Saturday, May 16, 2009


One may be highly motivated to pray, but if the body does not co-operate, one is helplessly struggling to be still. The most common experience of distractions in meditation is due to lack of conditioning of the body and breath, Fr Joe Pereira told nearly 100 members of the Singapore chapter of the World Community fo r Christian Meditation (WCCM) Fr Joe was in Singapore to conduct a weekend retreat on “Wholeness and Holiness through Meditation,” at Trinity Theological College on March 21 – 22.
Fr Joe is the Founder and Managing Trustee of Kripa Foundation in India, the world’s largest NGO working in the field of addiction and HIV/AIDS. He teaches a model of yoga combined with Christian Meditation, which has had remarkable results in helping HIV patients keep their condition under control, and helping addicts change their behaviour and find wholeness. On 26 January 2009 the Government of India conferred on Fr Joe the Padma Shree Award for his significant contribution to the nation in the field of social work.
In the retreat for Singapore WCCM members, Fr Joe showed some simple breathing and stretching exercises which would prepare the body for meditation, helping us to sit upright and still as instructed by Fr John Main, OSB, the first teacher of Christian Meditation and the founder of WCCM. Fr Joe, a certified Iyengar instructor, also conducted an intensive yoga workshop for core team members, at the Attic of Holy Spirit Church. With his characteristic warmth, compassion and generosity of spirit Fr Joe explained how yoga can bring integration of body mind and spirit and deepen spirituality.
In the words of WCCM Director Fr Laurence Freeman OSB, “Fr Joe Pereira offers Christians a practical and positive spirituality of the body.”
Yoga helps to put a person in touch with the Inner Center, which Christians know as the indwelling Spirit of God. It does this by disciplining and awakening the body to a deeper awareness of itself as truly the temple of God. It engages and includes all the systems of the body in the work of shifting the locus of control from the ego to the Spirit of the Risen Lord dwelling in our hearts, so that we are able to say with our whole being, not just our heads, “Thy will be done”. When we can do that, we are set free of addictive behaviour, which is in fact self-will run out of control.
Summarised from “Yoga and the Practice of Christian Meditation,” by Fr Joe Pereira, publ. Medio Media.