A Message from Daylesford Victoria, Australia.
Dear Karen and Madeline,
Thank you for accepting the Daylesford group as members into your circle.
Last week on Friday at 4 pm the first group was advertised in the yoga room in town. I put out 4 cushions for friends I knew were coming and was surprised when ten people walked in.
They were from all different spiritual backgrounds and after a short introduction that we were linking up with a worldwide network of people, consciously holding this time in peace and stillness, we sat in silence. Afterwards, I asked them what they hoped for and each spoke from the heart. Then spontaneously we all hugged, swaying with our arms around each other, smiling and laughing, full of hope, then two people announced that they would start a group on a Wednesday.
When your reflection for August arrived today, I was struck by the words, Circle of Silence for refugees, as at 5 pm after the CEN group finished, we joined another group outside in the main street of town, who advocate for refugees each week, holding up placards that say ‘toot for asylum seekers’, and ‘bring them here’.
The other aspect of your reflection that touches me is the reference to Stanislov Grof, as he looms large on the horizon of consciousness exploration that gave me hope when studying philosophy many years ago at University.
Timing and heartfelt connection demonstrate the power of this practice, and that people long for truth and kindness.
Thank you again
End of Year Message from the CEN Team! Happy Christmas!
As 2018 slowly moves towards its conclusion, I would like to thank each of you, on behalf of the Coordinating Team, for your involvement in our common endeavour throughout the year.
We have a growing number of people wanting to be placed on our email list, and this is heartening as it says that word is spreading and our community is becoming stronger. This in turn says something about the message and the activity of our contemplative sitting together each day being right for these our times. Welcome to those who have joined us this year. You help to strengthen the field of connection, contemplation and compassion that we seek to develop in the world. And thank you to all of you who continue to faithfully give time, energy and contemplative presence to help heal and unite a world so much in need of this balm for deep-seated wounds.
We are deeply grateful to all who have written reflections for the beginning of the various months of this year. It is so good to have an increasing diversity of reflective material, as well styles of writing. If you would be open to write a reflection for any month next year, please contact us via the website. You would be welcomed warmly into our communal pool of writers.
Thank you too to all who work behind the scenes to enable CEN to continue: Ann-Maree O’Beirne rsm – our website designer and manager; Anne McMillan rsm – our graphics creator (or finder) whose images so fittingly enhance the reflective material; Karen Muir rsj – our email manager who keeps us alerted to the latest posts; and Kerrie Hide who contributes ideas and reflections on a regular basis, and spreads word of CEN through her retreat and spirituality work across the country. All have an important part to play in this common endeavour.
With Christmas very much on the horizon, I take this opportunity, on behalf of the CEN Team, to wish each of you and your families, a very blessed and safe Christmas. May the peace, joy, love and hope that this season brings be experienced by you and all who cross your path in the weeks ahead. And may the New Year be a fresh and creative beginning to a year filled with new possibility for us all.
Hopefully, we will still be in union with one another in some form or another over the holiday time ahead.
Madeline Duckett rsm
(on behalf of the CEN Team).
Messages from the Network
CEN Meetings by Trisha Boetto
This year a few of us who are members of the CEN thought it would be good to get together for a cuppa, to meet each other and have a chat. We met at a local café’ in Kew, midway between the east and western parts of Melbourne.
I was delighted to have this contact and to meet others on this journey of contemplation in action. After introducing ourselves (I wore a maroon jumper for identification) we immediately started sharing our faith journeys and what mattered to us. We are two religious of different orders and a layperson.
After our initial meeting we decided to keep the conversation going and arranged to meet at a local nursery café so that we had contact with nature. Again, the conversation was heartfelt.
On the third occasion we met at our house with in a room with a garden view. We read a short meditation and then sat in silence for about 30 minutes using a meditative phone app with Tibetan bells signalling the start and end of our contemplative practice.
Today we met at the same house but in a different room looking out into the front garden. We read Tess Venekeer’s reflection before sitting in silence, together for, maybe 45 minutes.
It means a great deal to me to be able to share this contemplative practice together. There is a stillness and a sense of peace that flows. It is something deeply nurturing to my spirit.
I find it difficult to put into words, but I have a sense our meetings as a deeply transformative practice. 13/11/2017
End of Year Message from the CEN Team!
To all of our faithful CEN participants,
Thank you for being part of this growing endeavor to help develop a field of healing, love and compassion in our oftentimes violent and hurting world. It is heartening to know that so many want to be an active part of this Network and to participate when and as they can in our daily holding, together, of a world. The world in many places seems to want division, separateness and power over, rather than moving to appreciation of difference to bring about synergy and ‘power with’ others, flowing from a much deeper Source.
As 2017 slowly moves to its closure, the CEN team thanks you for your membership and cooperative effort towards our united CEN goal. In doing this, we are very aware that WE ARE the message and the very force we want to grow and develop in the small area that each of us can influence in life.
On a number of occasions recently, someone has said to me, either at a meeting or even in the local greengrocer’s shop: “I still pray at 4.00 pm”, or “I set my phone alarm at 4.00 pm to remind me to join with you in spirit”. In 2018, we are hoping to discover just how many different methods people are using to stay connected with CEN and participate in its purpose. It may prove helpful for all of us and give fresh ideas for our own practice.
As we begin another year, may each of us know that s/he is never alone… that we are deeply connected to all that is, through our sacred Source, and that newness happens at each moment if we only SEE it.
The blessing of newness, creative being and action be yours in the coming year. And over the holiday period, may we still meet by intention and desire at our usual time.
Madeline Duckett on behalf of the CEN Team.
An Advent Reflection…Cosmic Christ!
A PERSONAL SHARING OF EXPERIENCE…
Having heard of the Contemplative Evolution Network in June of 2015, I felt called to spend the time between 4 and 5 pm daily in prayer for those suffering in the world at large. I continued with this up until late December 2015. Because of things that were going on in my life at that time, I stopped the prayer time but didn’t forget about it. Then in May 2016, during a retreat, I heard it spoken of again and it stirred me to want to join in this prayer with others once more.
I am aware that I carry a sense of the gut wrenching pain of the world inside of me. It lies like a cracked ceramic bowl inside of me – I carry it in the very cracking of my own heart. I am aware that I am not the only one who carries this sense of the world’s pain within them. There are others who have this same experience deep inside. I feel no physical pain because it somehow lies in the spiritual realm, but it is there nevertheless.
The words from the New Testament: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light’ and ‘Come to me all you who are burdened’ rise in me as I think of all this pain. A little while ago I would have said that God was a ‘companion’ always by my side. Now I know and say that I live in God. I know this deep in my heart. I don’t think I know what this means yet.
There is another aspect to this suffering as well – an aspect that was a surprise but not a surprise. That is, that amongst the joys and pains of life, I have a place to go to deep inside of me – where God is, in the deep stillness. It is a place where I can go and be in union with my God for a moment or longer, anywhere, anytime.
These things would not have happened to me if I had not started praying with CEN (the Contemplative Evolution Network) and said “YES” to God. Be encouraged by these for I am sure your experiences are similar.
March 16, 2016
ENFOLDED IN LOVE: A REFLECTION….
From a Brisbane Group
Click to download here
It’s Friday evening. 7pm. One by one the women arrive, feeling their way up the steep external stairs of the old timber cottage. A conversational hum welcomes them as they join those gathered in the kitchen. Refreshment is fruit and licorice teas, served in Art Deco tea cups. Dark chocolate, ginger and a choice of nuts complement the beverages.
On a weekday morning another group gathers, and the verandah becomes the sharing space. It’s birdsong among the greenery of the garden that greets those gathered, while the hum of traffic reminds us that we live in the world, even when called to be apart from it.
Who are these women, and why are we meeting?
The groups are an outcome of a 6 day silent retreat held last year. Enfolded in Love – a retreat guided by Dr Kerrie Hide and directed by Sr Catherine Hefferan focused on exploring and experiencing Love’s evolving through reflecting on the wisdom of Julian, Mechtild, Ilia, Teilhard and others. Through embracing silence and stillness we ‘became aware of the essential relatedness of all things in a single centre of Love.’ (Duckett 2014) and a deep yearning emerged: to
become a point of light within the world.
At the present time a map
is being unfolded made of the lights
of the lovers of God.
The purpose of this light
is to change the inner energy structure of the planet’.
(Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee: Spiritual Ecology)
Enfolded in Love gatherings were born.
Monthly gatherings bring matters of the heart to the light of Love for the healing of our planet. During the first 20 minutes a theme emerges which frames our intention for the silent space. Environmental and relevant social justice issues are usually uppermost. Preparation time follows: wisdom from the retreat, poem, reflection from ancient or modern mystic. How often the pre-selected extract dovetails perfectly into the intention for that gathering…
And so, to silence. ‘we are … drawn into a more profound enfolding and all-encompassing union:
a communion of hearts indwelling each other in love….
we become universally human and common-ally conscious.
We move into the cottage’s inner space. Candle glow illuminates the darkness, choral and Celtic voices prepare us to deepen our practice and Tibetan bowl sings for the period of heart-silence to begin. Love’s energy rises and Golden Retriever Adele enters, visiting each enfoldee in turn, settling down in our midst: a non-human reminder of the universal nature of Love’s enfolding.
Bowl sings again to end our formal session. Silence continues, too deep for utterance. One by one enfoldees arise, embracing the night as they leave. No verbal farewells: heartfelt hugs conclude the evening. It is understood that we take our silence with us into the world beyond these walls.
In the morning gatherings it is Creation that calls us to silence. We drink in summer’s warmth and sink deeply into that space. Our intention will be different from Friday night, but the format and atmosphere is the same. A silent farewell hug, and the formal time is over. What continues is the ongoing impact of our silence experience: viscerally, emotionally, spiritually.
Once again our gatherings have woven their magic: enriching us with the felt awareness of Divinity in our midst, and our role in bringing to light the ever unfolding Love that is around and within all.
February 5, 2016
STEPPING STONES INTO SILENCE
I come to this time of silent contemplation filled with the activities of the day. So I sit quietly and notice my surroundings.
• I intentionally recall why I am here.
• I remember the latest news and broadcasts of world events.
• I recall daily happenings within my own small world.
As I quieten within myself, I slowly invite words that I sense capture some of the causes that can be attributed to our world’s darkness, troubles and sufferings at this time, to slowly drift into my mind. I do not analyse them I just let them float to the surface. They can be words such as: corruption… manipulation… greed… violence…anger… abuse… fear… unhealthy power… lack of forgiveness… indifference… selfishness… injustice… (you may find your own words).
I then invite Light words to surface so as to transform, seep into, integrate with or overshadow these Dark words. These Light words embody the various colours of Love—Conscious Love. They are words for which I imagine all humanity hungers, longs and yearns. They can be words such as: kindness… care… concern… compassion… forgiveness… mercy… courage…strength… support… affirmation… gratitude… appreciation… (again, you will find your own words).
I then invite the Light of Love to overshadow the Darkness, to fuse with the darkness… or I may image a scene of lightning (the strong, white, pure light of Love) breaking through the abyss of night. I can stay with and hold this image for quite some time. If or when I find myself drifting away I again recall known events and happenings in our world such as: the wars and all those caught up in the horror of these; the refugees with their fear, their experiences of violence and their drive to survive. I cannot imagine the mixed emotions they may be feeling and I place them in the White Light of being enfolded in compassion, care, kindness and mercy.
I may bring to consciousness and hold those in my daily life who I know are suffering with ill health or inner wounds of such things as betrayal or rejection, and again I imagine them enfolded in the White Light of pure Love.
Sometimes I behold the rainbow colours of a small crystal recently given to me. I am consciously aware that each colour is a reflection of the Light. Each colour reflects different aspects of Love. There are many varying colours, yet all are revealed through the One Light. And once again I am focused on the call and purpose of this time of contemplation.
After a while I can at times come to a place of nothingness—no thoughts, no words drifting up and I find myself simply focusing on the White Light of Love enveloping All.
When I become aware that I have drifted back into my mind—to my daily tasks—I simply return to letting the words of Darkness and Light surrounding the sufferings of our world, re-emerge within me.
I am also conscious of the many people with me in this time of contemplation. This helps me to drift back once again into the empty space of being absorbed by the White Light of Conscious Love and sense an Energy of Oneness with all CEN participants.
I hope this small sharing may be of help to all of us as we struggle to slow down and enter into the stillness of silence, the emptiness of self and the Oneness of Love/Light…God.
December 20, 2015
Happy Christmas to all in the Contemplative Evolution Network.
And a very Happy New Year!
To you who have been regular supporters and participants in the wave of contemplation and compassion that underpins this Network, we wish a very happy and blessed Christmas. May it be an experience of joy and grace for you, your families and for all whom you hold in your hearts.
May this celebration of the birth of Christ fill you with peace and hope as we continue to hold in our hearts together the hurting people and places of the world that Christ loves.
May the earth and all who dwell upon it be healed and made whole by our faithful attention to the sacred hour between 4pm and 5 pm each day.
May this Christmas bring light hope and peace to each one and a deepening presence of Love in the world around us.
Wishing you a happy, safe and blessed Christmas
From the CEN Team.
“The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation,
chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter.
He comes not from above,
but from within,
he comes that we might find him
in this world of ours.”
Pope Francis – “Laudato Si” 236
May the indwelling God Incarnate fill your life with unfolding love,
and may that love flow out to all the world, to the whole of creation.
Christmas blessings from all of us at CEN.