Author Archives: Dave Miller

Easter: Faith in Possibilities

For Christians everywhere, this is Holy Week, the most sacred time of the year. During this week, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice on behalf of his followers and all of humanity.

The entire story starts, of course, with Jesus appearing and proclaiming “the kingdom is at hand”.  At hand means up close and personal, here and now, within our grasp.  Jesus also described this kingdom in terms of healing and unconditional love.  To demonstrate what he was saying, Jesus performed miraculous healings and spent his time with the people who were considered unclean or unlovable at the time, including tax collectors and people living in the streets, living day to day and finding food and shelter any way they could.

Well, this caught the attention of the religious leaders of the time, who were busy telling people what is right and what is wrong and how to live.  When Jesus came along and said the old religious rules take a second seat to loving one another and practicing peace, they had a problem with that, so they started following Jesus around to gather evidence against him.  Their power base was being threatened so they wanted him to shut up.

When they tried to challenge him with questions regarding scripture and the law, Jesus turned their questions around and challenged their interpretations right back at them.

Eventually, they caught up with Jesus.   Jesus and some of his followers gathered together to celebrate a Jewish Holy day called Passover, and after dinner they went to a hilltop park. While they were gathered there, a group of officials came to arrest them all.   Jesus told the officials “I’m the one you seek, take me, leave them alone.”  So for the followers of Jesus who were in that garden with him, Jesus literally saved their lives, because the penalty for speaking out against religious and political leaders was death.

And so, the man Jesus was arrested, put on trial, convicted, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. After the execution, on the first day of the week, some of his women followers visited his grave with the intention of preparing the body for a traditional burial.  When they visited the grave, and they found the grave was empty.

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.[a] While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women[b] were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men[c] said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.[d] Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

When we speak of faith, we often speak in terms of possibilities.  Science gives us demonstrable facts.  If you throw a ball with a certain amount of force at a certain angle, science can tell you where the ball will land.  Science tells us the universe appeared after a big bang, and science tells us that humans evolved from mice.  Science tells us that when a living creature dies, they are dead, they cease to live.

Faith offers possibilities.  For example, faith offers the possibility that there is an unconditionally loving higher power.  Faith tells us that it is possible that the universe, this galaxy, this solar system, this planet earth, us human beings, and each of us as individuals are here for a reason.  Faith tells us that it is possible that we are all brothers and sisters, born from a common set of parents.   And faith tells us that the reason we exist may be to love, to love our creator, to love all of creation including the trees and flowers and mountains and rivers and oceans and all the animals, and ultimately to love ourselves and one another, even as we are loved, unconditionally.

Remember, the story began with a statement that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, here and now.  The final chapter of Jesus life, and this first chapter of Jesus eternal life, is also about here and now.  The possibility presented by this first chapter of eternal life is that even death can’t stop the power of Grace, of unconditional love that Jesus spoke of.  Even in death, healing is possible.  And this healing and Grace is possible for our friends and loved ones who have passed on before us, and for ourselves and our friends and family who suffer here and now.

Faith is about possibilities, and Grace and the signs of resurrection are all around us.  Every sunrise is a resurrection, ever morning awakening.  There is resurrection in the tender leaves that faithfully appear in the spring time.  In the voices and play of little children.  In our own experiences of healing and love, and in healing relationships we are blessed with.

In summary, the story of Jesus’ life, His teachings, his death, and resurrection present the possibility that even when we feel alone, we are not alone, and even when we feel unloved and unlovable, we are loved, and even when we or our loved ones are injured or ill, even in death, healing is possible.

Meditation Classes March 2018

Greetings,

We are going to repeat our first Meditation class in the series next week on Saturday March 17th from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.  Our new updates include exploring mindfulness from an “Integral” perspective, expanding awareness into dimensions beyond “self.”

Tantric Meditation techniques and Christian Contemplative perspectives are explored in the classes.  Our wellness meditation classes teach skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.    Classes also explore increasing Spirituality and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Walk in registrations are welcome, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 20.00 for a class.

Also, if traveling to Sautee Georgia for classes is difficult, let us know, we are making on-line meditation classes available as demand dictates.  Contact us at 678-358-8775 or dave@sunrisemeditation.org for more information.

Christian Tantric Meditation Saturday March 10th

I’d like to share a prayer that I think illustrates the benefits of Christian Tantric Meditation practice:

Lord, accept our offering of our fears, that our faith and self confidence may flourish. Lord, accept our offering of our resentments, that we may fully experience love and compassion for ourselves and for others. Lord, accept our offering of our distractions, that we may explore, enjoy, and share the creative gifts we have been blessed with. Lord, open our eyes, ears, and hearts, to your Presence within and all around us.  Amen.”

With that, we are again happy to remind everyone that we will be offering a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains beginning next week Saturday March 10th.   This is a rare opportunity to experience all four phases of the Christian Tantric Meditation protocol in a low cost short series of classes on Saturdays.  The traditional Wellness based Christian Tantric Meditation protocol will be offered from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

Tantric Meditation techniques and Christian Contemplative perspectives are explored in the classes.  Our wellness meditation classes teach skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.    Classes also explore increasing Spirituality and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Walk in registrations are welcome, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 20.00 for a class.  Our schedule is flexible, so if you will be unable to attend four weekends in a row, don’t let that stop you from participating, we can schedule make up sessions and extend the classes into April as necessary.

Also, if anyone is interested in participating in on line classes, please let me know, if there is enough interest we will schedule those as well.  Since this will be our first attempt at on line classes we will offer reduced rates also as we will be working out the process.  Call  678-358-8775 or visit our Workshops page.

Have a Blessed Day!

 

Hope in a Weary World

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. And this year it’s not about the bustle of the Holidays and Christmas shopping, if anything those activities were a welcome distraction.

After a year of  extreme politics and further division within the USA, rising deficit and threats against health insurance,  I for one am just tired.

As I look back to the events that have led to where we are, I remember the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.  I remember videos of terrorist attrocities in the Middle East.  I remember US cabinet members laughing and clapping when a Middle Eastern leader was killed, and most of all I remember angry people arguing politics, myself among them.

It occurred to me that we are a Nation and a World that is constantly dealing with both primary and secondary traumatic stress.  And we are dealing with these stresses not only as individuals, but as communities, as nations, and as a world community of human beings.

There is a phrase from old Western movies that applies to how communities deal with traumatic stress: “circling the wagons.”  We form groups of like minded people with the intent of protecting ourselves and our families.

Both ancient and modern history are filled with examples of communities experiencing extreme stress and trauma, pulling together, rallying around a common identity, be it ethnic or religious or nationalistic, becoming powerful, and in turn becoming the source of stress and trauma towards neighboring communities.  Eventually, someone stronger always comes along and the cycle begins again.  Trauma, circle the wagons, gain power, cause trauma, and then experience oppression and trauma all over again.

At Christmas time, the world celebrates the birth of a man called Jesus.  I say the world because at this point in human history, with few exceptions, everyone is pretty much aware of everything, including the origins of the Christian religion and culture.  I say the man Jesus because the humanity of Jesus is something we all have in common.  Jewish people may view Jesus as a historical Rabbi, Buddhists and Hindus may view Jesus as an Enlightened Being, Muslims may view Jesus as a revered Prophet, and Christians view Jesus as both Human and Divine.

Enlightened, Prophet, Human, Divine, Personal Savior, or anointed Christ, however we view Jesus, the words and teachings attributed to this person are what is left for us in the 21st century to read, share, interpret, and draw inspiration from.

2000 years ago, Jesus’ words and teachings inspired a group of people, human beings, to become  followers.  These human followers of Jesus the Christ also experienced extreme trauma, at the hands of a government, specifically the Roman government who had power at the time.  And like human communities have done since the beginning of time, the followers of Jesus the Christ reacted by circling the wagons.   They focusing on mutual care of each other, they comforted families who lost loved ones to the Roman Government’s systematic oppression, they cared for each other, and they talked about ways to deal with the stress of living in the traumatic world they lived in.

They also turned to the teachings of Jesus the Christ whom they followed for guidance.  And in those teachings, they learned of the repeated history of violence, conquering, and being conquered.  And they saw the alternative message that Jesus taught: demonstrate our love of God through loving each other, loving neighbors, and even loving the oppressive enemies.

So, instead of gathering weapons and power, these followers of Jesus the Christ offered love and help to their Roman neighbors.  They bound wounds, offered medicine and a kind presence to people who were sick, they loved their neighbors, they loved their enemies, and they prayed and worshiped together, reminding each other that though the path they chose did not make sense in a world of “fight power with power,” this was the path that Jesus of Nazareth lived and taught.

The world is still a dark place, people are still circling wagons and gathering resources to hide or fight.  But Christmas is a reminder, a still small voice, a voice so small it is symbolized in  the presence of an infant child, calling us to a path of Grace.  A small voice reminding us that peace is possible, we don’t need to react with anger and violence, we can choose to be loving and caring instead, even with those we perceive as enemies.

It is my fervent wish this year that even in the midst of darkness and conflict, even with memories of trauma and fear either fresh or distant in our minds, experienced first hand or vicariously through social and broadcast media, we think of this infant, this prophet, this enlightened one, this Jesus who is called Christ, and remind ourselves that even as we circle our wagons, we can choose to share peace and kindness with others, even others we don’t know or feel suspicious about.

I’m going to follow this thought with a challenge.  For those who are able, if you find yourself sitting in a drive through window waiting for coffee or a meal, consider buying the coffee or meal for the car in line behind you.  It’s a way of sharing that does not judge, and does not expect a reward or even a thank you.  Catch the Spirit of Christmas, offer up a gift of kindness.  The family in the car behind you may be Jewish, Christian, may be Muslim, may be Buddhist or Hindu.  They may be black, they may be white, they may be Hispanic or Asian, they may be Gay or Straight.  They may be living in poverty or blessed with great wealth. They may be politically conservative or liberal; they may be a member of the law enforcement community or they may be struggling with legal issues.  No matter what their race, culture, or circumstance, they are human, and they are loved, even as we are loved.  Share the Love.

May All People experience a Merry Christmas, a Blessed Holiday, and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.

Peace Gathering Reminder

Just a reminder, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling is offering weekly Ecumenical Contemplative Peace Gatherings on Thursday evenings.  The gatherings begin at 6:00 pm and last less than an hour.  The format includes a time of gathering, a time of sharing brief inspirational thoughts and readings, a time of contemplative silence, and a time for closure.  There will be no cost for attending, but donations will be accepted.

logolargerChristian Tantric Meditation workshops are now available for groups or individuals by appointment, so please call for more information.   This is a four class program that introduces several meditation techniques, including breath centered mind stabilization, self emptying, Divine Communion as a form of guru yoga, and Compassion outreach meditation.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Spiritual Discernment, Peace Gathering, and Meditation Classes

At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, we provide counseling services, meditation classes, and Spiritual Discernment services.  Whereas counseling is primarily focused on healthy thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, Spiritual Discernment addresses questions of deeper meaning.  Questions like what is my place in the Universe?  Am I alone?  Is there a God?  What does God want me to do with my life? Is God on my side, against me, or does God even care?  What will happen to me and my loved ones after we die?  Is healing possible for me and my loved ones?

lotus-1205631_1280Like in counseling, good Spiritual Discernment helps people to find their own answers in a supportive, safe, non-judging environment.  We all bring different thoughts and feelings to the table regarding God, Spirituality, and the Universe.  The ideas we bring are based on our religious backgrounds, our cultural backgrounds, and our personal experiences with our families and friends. Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist, something completely different, or some mix of several faiths, we all have unique takes on what it means to be human on this planet and in this Universe.  For people of faith, there is often a still, small voice, a calling, a higher power, or an intuition that helps guide us through life and the big and small questions that come with life.

My personal beliefs are Christian, and it’s my experience that the Spirit speaks through many avenues if we have ears, eyes, hearts, and the courage to listen.  The Spirit also speaks through all traditions and cultures.  No belief or idea is “too weird” or “unorthodox” to share in a Spiritual Discernment session.

The one guideline I share regarding the presence of the Spirit in life or in a decision is to lookdove-41260__180 for the fruits of the Spirit.  Love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control are the fruits of the Spirit as described in the Christian tradition, and I believe this applies universally.

To celebrate Spirituality in a safe group environment, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling will again begin a weekly Peace Gathering starting Thursday September 7th, after Labor Day weekend.  The gathering will begin at 6:00 pm and last less than an hour.  The format will include a time of gathering, a time of sharing brief inspirational thoughts and readings, a time of contemplative silence, and a time for closure.  There will be no cost for attending, but donations will be accepted.

logolargerWe will also begin another round of Christian Tantric Meditation workshops beginning Saturday September 9th from 10:00-11:30AM.  This is a four class program that introduces several meditation techniques, including breath centered mind stabilization, self emptying, Divine Communion as a form of guru yoga, and Compassion outreach meditation.  If you are interested but unable to attend four weekends in a row, we are flexible, our classes often take 6 to 8 weeks to complete based on the schedules of the participants.  Now is the time to manage stress, let go of some of the luggage that holds you back, and connect with your true potential.

Our workshops cost 25.00 each, and a 20.00 discount is available for registering and paying for all 4 classes in advance.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Meditation Class Reminder

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Christian Tantric Meditation classes provide tools for connecting with our Creative and Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Culivating Creativity

People usually contact a counselor to address specific issues, including anxiety, depression, addiction, or relationship issues.  When challenges like these inhabit the life of a person, they tend to use up a person’s energy, leaving no time nor energy for creativity.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgIn the 1940’s, a man named Abraham Maslow developed a concept called the Hierarchy of Needs.  Maslow’s hierarchy can be broken down into three categories:  Survival, Love, and Creativity.  Maslow said that when people have survival issues to deal with, they are not going to apply energy to pursuing love nor being creative.  Survival needs include food, shelter, and feeling safe.

While this model may not apply to every person, it does seem to apply to most people.  The counseling related issues mentioned above are survival issues to the people who are afflicted, and as a result relationships become strained and all creative energy is applied to the pursuit of survival.

Unbounded creativity on the other hand, requires nurturing.  An ongoing sense of freedom, 1338259321security in relationships, and security in personal safety contribute to a person’s ability to  pursue creative gifts.  Everyone has unique creative gifts, be they artistic, physically expressive (like sports and dancing), people related, mechanical inclination, gardening, or something else.  The variety of creative gifts people are blessed with are endless.

While the initial goal of counseling is to get relief from specific issues and symptoms, the underlying goal is usually the restoration of the joy and freedom of creative expression and sharing.  At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, we believe that we were all created to be healthy, creative, loving, and joyful people.  Using Mindfulness Oriented Meditation and Therapeutic tools, we help people to accept, let go of, and grow beyond the experiences and issues that hold us back in life.  Our goal is to help people discover and cultivate the gifts that we are blessed with, in both individual therapy and in Meditation Workshops.

20141026_085602_1Christian Tantric Meditation classes provide tools for connecting with our Creative and Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Meeting Emotional and Spiritual Challenges

dove-41260__180Many things are happening in the United States and around the world right now.  Politically, there is tension between competing ideologies that represent hope for some people and discouragement for others.  Spiritually, the time of Passover approaches for people of the Jewish faith, and for Christians the season of Lent is upon us.  Later in the Spring, Ramadan will be celebrated by people of the Muslim faith.  All of these observances provide a time of connecting with our Spiritual roots, reflection, and preparation for challenges ahead.

And in the midst of all this preparation, the entire northern hemisphere waits in hopeful anticipation of Spring.  In the southern United States, the beginnings of flower buds on trees, shrubs, and emerging from the ground are seen everywhere.

This is a powerful time of year, no matter what perspective it is experienced from.  A time to 20150219_065337prepare for and face challenges both known and unknown, and a time to anticipate better things to come.  In the here and now, life carries on day to day, each day bringing with it unique challenges.

Challenges can be physical, emotional, and Spiritual in nature.  Most often, viewed holistically, elements of all three perspectives are found in challenges.  Some challenges motivate us, others may hold us back from being the successful, joyful, creative, and connected with people.

For many people, challenges present themselves as questions.  Where am I going?  What should I be doing with my life?  How can I help my family, how can I help others?  Where is the Spirit guiding me?  How should I be preparing myself for what comes ahead?

In this time of challenges and preparation, self care is of utmost importance.  Physical, emotional, and Spiritual health provide the strength and resilience required for meeting challenges and enjoying a creative, successful, joyful, and fulfilled life.

Meditation and Mindfulness are tools that can help.  Our Christian Tantric Meditation classes meditationprovide tools for increasing Mindfulness, dealing with challenges, for connecting with our Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  The Meditative process of letting go of the things that hold us back in life creates space for us to experience the calling of the Spirit, the beauty of the emerging Spring, and the love and joy in our relationships.

Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin this Saturday, March 4th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

We will be offering online Christian Tantric Meditation classes beginning next Tuesday, March 7th from 7:00 to 8:30 PM EST.  An online connection through a browser is required for these classes, materials and a link will be emailed prior to the classes.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

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Sunrise Meditation and Counseling Upcoming and Current Schedule:

Peace meetings:  Tuesdays 7:00 PM Starting Feb 7th – Contemplative time of reflection, all faiths (and no – faiths) welcome.  Cost:  No cost, donations accepted.

Recovery Workshops:  Thursdays 7:00-8:30 PM Starting Feb 2nd – Addiction and recovery education, people in recovery and family members welcome.  Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Meditation Workshops:  Saturdays 10:00-11:30 Starting March 4th. Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Individual Counseling and Spiritual Direction sessions available for 65.00 / 1 hour session.

Call 678-358-8775 or visit http://sunrisemeditation.org/workshops/ for more information or to register.