Meditation is the practice of focusing or quieting the mind. It’s a way to be in the present moment, experiencing stillness and silence, and to release stress and unlock our potential for compassion and creativity. The term contemplative meditation describes practices which open us to a relationship with the divine.
“Contemplation is a gift from God.”
– Teresa Avila – Spanish Carmelite Mystic, 1515-1582
What To Expect
The meditation group is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators. When new people join us, we do a short introduction, which includes instruction about ‘How to meditate’ (see below) and about being still and silent. The Soulspace meditation group follows the teaching of the World Community for Christian Meditation, which was started by a Benedictine monk, John Main OSB, in the 1970s. He was a great teacher and we usually read an extract from one of his books at each group meeting. If we have refreshments at the start, the session lasts about 65-70 minutes; during COVID19 restrictions, it’s 45 minutes.
what happens in a session
Find out what happens during a Soul Space meditation session, including the opening and closing prayers, and a guide on how to meditate.
A list of helpful resources related to Christian Meditation and Contemplative Prayer, curated by Revd. Jutta – not exhaustive but good to get started!
Where and when
Venue: St. Thomas Vicarage,
102 Cromer Road
Ipswich, IP1 5EP
Time: Tuesdays 7.30-8.30pm
Call: 07958 360564
What Happens In A Session
At the start of the session, we settle in with a refreshment (this is not possible during COVID) while we wait for people to arrive. Everyone receives a card with the Opening and closing prayers and ‘How to meditate’.
The formal part begins with this:
Opening Prayer (John Main)
“Gracious God, open our hearts to the silent presence of the spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call, ‘Maranatha…Come, Lord Jesus’.”
The prayer is followed by a short reading from ‘Silence & Stillness in Every Season. Daily readings with John Main’, ed. Paul T Harris, DLT 1997, 2010
In order to help our bodies to relax and be still, we then move into a guided body awareness exercise, to let go of some of the tension we carry in our bodies and to be aware of our posture.
Closing Prayer (Laurence Freeman OSB)
“May this group be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. May those who pray here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve all who come, and to receive them as Christ Himself. In the silence of this room may all the suffering, violence, and confusion of the world encounter the Power that will console, renew and uplift the human spirit.
May all who come here weighed down by the problems of humanity leave giving thanks for the wonder of human life. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN.”
At the end of the session we allow about 10-15 minutes if anybody wants to speak about their experience of the meditation session that day, or to engage with any questions people may have. It’s absolutely fine not to say anything and just listen.
The website of the World Community for Christian Meditation is full of helpful resources and information. It is available as a phone app, which includes the opening and closing prayers and a meditation timer – very useful!
These are small books which are very helpful and explain the theology that underpins Christian meditation:
John Main ‘Word into Silence’ A manual for Christian Meditation.1980; Canterbury Press 2006
Your daily practice by Laurence Freeman OSB
Publisher: MMI, ISBN: 9789810817107, £3.00
Silence and Stillness in Every Season. Daily Readings with John Main, MedioMedia 2010 (A good resource for anyone who likes something short to read to accompany their daily practice.)
Radical Simplicity’ by John Main
Publisher: Medio Media, ISBN: 9780957576179, £6.00
These are writers from various Christian traditions, which are very helpful on the value of silent prayer and contemplation.
Benignus O’Rourke ‘Finding your hidden treasure’ DLT 2010 (This is the book I have given away numerous times! A collection of short essays on various aspects of the value and practice of silence. Very accessible and helpful. Fr Ben, OSA was a much loved and sought-after spiritual guide at Clare Priory, Suffolk, for 20 years. He died in 2019.)
Martin Laird ‘A Sunlit Absence’. Silence, Awareness and Contemplation’, OUP, 2011
Martin Laird ‘Into the Silent Land’. The Practice of Contemplation’, DLT 2006
Cynthia Bourgeault ‘Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening’, 2004.
Cynthia Bourgeault ‘The wisdom of Jesus’, 2008
Br. David Steindl-Rast ‘The way of silence – Engaging the sacred in daily life’, DLT 2018 (the founder of www.gratefulness.org)