Tag Archives: Spirituality

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.

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/.

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.

A Christmas Meditation Gift

advent-wreath-1879730_640Another holiday season is upon us in the United States and worldwide.  For Christians, this season celebrates the birth of Jesus, whom we know as Emmanuel, “God with us.”

If we were to imagine for a second that Jesus was born at the year 0 CE (historians differ as to the actual year of Jesus’ birth), He would have been celebrating His 16th birthday 2000 years ago.  Imagine that, Jesus as a young person, with all the hopes and dreams, the fears and insecurities, the hormones and emotions associated with a 16 year old maturing human being.

Prior to that he was a child, full of curiosity and questions, and prior to that a toddler brimming nativity-scene-1807599_640with energy.  And prior to that, like any human child, Jesus was completely dependent on His parents for sustenance, nurture, love, and protection.  Jesus was born in an area of the world that was perhaps as unstable and dangerous at the time of His birth as it is today.  He was born homeless besides.

But the story of the birth of Jesus is not only about vulnerability.  Nor is the birth of any child only about weakness and vulnerability.  A newborn child has a mind that is not limited by learned rules and desires.  The heart of a newborn child is not scarred with resentments and disappointments. And the core of a newly born child is not burdened with learned fears and responsibilities.  A newborn child represents earth%20sunrise2pure, unfettered potential for a free and joyful life, filled with unconditional love and meaningful accomplishment.

And this is my prayer for this Season, that we may all take a lesson from the newborn child, and make an effort to lay down our desires, resentments, and fears so that we may see, feel, and experience the world in new joyful, hopeful, loving, and faithful ways.

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With this in mind, consider sharing the gift of Meditation for Christmas.  The Christian Tantric Meditation practice helps people to let go of desires, resentments and burdens, and realize our potential as joyful, loving, and confident human beings.

The Christian Tantric Meditation Guide book is available through Amazon at http://sunrisemeditation.org/publications/, and our next Christian Tantric meditation classes will be conducted in February of 2017.  The series of four  classes will be held on Saturdays February 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th.  In addition to the core practice classes, we will also be offering classes oriented towards addiction recovery, and advanced classes in compassion for people who have already taken the first four classes.

These classes are useful for beginners and people who are experienced in meditation alike.  Our pricing will be 25.00 per individual class, or 80.00 if all four classes are signed up for in advance.

For more information, either call us at 678-358-8775, email us at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/  on our website.

Whatever your tradition, religion, and culture, we wish you a joyful holiday season, filled with hope, love, and peace.

Christian Tantric Wellness and Recovery Meditation Classes

Greetings,

We are happy to remind everyone that we will be offering a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains beginning Saturday July 9th.   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 four consecutive Saturdays.  The traditional Wellness based Christian Tantric Meditation protocol will be offered from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  And for the first time we will be offering these Meditation classes from Recovery oriented perspective from 9:00 AM-10:30 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.

FireworksBoth traditional 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.

People who attend our recovery oriented meditation classes learn about the disease aspects of youth-570881_1280addiction, and tools for building self awareness in recovery.  Classes will also explore emotions management, healthy relationships, and long term recovery strategies.  Note that these classes are intended for people and family members actively engaged in recovery.

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.

Meditation, Consciousness, Sentience, and Enlightenment

In the beginning, the universe came into existence. With the universe came the properties of time and space, and the content of energy and matter. The universe also came with a set of rules, and these rules dictated the relationship between time, space, energy, and matter. These rules are known as the laws of physics.

star-clusters-74052_960_720For a long time, all things in the universe obeyed the laws of space-time-energy-matter (STEM). Energy formed matter, matter warped time and space, matter followed the warping of time and space to form dense masses which became stars, and the matter in stars released energy according to fixed rules.

And then one day, after millions of years of interaction according to fixed rules, living creatures with consciousness emerged. These living creatures continued to obey the laws of physics in the larger sense, but they also developed an ability to utilize matter and energy, and an ability to move through space time with some freedom.

Along with consciousness came a desire to survive, and to survive consciousness needed to surreal-402830_960_720gather nutrients, expel waste, find a suitable environment in which to flourish, and to reproduce. To facilitate survival, a new set of rules emerged, the rules of attraction to pleasure, and aversion to pain (APAP). Consciousness began to identify pleasure with finding suitable nutrition and reproduction, and identifying pain with hostile environments and dealing with competing and predatory organisms.

For a vast amount of time, consciousness obeyed these APAP rules, until one day, the property of sentience or self-awareness emerged from within consciousness.

In a large sense, sentient beings continued to obey the survival laws of APAP and the physical laws of STEM. But with sentience came the willingness and ability to place the needs of others over the needs of self. With sentience a new rule emerged, the rule of love.

Still constrained by the laws of APAP, at first love limited itself to the raising of offspring, but grew to include larger units of family and community.

Some became obsessed with the rules of APAP, and taken to the extreme were trapped by attraction to pleasure in the form of addictions, and by aversion to pain in the form of phobias.

universe-1044107_960_720At some point, enlightened beings began to emerge from among the sentient beings. One enlightened being known as Buddha questioned the law of attraction, and rejected being controlled by desires. In the process he found a love that transcended the constraints of family and community and included the entire universe. He shared his newfound freedom to love without boundaries with his followers.

Another enlightened being known as Christ questioned the law of aversion, and rejected being controlled by the fear of suffering and death. In the process he found a love that transcended the constraints of family and community and included the entire universe. He shared his newfound freedom to love without boundaries with his followers.

Followers of these enlightened beings wanted to experience this newfound freedom to love solar-eclipse-151211_960_720without boundaries, and so began to investigate the longstanding rules of STEM and APAP. They developed rules and techniques for finding this new freedom, but in many cases found the rules (religions) they developed were not liberating but even more constraining.

Some followers developed contemplative techniques for letting go of APAP rules. After long hours of disciplined prayer and meditation, some actually managed to let go of the rules that had constrained sentient beings for so long. But in the absence of those rules, some found a profound sense of loss. They discovered that living without the pursuit of pleasure and the fear of pain left life empty and meaningless.

For those few who continued and persevered, beyond the dark and vast plain of emptiness, 1338259321they discovered the meaning that the enlightened beings who went on before had promised. Love without boundaries, unconditional love, love for all of the universe, love for all living consciousness, love for all sentient beings. Love beyond the constraints of family and tribe and nation. Unconditional Love for all that is, was, and will be. Love that transcends the rules of STEM and APAP.

The progression of creation has been, from the beginning, a progression of increasing complexity and freedom, from matter and energy, to conscious life, to sentient self awareness, to enlightenment. Rules were established and transcended. First the rules of physics were established and transcended by the rules of attraction and aversion. Then the rules of attraction and aversion were transcended by the freedom of unconditional love.

Contemplative practices such as centering prayer and meditation are a tool, a method for increasing freedom and joy. Whether trapped by obsession with desires in the form of addiction, or trapped by obsession with fear in the form of phobias, contemplative practices can help. For those who choose to continue contemplative practices to the release of all attractions and aversions, profound freedom and joy in the form of unconditional love is possible.

We are now opening registration for our next set of introductory meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.  Our next set of classes will be held Saturday February 27th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

mtn_sunrisePeople who attend our classes learn skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, 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.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:30-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:00 will discuss the use of meditation in addiction recovery.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

Registration is open from 10:00 to 10:30 AM, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.

See you there!