Tag Archives: contemplative practice

The Sacred Enneagram Workshop in Seattle, WA

The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth

An Introductory Workshop with Chris Heuertz

enneagram (1)

What is the Enneagram?

The enneagram is a sacred map that helps identify unconscious and subconscious motivations for acting, feeling, and thinking.  It reveals facets of personal character traits but is different from other personality profiles because of its links to childhood wounds and the way it illuminates a path forward for healing and wholeness.

Compared with other self-exploration profiles and assessments, many have found that the enneagram piercingly takes things deeper.

With roots in ancient Christianity, this is a powerful resource for anyone’s contemplative path; it simultaneously dismantles the illusions about us, while revealing our essence—our True Self.

Ultimately, the enneagram supports offering our best self to a world in a need. Whether you’ve heard of the Enneagram or not, this is a great workshop for anyone who’s interested in learning more.

The workshop will include:

Personal inventory tool to identify your personal type and to translate results.

Explanation on how to understand what the enneagram system entails.

Background on the conflicted and contested origins of the enneagram.

Curated summary of the nine types (includes wings, stress/heart points, fundamental needs, basic fears, passions, fixations, invitations to spiritual growth)

Summary of the enneagram’s communication and social styles.

Contemplative prayer postures for each type.

Costs:  $165 registration (note price is in US Dollars)

Note: Lunch is not included.  

Space is limited so register now to make sure you have a spot!

Register Here Now


About Chris Heuertz: Chris has spent his life bearing witness to the possibility of hope among a world that has legitimate reasons to question God’s goodness.

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Chris studied at Asbury University in Kentucky before moving to India where he was mentored by Mother Teresa for three years. While living in India, he helped launch South Asia’s first pediatric AIDS care home–creating a safe haven for children.

In 2012 Chris and his wife Phileena launched Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.

Named one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership,” Chris is a curator of unlikely friendships, an instigator for good, a champion of collaboration, and a witness to hope, Chris fights for a renewal of contemplative activism.


Sponsored by

Generation Hope

Questions > Answers.

By George Mekhail 

 

I have changed a lot over the past 18 months. I’ve deconstructed much of my worldview and consider the journey as just getting started. I am a heretic, a pirate and a mystic. I used to see things very differently than I see them today, and I hope that this process of change, growth and evolution only continues. I cannot deny that what I’ve experienced has been healthy.

I often ask myself how I got here, why I’m here and if it’s a good thing that I’m here. I talk to myself more and more these days. I ask: what factors lead to my spiritual curiosity, what moments shaped my trajectory and what common thread has been there throughout? Do I like me more or less? Do I allow others to define me or do I find my value and worth in Eternal things?

I’m learning that asking questions is far more important than answering questions. This is one of the most valuable lessons that contemplation has taught me on my journey.

Let’s be honest: on the surface, answering questions is way more fun than asking questions. If I am answering a question, I am the center of attention. I am on the conclusive side of the discussion. I am in control. But, if I am asking a question, I am deflecting attention. I am teeing up the discussion, for better or worse. I am releasing control. Asking a question opens things up and possibilities abound. Answering a question shuts things down, declaring alternative possibilities irrelevant.

Now there is obviously a time to answer questions, I’m not anti-answers. But I would describe this pivot towards more question asking and less question answering as the largest contributor to this current season of peace in my life. A paradoxically difficult season, filled with extremely challenging days, betrayals, insecurity and instability. But despite the external factors that might be perceived as negative, contemplative practice helps me count them as blessings.

A few weeks back, after some time in reflection, I started to realize that I was feeling misunderstood. I’m not sure if that’s common or not, but this came to light in a recent session with Phileena, my spiritual director. She proceeded like she often does, by asking me to “withhold judgement, consider how it feels to be misunderstood.”

If you’re like me, that is a difficult question. I’m generally unaware of my feelings, often preferring solutions to stillness. So if I feel misunderstood, my next step is typically to ramp up efforts to deliver clarity so I can be understood. Boom. Problem solved, question answered. No feelings necessary.

Except when it doesn’t go down that way. Which is more often the case. It starts a fruitless cycle of frustration which does not satisfy the soul. Even if I successfully deliver clarity, I never actually dealt with the ramifications of feeling misunderstood.

That’s why I love the phrase “without judgement.” Phileena always emphasizes this part of the process, and it took me a while to see its real value. But in my desire to explore why I’m feeling misunderstood, the temptation is to offer simplistic answers which carry unhelpful judgements like “because ‘Nikole’ just doesn’t get it” or “because I haven’t spent enough time explaining my idea to ‘Nikole’.”

In my case, feeling misunderstood requires me to actually FEEL misunderstood.

That’s a huge step. To feel our feelings instead of merely talking about them.

 

Then a deep breath.

 

Man. I feel really misunderstood.

 

Now, without judgement. {I’m not mad, upset, disappointed, proud of myself/others for this feeling. This feeling simply is my experience.}

I am now aware of this feeling. I acknowledge it, I welcome it, I learn to integrate it – without judgement – into my present circumstance.

How does this feeling of being misunderstood relate to my ego? What other questions does this reveal and how do they reveal the unconscious patterns I operate out of daily?

 

Another deep breath.

 

I don’t want to oversimplify a contemplative process that actually requires a lot of hard work. Adopting a contemplative stance in life is like working out, studying for an exam or investing in a relationship. It requires focus and commitment. But the fruit is incredible. Instead of reacting to life, we learn to respond. Reacting generates a lot of contraction. Responding generates expansiveness.

Instead of relentlessly pursuing to deliver answers, I’m learning to reach out and claim the gift of more questions–which have turned out to be critical to my growth. Questions develop our awareness. Furthermore, questions acknowledge that no matter how much “Nikole” doesn’t get it, her experience is also her experience and it carries its own validity.

Contemplation is teaching me that questions are greater than answers, because questions lead to more meaningful connection to myself, to God and to others.

 


GM_blogpic2George Mekhail has been serving as the Executive Pastor at EastLake Community Church since July 2011. He is also the Chair of the Board for Gravtity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. He lives in Bothell, Washington with his wife Danielle, and their two beautiful children, Kingston and Saxyn. He has a deep set love for his family and makes it a goal in life to show up for them. 

Coming Home to God: A Family’s Experience with Centering Prayer

by Mindy Durias

Our world is moving forward at an unprecedented pace.  The ability to be so easily connected to one another has made this planet very small indeed.  Endless information and people around the world are literally a touch away. Yet, it is quite possible that we have never been more disconnected from our true selves and to God.  The moments of our lives are filled with the buzz of technological noise that never sleeps.

As a mother of five children, in this age of concrete technological advances and scientific breakthroughs, I wrestle with how to communicate the abstract, mysterious, and intangible relationship we are created to share with the Divine.

In the past three years, I have been practicing contemplative prayer as a way to connect more intimately with God. This has included introducing my children to Lectio Divina as a way to listen to the Spirit of God speaking uniquely to their individual hearts. They have been very open and receptive to this practice, and consequently have grown in their day-to-day awareness of God speaking into the moments of their lives.

Lectio Divina is a very accessible contemplative prayer practice.  Especially in the sense that it allows for verbal response.  This makes it one of the easier practices to introduce to anyone unfamiliar with contemplative prayer, and to children in particular.

But what of the apophatic (non-verbal) prayer practice Centering Prayer? This prayer has been transformative in my life.  I’ve found abundant grace in the silence, stillness and solitude of this practice.  It has helped me to disconnect from the noise and activity of life and find myself in God’s embrace.  And more profoundly, Centering Prayer has created a deeper awareness of who I truly am in God.  In the practice, I’ve come home to myself and God.

In the fall of 2014, I decided to experiment with my children and see if they would have a similarly positive experience with Centering Prayer.  At first, the struggle was to find language to communicate the practice to children ranging in ages from five to sixteen.  It became clear right away, that while she could understand what Centering Prayer was, my five year old was not ready to sit in silence, stillness and solitude for any amount of time!

My other four children ages nine, twelve, thirteen and sixteen also quickly grasped the concept of the practice, so we began trying it out.  We started with three minute sits.  Gradually, we lengthened the time to five minutes, then eight, ten and so on-until we reached the twenty minute mark.  That is where we are now.  Our intent is to practice everyday after breakfast and before we begin the rest of the day.

It has not been perfect.   In fact, some days it feels like a complete waste of time.  Wiggling limbs, wrestling in chairs, bodily noises, rough starts to the day, the irritation of relational conflict, you name it.  We have experienced it.

Yet, I keep reminding myself, that this is a practice.  A perfect experience should never be the goal.  For no such experience truly exists.  The fruit of the practice itself, is seen in the rest of life.  My hope is that we are becoming more aware of God in everything.

So, we continue to practice.  To open our hearts together to the presence and action of God within us.  We enter with the invitation of Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be still, and know that I am God”.

Little changes have been made along the way to accommodate the needs and development of each child.  Currently, most days my husband, sixteen and thirteen year old and I sit for twenty minutes together.  Then, my twelve and nine year old and I sit for ten minutes together.  Our five year old talks about joining us when she is bigger.  For now, she is learning Breath Prayer and the beauty of God being as near to her as every breath she breathes.  It is perfect for where she is at right now.

In Centering Prayer we are all learning to come just as we are, and to find our true home in God who continues to affirm that we all belong.  

In this place of belonging, it is my hope that each of us will choose to embrace one another in love and help bring healing to this world in search for peace with God and humankind.


 

IMG_2626

Mindy Durias lives in Portland, Oregon. She’s been happily married for 16 years and is the mother of 5 lovely children. Her passions are teaching her children, running outdoors, and advocating for children living in poverty around the world.