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Thursday, July 26, 2012


I've heard about HeartMath for a long time but only recently decided to delve into it a bit more. It is a well researched approach to health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, spiritual, lifestyle...) I know a GP who recommends it to her patients and someone highly qualified in education who has trained to present its application to schools - children and teachers.

If you are interested in exploring the many free resources here's a link to one page: http://www.heartmath.org/free-services/solutions-for-stress/index-of-all-solutions.html  From there you can see other free downloads in the side bar or go to the home page.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The "God Particle"?

I am fascinated by discoveries in science and cosmology. I am definitely an interested layperson with no expertise in the intricacies of any of it! But I am fortunate to be part of a Church community with some "real scientists". One of whom is Dr Jeff Tallon, a physicist who specializes in superconductivity.
He recently wrote an article for the Herald on the recent excitement about the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. If you missed it click here. He has an interesting line about the origin of the term "God particle"!

Whether or not we think this discovery brings us any closer to "understanding" God's creative activity, it certainly reminds me yet again of the amazing complexity of the universe. We (Ponsonby Baptist Church community) were encouraged - half jokingly I think - to see how the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle could lead to a call to worship. Several people responded and this prayer was used last Sunday as just that - a call to worship:

In the chaos of collision comes enlightenment.
From high speed disintegration we learn something more 
of the secrets of big bangs and new beginnings.

We collide: with life, with meaning, with others, 
with a vast and unknown darkness
Our chaotic thoughts shatter and decay
pinpricks of light making momentary marks on the vast screen of reality.

We collide with you God
In our chaos and brief flashes of registered presence
Grant us insight on what really counts
and peace to live with our short moments of lucidity and light
before the flash of existence and life becomes a faded memory.
                                                                                                (Thanks to Rob Kilpatrick)

Much food for thought here! 
I think this prayer lends itself to being used for a Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) meditation. If you are not familiar with that way to pray the simple steps are:
1. Read until a word or line draws your special attention. (Lectio)
2. Reflect on what that might be about for you. (Meditatio)
3. Respond in some way - a prayer, a cry, a commitment. (Oratio)
4. Rest in the awareness of God present in all of this. (Contemplatio)

(There is a much more detailed explanation of Lectio Divina here.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Healing the Future

Following on my from my previous post about not giving up hope when the daily news seems full of atrocities... I recently bought the latest book by the Linns (Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn) They have written many books over the years - all with a healing theme. This one is called Healing the Future: Personal Recovery from Societal Wounding. On the back cover they say: "This book recounts a journey in which we were nearly overwhelmed by the toxic aspects of our society. As we noted what helped us we began giving retreats on "Healing the Future". Here we share how we and our retreatants recovered.
We are between two worlds. The world we've known, of competition, rewards and punishments, individualism and domination, is crumbling around us. A new world with different economic, political and spiritual assumptions is emerging. How can we live through this transition, in touch with our power to fulfill our dreams for ourselves and our children?
Based upon research in psychology, biology, spirituality, current affairs and other fields, this book also offers simple healing processes for facing the future with confidence and hope, drawing upon the inner wisdom that has guided us through 13.7 billion years of evolution." Denny, Sheila & Matt.

I have enjoyed all of the books written by the Linns over the years. This one is no exception. It particularly struck me that they have done a great job of blending vulnerable personal experience with rigorous research into so many current fields of expanding knowledge. Dennis and Sheila now have a son and they found themselves quite depressed about the future he might face. This I'm sure will be an experience shared by many parents. Matthew is a Jesuit priest (so was Dennis before his marriage.) All of their healing ministry is set in the context of deeply lived faith.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nelson Mandela

The paragraph below is a quote from the Spiritual Directors' International newsletter to members. The writer had recently been in South Africa at an African spiritual directors' conference.

"On July 18, Nelson Mandela celebrates his ninety-fourth birthday. All over South Africa, I saw how people are preparing to pay him homage. On the chalkboard of the local restaurant, “Happy Birthday, Madiba! is carefully scripted in bold rainbow colors. People gathered in the streets to be filmed singing happy birthday to be given as a gift on his special day. The Johannesburg Star newspaper asks, “What are you doing for Madiba’s birthday?”"

Nelson Mandela is another "living saint" in my view. He managed to maintain a courteous and compassionate manner even when imprisoned so unjustly for 27 years. That in itself is inspiring. I'm not sure I could remain courteous for 27 days when unjustly accused! Inspiring also is the fact that he never gave up his hope and belief that apartheid could be changed. He lived - and lives - to see this hope eventuate. To me this is a powerful reminder not to give in to despair when daily viewing the atrocities that still happen in many parts of the world (sadly this includes South Africa). 

I hope Mandela's birthday gets a mention in NZ on the 18th of this month. I am celebrating it in advance by renewing my commitment to "faith, hope and love" (1 Cor 13:13) in every situation however unlikely a positive outcome may seem.