Husband Jeff and I have been meditating for some years now, having been part of one meditation group or another for most of the 24 years we have been together. We were initially taught to meditate through the TM movement.
It was a movement that seemingly caused Christians deep concern for a variety of reasons, however, not being a churchgoer at that time by any stretch of the imagination, it was of no concern. Also, I knew myself well enough to discern that if I paid good money to learn something I was more likely to stick to it. Jeff also learnt to mediate with the TM movement, just after he met me. The draw card for me had been my questioning of a woman I worked with, having witnessing a dramatic positive transformation in her.
At that point I had never even heard of meditation, nor did I think I was dissatisfied with my life as it was, which incidentally was a far cry from where it is now! Her response was enough for me to investigate, and after obtaining assurance that it was ‘nothing to do with religion’ I learnt how to meditate. It changed my outlook and my life completely within a few short months, and since then I have been an avid advocate for the practice, and, might I add, whatever discipline it comes through.
My changes took me initially through everything the ‘new age’ had to offer, vehemently avoiding anything to do with religion, especially the Christian religion, having had plenty of encounters with several ‘born again Christians’ I had worked with. I was not impressed, and assumed that that was the full sum of the Christian religion. How wrong I was! At some point in my seeking, about 15 years ago, by chance I began reading Christian based mystical material and obtained an entirely different perspective on the word ‘mystic’, and indeed the Christian teachings. Two books had a dramatic effect on my journey around that time, Kathleen Norris’ ‘Cloister Walk’ and Carol Flinder’s ‘Enduring Grace’.
It wasn’t until I did a course with an Anglican priest who ran several different classes through Theology House in Christchurch, that I began to truly realise that there was a different aspect of Christianity not normally offered, not readily apparent, and was alive and well in our wee country! Father Phil Dyer became a light in our lives. Amongst other things of a Christian mystical nature, he taught Christian meditation and introduced us to AngloCatholicism. He also baptised me. Then through the Labyrinth, set up monthly at St. Luke’s in the city, which Phil helped to initially set up, we were introduced to the wondrous Anglo-Catholic tradition which has never failed to draw us, week after week since then.
Jeff and I had been trying different churches, carefully avoiding the modern offshoots that we knew were not our scene, even though we didn’t know at that point what exactly our scene was. We have now long been regular attendees of St. Michaels, also in the city. We have meditated with various Christian based groups over the years, mainly changing only to fit in with what else was happening in our lives at the time. We both have elderly parents which take up a great deal of our time and energy. Health problems, mainly theirs, plus a few other difficulties, make it difficult for us to have a group of our own as yet.
Of two things I feel sure. Firstly, knowing my initial abhorrence for anything religious as such, in retrospect, every single place my journey has led me has been acutely NZCCM – © June 2012 9 (and sneakily at times I feel!) instrumental in getting me to where I am right now, and for this I am deeply grateful. Thank you Lord. Secondly, I feel sure that meditation and the contemplative way, have given me a deep respect and tolerance for all pathways. Even the ones that are seemingly ridiculous and often downright dangerous to us looking on.
The Divine certainly does work in mysterious ways, ways I have learnt we can never really place judgement on, because our view of reality is so limited.
Yvonne & Jeff – Christchurch