Tag Archives: ecumenical

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.

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.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

logolarger

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.

Christmas Meditation Prayer Gift

This Holiday Season, we are grateful to be blessed with friends who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Athiest-Humanist, Gay, Straight, and from many continents and many walks of life.

We were recently reminded that Jesus the Christ was born a Middle Eastern Jewish child who was raised speaking Aramaic, which was an early form of present day Arabic.  May we come full circle in recognizing that we are all God’s Children, all Beloved, and all Brothers and Sisters.

Meditation can be described and used as a form of listening prayer.  As a gift to all who read this blog, we have condensed the entire Christian Tantric Meditation process into prayer form.  We hope this prayer inspires healing, peace, and gratitude in a world that sorely needs hope.

Gracious God, Merciful Allah, Bountiful Universe,

Please receive this offering of the desires of my mind, that my mind might be clear to discern your Holy Presence.

Please receive this offering of the resentments and attachments in my heart, that my heart might be open to receive your Unconditional Love.

Please receive this offering of the fears and burdens in my core, that my core might be empty to receive your Boundless Strength.

Gracious God, Merciful Allah, Bountiful Universe,

Please fill my mind with your Infinite Awareness, that I may fully experience your Bountiful gift of Life

Please fill my heart with your healing Grace, that my heart may overflow with your Love.

Please fill my Core with your Strength and Wisdom, that I may be filled with your Peace

Gracious God, Merciful Allah, Bountiful Universe,

Please open my mind to the suffering of others, that I may be moved to Compassion, even as you are Compassionate.

Please open my heart to the brokenness of others, that I may be a Hopeful Healing Presence, even as you are a Hopeful Healing Presence

Please open my core to the fears of others, that I may be Merciful towards others, even as you are Merciful.

Is World Peace Possible? Eleven Ecumenical “Guidelines” from Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth is respected worldwide as a prophet and teacher of universal love and peace. Often quoted by Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and in the Quran, Jesus is respected by people of many faiths including Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jewish people, and Humanists.

image-789389_640Christians believe that Jesus is God Incarnate, who came to earth in the flesh to share God’s message of unconditional love for all of humanity and creation.

A lot of time and effort and money is put into arguing about displaying the Jewish Ten Commandments in public places in the United States. What many people don’t realize is that Christian Scripture provides Commandments also. In Matt 5:19, Jesus introduces His commandments to His followers and the world.

As it turns out, Jesus’ “commandments” are also a prescription for healthy living, in Peace and Harmony with one’s self, others, in our families, in our communities, and World Wide. Many of these commandments are echoed in holy scriptures from other faiths as well. For anyone who desires #WorldPeace, these words that Jesus shares are a good place to start.

Many of these commandments are prefaced with “you have heard it said”, followed by “but I say dove-41260__180[do this]”. This is how Jesus “fulfills the law” (Matt 5:17), by sharing  the way that He believes the Jewish laws, the laws of His culture, should be interpreted. Using this as a guideline for reading through chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Christian book of Matthew, 11 commandments emerge. These commandments are summarized below:

  1. Matt 5:21-26 Make peace with others, including family and strangers.
  2. Matt 5:27-30 Respect others, do not view others as objects, sexual or otherwise.
  3. Matt 5:31-32 Keep your promises, especially promises to be true and faithful to your spouse or significant other.
  4. Matt 5:33-37 Do not make promises you cannot keep.
  5. Matt 5:38-42 Be kind to others, even people who treat you badly.
  6. Matt 5:43-48 Love everyone, including your enemies.
  7. Matt 6:1-18 Practice your faith quietly, including prayer, sharing with others, and religious discipline.
  8. Matt 6:19-34 Have faith! Don’t worry so much about money and things of the flesh.
  9. Matt 7:1-5 Do not judge others.
  10. Matt 7:6-20 Be careful whom you trust. Not everyone thinks and acts they way they present themselves to others.
  11. Matt 7:21-27 Be Trustworthy. Be a person who thinks, acts, and speaks with integrity and consistency.

These guidelines are more than prescriptions for health and happiness, they are also prescriptions for success. Think of people you know, people whom you have worked with, employers you have worked for, or people who have been in your employment. People who are kind, trustworthy, slow to anger and quick to forgive, generally make better employees, employers, better partners and spouses, and better human beings.

These guidelines are great, but they can also be very difficult to follow. As humans, we are filled with pain and resentments, and desires and fears, These desires, resentments, and fears often influence our thinking, our actions, our relationships, and our health. And the sources of these negative influences in our lives are often buried so deep we don’t even know they are within us, in our minds, hearts, and cores.

So what can we do to “let go” of these negative influences that hold us back, that keep us from being the “best we can be?” How can we do our part to promote peace, love, and understanding in the world?

logolargerWe obviously need to let go of the burdens and fears that plague us. People of faith often say that “prayer is the answer”, which is true. One particular form of prayer that can be very effective is what I call a “listening prayer”, also known as Meditation. Meditation provides a method for listening to ourselves, to our “Higher Power”, and for “letting go” of things that hold us back.

Christian Tantric Meditation is specifically designed to help us to listen to ourselves and let go of the desires, resentments, and fears and burdens that hold us back. Along with letting go of burdens, Christian Tantric Meditation techniques are designed to help us grow closer to our Higher Power, and our own Divine nature, yielding self confidence. Our most advanced techniques help us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others.

If you are interested in learning more about Christian Tantric Meditation, Atlanta area classes are being offered in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Registration is open now, visit our website for more information and to register on line.  The book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide is also available through Amazon.com and local bookstores.

Tantra, Christianity, and Sex

Hi everyone, my name is Dave Miller and I’m the author of Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, now available at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com in paperback and ebook forms. I’m here today to answer some questions that people have been asking about Christian Tantric Meditation. It seems that Christian people ask the question, why include Tantra, Non-Christians ask why include Christianity, and a lot of people ask whether this practice involves sex in any way.

To answer the first question, Tantra includes several practices that can be easily adapted to almost any religion or tradition. The concepts of energy centers and flowing breath energy are actually common to many if not all human cultures and religions, including Christianity. The practices of self emptying, Divine Communion or Guruyoga, and Compassion are also common to many if not all cultures and religions.

To answer the second question, which was why Christianity, Tantric Guruyoga meditation can be practiced with saints in mind or teachers or revered ancestors, or even Deities from other traditions. In practicing Christian Tantric Meditation, we visualize Jesus the Christ as our Guru and connection with Divinity.   We also visualize 3 energy centers or chakras rather than the 7 usually visualized in Yogic or Tantric practices. These chakras correspond to the mind, center of thought and hope, the heart, center of love, and the core, center of faith and wisdom.

Now to answer the third question, what about sex? Its true that there are many books and programs that describe Tantric practice in sexual terms. Those practices generally involve Chakras associated with sexual energy. Again, Christian Tantric Meditation utilizes Mind, Heart, and Core Chakras. With regard to sexuality, in Judeo-Christian Scripture the creation story tells us that a whole being adam was divided into male and female counterparts, Adam and Eve. Scripture also describes the female aspect of God as being Sophia or Wisdom. Christian Tantric Meditation recognizes that we are made in the image of God, having both male and female character attributes. So in meditation, we strive for developing wholeness and balance within ourselves, Consciously, Spiritually, physically in terms of taking care of ourselves, and in relationships also.

So, I hope this little video blog was helpful in answering questions you may have regarding CTM. If you have any other questions, feel free to visit our contact page at ecumenicalwellness.org/contact-us, and there is also a Facebook group called Ecumenical Meditation Insights for sharing meditation techniques, questions, and experiences as well. For people local to Atlanta Georgia in the US, we are now offering meditation workshops in Gainesville and Cumming Georgia, visit ecumenicalwellness.org/workshops for more details. If there is an interest in workshops outside of the Atlanta area, visit the website and let us know, we’re always willing to share.

Video Introducing Dave Miller

Hi – My name is Dave Miller, and I am a licensed associate professional counselor, lay pastor, and author of the book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, available at Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions. I also administrate Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries under the direction of Renewal Wellness at New Hope Counseling in Cumming Georgia. I work with groups and individuals who need some help dealing with or letting go of some of the burdens that hold them back in life, physically, emotionally, in relationships, and Spiritually.

I’ve been married to my wife Stacey for 30 years, and together we’ve raised 4 children who are grown now. I’m also a church going Christian, and I believe that God loves us all unconditionally, and God demonstrates love for humanity through the teachings, the life, the death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I believe that God is with us today, all around us and within us, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe that we can know that the Holy Spirit is present with us and with others by recognizing the Gifts that the Holy Spirit brings, including love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.   I also have found that in order to recognize and receive the gifts the Holy Spirit has to offer, we need to learn to let go of some of the burdens that hold us back and open ourselves up to receive and accept those gifts.

I first received by calling into ministry in the Spring of 1994. I had been working as an electrical engineer for over 10 years at that point. As I recall, it was a beautiful day, and while I was driving down the road I decided to ask God a question. The question I asked was whether there are trees and flowers and birds in heaven. I was a little surprised when I received an answer. It wasn’t a direct voice so much as a strong sense of a loving affirming Presence. The answer I received was yes, there are trees and flowers in heaven. Then I asked the question whether there I would still be an individual person in heaven, able to learn and grow as a person. I love learning, I love reading, I love exploring and sharing. The answer came back that yes, I would still be myself and I would be able to learn and grow. Then I asked the question that changed everything. I asked whether there is anything we can do here on earth that we can’t do in heaven. The answer was yes, there is one thing we can do here that we won’t be able to do in heaven, and that is help people who are suffering, because there is no suffering nor death in heaven. As you can imagine, this experience affected me deeply, and defined the path that I have been following ever since.

The first thing that people notice when they meet me is my tracheotomy. My trach gives me a little extra room to breath because I have scar tissue in my upper airway. You may notice that I put my thumb over my trach to talk. This allows me to push air up past my vocal cords so I can talk. I’ve had this for 20 years now, and I’m so used to it that I hardly notice it, and my friends say they don’t notice it either. It’s just a part of who I am now.

After I first received my trach, I was left without a voice several years. I could use a buzzer to communicate, but for the most part I was silent. One might say I was forced into a vow of silence. I started writing about the feelings I was experiencing, the sense of loss and frustration, and about my relationship with God as I went through this. A minister friend of mine read my writing and suggested that I take some classes in the Emory University Divinity program to learn the language I needed to express myself theologically. I took his advice, attended Emory and ended up getting my Master’s in Theological Studies.

During that time I attended Emory, I practiced chaplain ministry in a homeless shelter setting at Atlanta Union Mission. Having no voice, I was forced to “just listen” to the people I worked with, offering no advice whatsoever. I was blessed to witness not only the amazing stories and wonderful cultural diversity of the people I worked with, but also the almost miraculous healing properties that empathetic listening can provide. This experience led me to a deeper exploration of the power of listening, to myself, to God, and to others, with the help of meditation.

I continued to listen as I practiced lay ministry within the Methodist Church and later led an alternative worship service that was based on sharing and listening.

My exploration of listening led me to Argosy University, where I earned my Master’s in Community Counseling, after which I went into listening professionally as a counselor. In my therapy practice I use both solution focused and mindfulness oriented cognitive behavioral techniques.

And throughout all of this, I have been training in and studying and practicing techniques in prayerful listening and meditation. .

So here I am today. I’ve had a lot of experiences that have led me to where I am today. My experience as a working professional, as someone who continues to live with a long term medical condition, my experience in ministry, and in working with people who suffer with burdens that hold them back in life, all contribute to who I am today.

How about you? What’s your calling? What kinds of experiences have you had? How have they made you stronger? How have they held you back? What kinds of tools do you have to deal with the issues that life hands us every day? Do you recognize the fruits of the Spirit in your own life and in the lives of others around you?

I share some of the meditation listening tools I’ve learned and practice in my book, Christian Tantric Meditation guide. The book provides exercises for learning to listen to ourselves and the world around us, listening to the Spirit that is all around us and within us, and listening to others. The practice involves letting go of desires, resentments, and fears, so that we can increase our feelings of freedom, love, and faith, and grow our compassion for ourselves and others.

I also share meditation and Cognitive Behavioral tools in therapeutic groups and in individual one on one sessions. I’m currently offering free workshops to introduce Christian Tantric meditative listening practices to anyone who is interested in letting go of burdens, resentments and fears that hold them back, increasing their sense of freedom, love, and faith, and increasing compassion for self and others.

My rates are very reasonable, I’m available on evenings and weekends, and I’d really like to meet you and hear your story. Whether you buy the book or call for individual or group sessions, there’s a blessing waiting for you. Visit my website at www.ecumenicalwellness.org, and give me a call. Have a blessed day!

 

Publication and Meditation Groups Announcement

Welcome to all the friends, colleagues, and clients who are included in this announcement.

This week’s blog makes 2 announcements:  The release of our first publication: Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, and the expansion of our free meditation workshops.

With regard to the publication, Christian Tantric Meditation utilizes the Tantric meditation practices of self emptying, communing with Divinity, and sharing Compassion from a Christian perspective. The Christian perspective recognizes the image of God in humanity,  humanity’s connection with God through Jesus the Christ, and our calling to have compassion toward ourselves and Others.

The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle form, as well as selected local bookstores.  For more information and a links for purchase, visit our publications page.

With regard to the new workshops, the following expanded FREE  Introductory Workshops are being offered:

  • Wellness Meditation for Professionals and Students

    Working Professionals and Students will find this introduction to meditation useful for reducing stress and clearing away barriers that inhibit personal and professional growth.

  • Wellness Meditation for People with Ongoing Medical Issues

    People dealing with ongoing Medical issues will find this introduction to meditation useful for beginning to deal with chronic pain and stress associated with ongoing medical conditions.  Caregivers will find this workshop useful as well.

  • Wellness Meditation for People with Habits and Addictions

    Is my issue just a bad habit, or an addiction?  Sometimes its hard to tell.  When family members are concerned and life and livelihood are impacted, its time to consider getting help.  This introductory meditation class can help start the process of building self awareness and self control, which are the beginnings of recovery.

  • Wellness Meditation for Increasing Spirituality
    Dedicated solely to Christian Tantric Meditation, this introductory workshop can begin the process of enhancing one’s sense of purpose and meaning in life, as well as growing one’s faith and Compassion for others.  The only religious or denominational requirements for this class are an openness to the possibility of communing with unconditionally loving Divinity, and the desire to be a more compassionate person.   The group is open to walk-ins, but seating is limited so calling ahead to reserve a space is recommended.

    For more information regarding these and other programs, visit our Workshops page.

    As a reminder, Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries is administered by Dave Miller, LAPC, NCC, MACC, MTh, and Lay Pastor.  Dave offers services under the direction of Renewal Wellness at New Hope Counseling, which is located at 330 Dahlonega St Cumming, Ga 30040, and under the supervision of Kim Waters-Rose LPC.

Meditation

There are many forms of meditation a person can practice. In its most basic form, meditation can be considered a listening practice. As a spiritual practice, meditation can be considered a listening prayer. When practicing listening prayer meditation, we open ourselves up to see, hear, and feel what the Holy Spirit would have us experience.

At the core of most meditation practices is self emptying. Self emptying practices may be used to achieve a sense of joy and peace. As a stand alone practice, self emptying can be very powerful.

The path that is followed in Christian Tantric Meditation very much parallels the path that Christ took in his life and ministry. Christians may recall the story of Christ wandering in the wilderness for 40 days. This part of Christ’s journey represents the practice of self emptying. During this time Jesus released His human desires to the extent that He was not vulnerable to temptation. Similarly, in Christian Tantric meditation, we release our desires, our resentments, and our fears that hold us back and prevent us from receiving and accepting Divine Communion through the Holy Spirit.

By emptying one’s self, a person makes room for awareness. The awareness that develops in self emptying can have many dimensions, including awareness of self, awareness one’s spirituality and connection with one’s Higher Power, and awareness of creation and others who are a part of our lives. This development of self awareness is also known as mindfulness.

Meditation can be used as an intentional exercise, aimed at increasing our internal capacities. Christian Tantric meditation was developed as an exercise for the mind, heart, and core areas of consciousness. By exercising these areas of consciousness, a person increases her / his capacity for mindfulness, love, self confidence, and compassion.