Dharma Topic: Spiritual Direction and Still Water Orientation

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, November 3, we will have a guestpresenter: Ann Kline will share with us some of her experiencespracticing and teaching group spiritual direction.

Ann is a the Co-Founder of Lev Tahor, a Center for JewishSpirituality and Learning, a zen practitioner, a hospice volunteer, and, earlierin her life, an environmental lawyer.

Ann’s first experienced group spiritual direction in a 1998workshop, and was transformed by it:

I was in a small group of people where I could really talk and share who I was without feeling I needed to pose, posture, embellish, hide, or restrict, what I needed to say. Once I was able to fully express who I was, express that which was underneath the words — when I was able to claim that aliveness for myself, I was able to connect with it in others, and it changed everything.

As part of Ann’s presentation, we may share together or insmall groups our answers to three questions:

  • What is the longing, the aspiration, that brought you into mindfulness practice?

  • Where have you been able to speak out this, to share this, to be encouraged in this?

  • How might the Sangha be a place where this aspiration is acknowledged and nourished?

Below is one of Ann’s favorite quotes on speaking andlistening from one’s heart, from the 17th century French priest, Jean Pierre deCaussade.

Additionally, this Thursday is a first Thursday and we willhave our Still Water Orientation starting at 6:30 pm. If you have questionsabout Still Water or about the basic mindfulness practices of breathing,sitting, and walking, please come. Experienced practitioners are also encouragedto attend to share their questions and insights.

Following our recent first Thursday tradition, the firstmeditation period will include a guided meditation and we will have a briefexplanation of walking meditation.

The best times to join us this Thursday are:

  • For the Orientation at 6:30

  • Just before the first sitting at 7 pm

  • At 7:25, at the beginning of walking meditation; or,

  • At 7:35, at the beginning of the second sitting. (To allow others to maintain concentration and continuity, we ask that practitioners not enter during the walking meditation.)

Hope to see you,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

From The Sacredness of the Moment by JeanPierre de Caussade

Come, all you simple souls –
Those without piety, grand talents,
or lessons learned.

Come, all you
Who understand nothing of spiritual terms
who are filled with amazement
at the eloquence of the learned.

Come, and I will teach you the secret,
unreachable by those brilliant scholars –
The secret of perfection.

You will find this perfection within you,
above you, below you,
with every step you take.
Then you will be united with God –
hand in hand you will walk.

Come, not to study the map of spiritual terrain,
But to possess it for yourself;
To walk about in it
without fear of going astray.

Why learn the theory of Divine Grace,
and what it has been doing throughout the ages,
when you can become and be
the very instruments of its operations?

Come, not to discuss the words of others,
But to listen…
For in the sacredness of the moment
Divine Grace is telling you alone all that is required.