jesus and the Magdalene, sometimes without reason and disappearing again. Happiness is fleeting and eludes our access until we fulfill its conditions and it illuminates itself. Luckily, there are methods that can bring it out. These are passed on in this book. They are not where we suspect them.