Peter Ng (WCCM Executive Committee and Singapore National Coordinator) was invited recently to speak on meditation to the staff of Dymon Asia Capital in Singapore by Danny Yong (Chief Investment Officer and a founding partner of the company).
The Meditatio Centre was host to the launch of a new book by WCCM Oblate Jim Green.
The book, Giving up without Giving Up: Meditation and Depressions looks at the subject of Mental Health and Meditation.
Jim’s personal approach and to writing and his deep experience in this field is evident throughout the pages making this a very readable book.
Giving Up Without Giving Up explores the possibility that we have much to learn from the desert times in our lives, when it feels as though we are losing everything, most of all any sense of who we are. Jim offers us a moving account of just how this wisdom practice can accompany each of us as we make ‘the gentle pilgrimage of recovery’. He offers a thorough and practical approach to our times of personal desolation, centred on the practice of meditation (both Buddhist and Christian) , showing how we can learn to treat ourselves and each other with care and compassion.The book is published by Bloomsbury Continuum and is available from all good bookstores and from MedioMedia publishers RRP £12.99 (you can order online here)
By Jim Green
I am writing this short account of our weekend workshop immediately after listening to an episode of “Costing the Earth” on BBC Radio 4. I write it with tears in my eyes. This episode of the regular series was entitled “Eco Anxiety”. The programme’s website introduces it with these questions: “Is the future of the planet making you depressed? Do you feel paralysed, unable to imagine the happiness of future generations?” There are only painful answers to these questions.
These are challenges that threaten to overwhelm and disable each one of us who has not sought comforting refuge in denial. It was an acute awareness of them that moved Peter and Ruth Musgrave to facilitate a workshop at The Meditatio Centre on Saturday 11th May. They chose to call it “Meditation and Hope Amidst Climate Chaos” and they further asked, “What does hope look like in the uncertainty of climate breakdown?” Well, one answer to that is that it looks like thirty people of all ages and differing spiritual traditions (or none) coming together to talk, listen deeply, cry, laugh, share food, rage, face agonizing truths and sit in a large circle of prayerful, patient silence.
We watched deeply distressing video footage, curated by Pete who has done a great deal of community development work in Bangladesh, showing the harsh and heart-breaking reality of the climate catastrophe unfolding in that country. Looking at colourful images of beautiful animals and plants, we lamented the thoughtless destruction we are raining down on our brothers and sister of the natural world. We sat in meditation; we went silently into the green spaces around The Meditatio Centre; we reflected on the prophetic warnings and inspirations being given to us by those with sufficient vision to see exactly what is happening. The words of one of these, the great progressive theologian and activist, Walter Wink, sustained us and pointed the way forward, reminding us that:
- We must not try to bear all the suffering of creation ourselves
- Prayer is a means of protection from the power of the Domination System
- History belongs to the intercessors (those who can envision and bring into being a better future, created by the irresistible force of hope)
This was a deeply moving, game-changing event, beautifully designed and hosted by Peter and Ruth. I was not the only one, I think, who felt more and more tearful as the day wore on. But alongside that sensation was an even more powerful, growing sense of hope and – yes – even joy.
A psychotherapist interviewed for the Eco Anxiety programme recommended a way out of the paralysing dread and despair: “You should not be facing this alone. You really need to connect with community…Find your pack, find your clan and join with them, so you’re not alone, and that is part of the solution”. That is exactly what we did on Saturday, encountering the hope and strength that comes from lamenting together as one. We discovered in our own shared experience the truth of St Augustine’s words: “We must pray as if everything depends on God, and act as if everything depends on us”. As was said even before that: “With God, all things are possible”.
The “Eco Anxiety” episode of “Costing the Earth” is available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00050qr
By Vincent Maire
This presentation gives an insight into the nature of suffering and what it means for patients, especially patients in palliative care. While the talk is from the perspective of end-of-life care, it will be of interest to anyone involved in supporting someone though a crisis. During the talk, Rod MacLeod suggests six questions that can be used to help a person describe their suffering.
“I know you have pain, but are there things worse than your pain?”
“Are you frightened by all this?”
“What exactly are you frightened of?”
“What do you worry is going to happen to you?”
“What is the worst thing about all this?”
“How long did yesterday seem to you?”
Rod MacLeod has recently retired as palliative care specialist at Harbour Hospice, Auckland, New Zealand. He has held academic positions at both University of Auckland and University of Sydney and is a consultant to HammondCare, Sydney, Australia.
This presentation was originally published at http://www.palliativecarebridge.com.au. The Palliative Care Bridge is a state-wide, palliative care education program coordinated and delivered by the HammondCare consortium, comprising HammondCare, Sacred Heart Health Service and Calvary Healthcare Sydney.