Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fr. Joe' Meditatio Worshop Across UK - "A humble beginning just begun..."- A report by Nirvana Crowley -UK


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Fr. Joe at the Meditatio Workshop
Father Joe inspired the hearts and souls of many across the UK in a series of workshops and lectures between 25th – 30th October. These were arranged in conjunction with the World Community For Christian Meditation ( 'WCCM') and involved sharing teachings on how Yoga and Christian Meditation can help in recovery. Workshops were also conducted on Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga® as a tool for shaping the body as a temple of God's Spirit.
The program began in the auspicious surroundings of the shrine of Julian of Norwich. Julian of Norwich was a fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic who experienced a series of divine revelations. An anchoress was a person called to a solitary life, but one that was not cut-off from the world, but one anchored in it. Her life was one of prayer, contemplation and counselling, her home was a small room, or cell, attached to the Church of S. Julian, Bishop of Le Mans, just off one of the main streets of Norwich. Father Joe conducted a mass and meditation in the cell for members of WCCM and friends of Kripa bringing the meditation to a close with Julian’s prayer that “all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”.
On Thursday evening Father Joe delivered a talk on Kripa and how meditation and Yoga can help in recovery. The audience was a mix of meditators, individuals in recovery and professionals who experienced a unique blend of teachings which spanned Christianity, Eastern Spirituality and Western Science. Individuals gained an understanding of the energy centres in the body, the importance of a breath culture and dispossession. Yoga was taught as a pathway to move from the periphery to the centre of our being to a place where as Father Joe says “The Father and I are one”.
Saturday’s workshop was entitled Christian Meditation & Yoga for Overcoming Addictive Behaviour and was provided primarily for adults from across the North East Regional Service User Forum network, who were all at some stage on their own Recovery journeys. Feedback was very positive all round with attendees appreciating the distinct benefits of Yoga and Meditation for a sustained recovery and the comprehensive approach adopted by Kripa, one attendee commented that “ it makes the recovery efforts around here look amateurish” The workshop was the seed for encouraging a blossoming of Christian meditation across the North East. Many attendees have since expressed a desire to learn more and start a Christian Meditation session for their own Recovery support groups. The event was funded by the National Treatment Agency (NTA) based in Government Office Newcastle and the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership which made it possible for the workshop to be put on free of charge to the 70 service users.

 Sunday's workshop was entitled Christian Meditation and Yoga for the Joy of Living and was delivered for seasoned practioners of either yoga or Christian Meditation and was very well received. One of the organisers and a yoga teacher of some 30 plus years, said that Father Joe re -affirmed all that is good about yoga and loved his depth of knowledge about Patanjali and the Vedas. Another Yoga teacher from Middlesbrough and a Catholic school teacher loved how Father Joe married the spirituality of yoga with the teachings of Jesus to the degree that she felt inspired to commence her own sessions for her school pupils.
Terry Doyle (event Co-ordinator and Meditatio outreach development worker) commented “In short, Fr Joe was willing to travel to the North East in God's service. He delivered two master classes, each different in their own way yet both profoundly moving and inspirational. He also delivered a very moving homily at mass at St Andrew's RC Church in Teesville which was very well received by all lucky enough to be touched by Fr Joe's presence and healing words.”

Echoing the teachings contained in the DVD ‘Yoga for the practice of Christian Meditation’ Father Joe conducted a yoga class for 30 members of the WCCM at the Meditatio house in Ealing on Monday evening. Many traveled from far distances across Europe to attend the class where Father Joe demonstrated various Asanas and Pranayama to assist young meditators with their practice and to develop the body as a temple of God’s spirit.
The culmination of the week was a conference held in London for close to 100 people entitled ‘Meditation and Addiction: The way through’. Addiction is often considered as the response of a self that is deeply wounded. Speakers explored whether there was a role for the practice of meditation in responding to such patterns of behaviour. Meditation was introduced as a practical way to lead us to a holistic understanding of ourselves to help us find a way through addictions.

Father Joe was one of the keynote speakers alongside Laurence Freeman (Benedictine monk and WCCM Director), Dr Vanessa Crawford (Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist) and Mike Sarson (Founder of East West Detox). In the morning session Father Joe delivered a presentation outlining the Kripa model of recovery combining the elements of the twelve step program and the gifts given to the recovery movement by BKS Iyengar (through the Asanas and intensive care units of the props) Mother Teresa through the wounded healer model (giving from ones poverty as opposed to ones abundance) and John Main with the teachings of Christian meditation and contemplative prayer.

The afternoon sessions incorporated Father Joe’s workshop entitled ‘Breath – The way of Transcendence’ – Meditation and Yoga was presented as a way to wholeness in the recovery from addiction. The workshop focused on how the breath is an important element in the preparation of body and mind in the process of meditation. Attendees practiced various Asanas and Pranayama and were bathed in the ‘Silence of the Spirit’.
The day closed with a panel discussion on the different forms of meditation, the importance of forgiveness in the recovery process and how to integrate meditation into ones daily life. Feedback from the event was very positive with many viewing Father Joe’s lecture and workshop as the highlight of the event. One attendee commented “I gained so much from it, I can not put into words how much it meant to me to be in an environment where I did not have to wear a mask over my alcoholism or a mask over my faith in order to learn. I could be free to simply be fully the person I am in the eyes of God and learn all he wanted me to bring home in my heart”.

The conference was recorded by the WCCM and will be made available for download on the WCCM website over the next couple of weeks. Following the event Father Joe was also interviewed alongside Laurence Freeman for Catholic radio.

They came in groups, they came as one, the humble journey just begun.
Arising from their depths of pain,
Searching for the answer, their lives in vain.
They bared their souls with the coming of time,
Desperately hoping one day they would be fine.
Endlessly craving the answer, searching for the truth,
Wishing one day they would be of use.
Then a flame was brought to the depths of their being
Bringing a glimmer of hope, a new way of seeing.
Lighting a pathway that was never seen before,
Bringing the Holy Spirit to soothe the sore.
That beacon was lit and in the fullness of time,
The light will be nurtured, love will align.
An enduring flame that will begin to burn,
The impurities, providing healing,
a compassionate heart they will learn.
From the one who is filled with grace and love,
Who shines the light from above.
A beautiful gift for all to see,
How privileged are we.
In Gratitude for the photographs, report and poem.
Nirvana Crowley

                        View a brief video of Fr. Joe at the Meditatio Seminar  2012 -UK
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