Tag Archives: Tantric

Christian Tantric Wellness Meditation Classes 2018

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 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.

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/.

Meditation and Recovery Workshops Announcement

Meditation Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes begin Saturday March 4th 2017, 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 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.

Our Meditation Workshops are helpful for Managing Stress, Releasing Barriers to Growth, Increasing Spirituality, and increasing Compassion for self and others.  We teach techniques that have been in practice for thousands of years, presented in a manner consistent with Judeo-Christian Scripture and Practice, with proven therapeutic benefits. 

Recovery Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of eight weekly addiction recovery classes starting Thursday February 2 2017 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  The curricula of the classes will include education regarding addiction and recovery, emotions management, codependency, and long term recovery strategies.  People in recovery, families of people in recovery, and people seeking knowledge regarding the challenges involved in recovery are welcome.

Classes will cost 25.00 per person per week.  A $40.00 discount will be available for advanced registration and payment for all 8 classes.  Upon completion of the classes, a certificate of completion will be provided.

These classes are intended for people actively involved in recovery and people affected by addiction, including family members.

Our Recovery Workshops include Education and Tools for establishing and maintaining physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. We provide tools for increasing Self Awareness, promoting Emotional Stability, encouraging Healthy Relationships, and building personal long term recovery strategies.  All recovery workshops include mindfulness oriented meditation instruction.

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 Skills to Ease Insomnia

People come to meditation for many reasons. Some people meditate to grow closer to their Higher Power, some to overcome personal obstacles, and some people meditate to improve their relationships with others.

While meditation can be useful for all of these purposes, the individual skills learned in meditation can have specific practical applications as well. One specific practical application where meditation skills can be useful is in dealing with insomnia.

Here is an example of how skills learned in the Christian Tantric Meditation book and classes can help with insomnia. The specific skills illustrated here include mind stabilization, taught in the first introductory classes, and self emptying, taught in the second set of classes:

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sheep-738678_640Tossing and turning. Racing mind. Michelle was having another sleepless night.

In the morning, all the responsibilities would still be there. Kids, husband, and her own job. Sure, the kids and the husband could take care of themselves, and they often did, but after sleepless nights she missed having the time to be with them in the mornings. She also didn’t enjoy rushing to get herself ready for work, or the dragging fatigue that lasted all day.

She thought about the meditation discipline she had started several weeks ago. She had been practicing at least twice a week, mostly in the evenings. Overall, the practice had been helpful. She found she was getting better at dealing with day to day stress and occasional anxiety, and she was enjoying her life, her family, and work relationships more. When she thought about it, she realized that her sleepless nights were less frequent, but not gone altogether. And not tonight.

Having never tried her meditation techniques for sleeping, but having nothing to lose, she thought she would give them a try.

Laying comfortably on her side, she began attending to her breathing. She noticed how her breath felt entering her nose, how it cooled her throat, how it felt expanding her lungs. She noticed how she relaxed when she exhaled, letting the air out.

Continuing to practice breath centered mind stabilization, she found she was able to relax, but as soon as she relaxed enough to let go, a random thought brought her back, preventing her from falling asleep.

She thought about her latest random thought. Something that was overdue at work. “Ah”, she thought, “this thought represents a burden in my life, I know what to do with this.”

She allowed her consciousness to occupy her core space, and allowed herself to let go of her burden. With every breath, she allowed the burden to drift away. She then returned her attention to her breathing.

Almost asleep now, another thought brought her back from the brink of sleep. An old argument with her mother. An incident from her childhood that had been a point of contention for decades. Smiling, she recognized this thought as a lingering resentment.

With every breath, she allowed her consciousness to occupy her heart space, and she still-life-861822_640consciously let go of her resentment. With every breath, she allowed the resentment to drift away.

Now more relaxed, her attention returned to her breathing, and she drifted off to sleep.

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If you are interested in learning more about mind stabilization, self emptying, and other skills that are included in Christian Tantric Meditation, consider attending a Workshop.

Our next workshops introduce mindfulness, mind stabilization, and open consciousness practices.  Please visit http://sunrisemeditation.org/workshops/ or call 678-358-8775 for more information.

There are only a few days left to register for our Christian Tantric Meditation Workshops
on Saturday October 17th in Sautee Georgia near Helen Georgia.  It looks like we’re going to have a beautiful autumn weekend in the North Georgia Mountains. This would be an ideal time to visit, take a meditation class, hike to the top of Brasstown Bald, or enjoy Octoberfest in Helen.

 

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.

Letting Go of Anxieties with Meditation

It was a day like any other day, dreary and oppressive with cold rain, and yet pregnant with possibility. Gary had been practicing Christian Tantric Meditation fairly regularly for almost a year, so he was well versed in the process, but lately he had been practicing less and less frequently.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgHe knew the benefits, and he felt the consequences of not practicing creeping back into his life. Work was crazy, his wife and kids demanding, and he was drinking more than usual, which only meant 1 or 2 extra drinks on the weekend, but still, he could feel it. He was slipping away again, losing himself to the cares and demands of the world. He was also letting his temper go a little too far lately, feeling sorry for himself and blaming others for his growing sense of loneliness and lack of control.

“Lack of control” he thought to himself, smiling grimly. He remembered. He remembered the freedom and joy he felt when he truly surrendered his desires and attachments. Pushing himself, he remembered the love he felt when he surrendered his resentments and invited Christ into his heart. He remembered the feeling of hope and strength he felt when he surrendered his burdens and fears.

Motivated now, he placed his phone in “airplane mode” and retrieved the neglected cushions from closet. He had practiced in a chair for several months, but eventually purchased a meditation cushion set.  He sat on the cushions cross legged at first, noting his sense of imbalance with his knees in the air. Carefully, he folded his left foot against his right thigh, and then pulled his right heel into his right thigh. Once his right knee was somewhat locked in place, he shifted his right leg downward while lifting his right foot and resting it against his left calf.

His knees were now naturally extended to the floor, creating a satisfying 3 point weight distribution with his seat elevated on the cushions. He noted that his right foot was not crossing his left at the ankle, as that would result in a numb foot within five minutes.

He closed his eyes and briefly and noted the thoughts running through his head, the things he needed to be doing, the demands of life, and he turned his attention to his breathing. He recognized the feeling of cool air entering his nostrils, his mouth, and into his lungs. He recognized the feeling of his chest rising and falling. He consciously began breathing with his belly, allowing it to expand and relax naturally as he inhaled and exhaled.

His racing thoughts began to diminish quickly, as his breathing deepened. He consciously straightened his back, and adjusted himself a little to increase his sense of balance. Because of his experience in the practice, his mind and body automatically responded to his breathing.

He imagined the space that his mind occupied, and consciously let go of his desires. His outward desires appeared first in his mind, desires for control. With every breath they drifted away. Then his deeper desires appeared, his desires for success and happiness. He let them go as well, leaving in their place a clear blue sky in his mind.

His attention turned to his heart. He imagined his breath entering his body, and sweeping through his heart. He imagined letting go of his resentments, directed towards people he encountered recently, and long term resentments he held against family members. As an angry grandfather figure came into his mind, he resisted the temptation to work on this issue. He had practiced letting go of this image many times before, and he would have more opportunities later. Somehow he knew he needed to dwell elsewhere this time. Breathing, he allowed the image to drift away.

His attention moved to his core. There. He felt it. A persistent knot. A low ache that just sat there, haunting him day and night. He had felt it before, but never really recognized it. Until now.

Curious, he decided to imagine the space that the ache occupied. He imagined its shape, its position. It was definitely located in his stomach area, on the left side of his body. He breathed slowly and deeply, imagining every breath soothing and healing the inflamed aching area that his consciousness  occupied.

Because of his training, his mind drifted to his fears. Definitely present, but vague. Nothing specific to let go of. Still, he breathed, and imagined his generalized fear dissipating with every breath.

He also thought of his many burdens. Again, nothing specific, no one huge concern. Just a large volume of little issues. Insurance, bills, children’s schooling, etc etc. Breathing, he let them go, little by little with every breath.

He felt better, but he noted that the ache was still present.

His curiosity aroused even further, he decided to let go of his training, and forget even the recognition of fears and burdens within his core. He let it all go, all structure, all training, all thoughts, all feelings. He breathed deeply and allowed himself to just dwell there, in his core area of consciousness.

Eventually, a new sense began to grow within him, replacing the dull ache and general anxiety. He began to feel hopeful. He began to recognize the opportunities in his life, and the strengths that he had built over time, his experience and accomplishments.

He allowed his consciousness to open up and occupy his entire body. The resentment towards the demands placed upon him were replaced by feelings of love in his heart. His wife, his children. His dog. The rain, the firm earth, green lawns and flowers. God. Love. All there in his heart.

The desires to control all of those demanding voices and images in his mind were replaced by a clear blue sky. He recognized that it wasn’t in his power to make others happy. They need to find happiness on their own. He could be present, he could love, he could support, but he couldn’t bring happiness. He recognized that his attempts to bring happiness to others actually did more harm than good, as they turned to him rather than to their own resources, their own faith, their own in-dwelling sense of God.

Dwelling in the space his entire body occupied, he imagined every breath filling him completely, cleansing and healing. He rested there. He allowed his awareness to expand to include the room, the house, the yard, the neighborhood, and all the living creatures that were a part of his surroundings.

Feeling relieved, he recognized that the knot in his stomach had dissipated. He returned his attention back to his breathing, and he slowly emerged. He opened his eyes and smiled.

🙂

New Year, Improved Lives

A New Year is upon us, and many of us view this as an opportunity to improve our lives. Some of us will begin diets, others will start jogging or working out, and others among us will begin practices to improve various aspects of our Conscious well being.

logolargerAs we think about ways to improve different aspects of our lives, we may look to classes, to instruction books, or to our own resources and experience. For many Christians, we look to the Bible for instruction.

In Matt 5:18-19, Jesus speaks about the fulfillment of the Old Testament laws, and begins sharing a set of commandments for living in a way that fulfills the laws. Commandments like avoid anger and sin in our hearts, settle our differences with others, loving our neighbors, and loving our enemies, point us toward living mindful, self controlled, ethical, and compassionate lives.

The core teachings that many Buddhists follow are called the Four Noble Truths. These truths can be summarized as the following:

  1. All things in this world are temporary.
  2. Suffering comes from clinging to the things of this world.
  3. Letting go of the things of this world releases us from suffering.
  4. We can let go of temporary things by living mindful, self controlled, ethical, compassionate lives.

Critics of Buddhism suggest that Buddhist teachings and practice are invalid because on the surface God does not appear to be part of the Buddhist worldview. This is somewhat like saying that a recipe for apple pie is invalid because it contains no reference to God. Just as a recipe for apple pie focuses on using readily available ingredients, Buddhism focuses on living our lives using resources at hand in this temporary existence.

Christianity describes a Kingdom that is offers permanence in the midst of the things of this world. Christianity also suggests that we can be “delivered from” the suffering of this world through maintaining a relationship with God through Christ.

Some suggest that by abandoning the things of this world, including relationships, pleasure in any form, and even neglecting our basic needs of food and sleep, we can enhance our relationship with God through Christ.

While practicing celibacy, fasting, or vigilance can be very rewarding, the commandments Christ asks us to obey are centered on mindfulness of our own emotions and desires, and having healthy, loving relationships. And by living love centered lives, obedient to Christ’s commandments, we have access to “the Kingdom” here and now.

For many of us, loving our own families, much less our enemies, can be quite challenging. Many of us get wrapped up in our own desires for the impermanent things of this world, and love gets lost and forgotten. We struggle with our habits and obsessions, our resentments and attachments, and our fears and burdens. In all this struggle, we experience disappointment after disappointment as the temporary things we try to connect with disappear one after another.

Also for many of us, hearing from others or even telling ourselves to “just quit smoking” or “just stick to the diet” or “just be more loving, dammit!” only serve to sink us further into a cycle of disappointment and regret.

The fact is, if we want to let go of a bad habit, lose weight, or be more loving, we need to change our priorities, change our attitudes, change our lifestyles, for the long term.

This is where the “recipes” provided in Tantric Buddhist meditation practices can be helpful. Mindfulness and Self Emptying meditation practices can help us to let go of our attachments to temporary things that distract us from loving. Communion oriented Guruyoga practices can help us to connect with Divinity within ourselves, and Compassion oriented practices can help us to become more accepting and loving of ourselves and others.

But meditation isn’t a “magic pill” that can solve all of our problems with one dose. Meditation is more like an exercise that needs to be practiced on a regular basis. Nobody expects to go jogging once and become instantly healthy. In fact, the first time we jog can result in some physical aches and pains as our bodies adjust to new levels of activity.

Meditation is an exercise for our consciousness, and like physical exercise, we may feel some discomfort initially. It takes some effort to let go of our long standing resentments and fears, and it takes some effort to accept the joy and love that God blesses us with every day.

Like a cross training work out, Christian Tantric Meditation provides instructions for self emptying, Divine Communion, and growing Compassion for self and others. These practices are in keeping with Christ’s Commandments and Tantric Buddhist practices.

At Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries, we hope you have a joyful, love filled, healthy, and successful New Year. If you would like assistance in developing a “healthy consciousness exercise” practice, we offer instruction in Christian Tantric Meditation, see our “Workshops” page for more information. Our book “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide” is also available at Amazon.com in paperback and electronic forms.

Have a Blessed Day and a Blessed New Year!

Press Release

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Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries Releases
Christian Tantric Meditation Guide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dave Miller, Administrator
Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries
678-358-8775
dave@ecumenicalwellness.org

 

Atlanta, Ga – Dec 6, 2014

Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries is pleased to announce the release of the book “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide” by author David J. Miller. The book is now available in paperback and electronic forms from all major on-line retailers, including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and BooksaMillion.com. The book is also available at select independent book stores in the Greater Atlanta and North Georgia areas.

In the book, Miller presents Tantric Meditation practices using a Christian perspective. Miller describes the combined practice as “an exercise for the heart, mind, and core areas of consciousness.” He further elaborates that the practice increases a person’s “capacity for mindfulness, spirituality, and compassion.”

When asked who would find this practice valuable, Miller replied “anyone who desires greater success in life, anyone dealing with unhealthy habits or emotions, relationship challenges, or anyone desiring a closer relationship with God through Christ will find this practice useful.”

About Dave Miller

Dave Miller has earned a Master’s in Community Counseling from Argosy University Atlanta, Georgia, a Master’s in Theological Studies from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a Lay Minister and as a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor, Dave has worked in Recovery, Mental Health, Judicial, and Church settings. His training and experience in Counseling and Christian Ministry, combined with his studies in Tantric meditation techniques, all contributed to his development of this powerful and unique Christian Tantric Meditation practice.

About Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries:

In an unconditionally accepting environment, ECWM provides Christian Tantric Meditation Retreats and Workshops, Individual Mindfulness Oriented Therapy and Non-Denominational Christian Spiritual Direction in the Atlanta Metro and North Georgia areas. Call 678-358-8775 or visit Ecumenicalwellness.org for more information.

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.

Meditation as a Listening Prayer Practice

Hello again, my name is Dave Miller, and I am a licensed associate professional counselor in the state of Georgia, lay pastor, and author of the book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, available at Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions. Form more information visit ecumenicalwellness.org.

I’m going to start today by asking a question: What are our strengths, what are our gifts, and who is it that God made us to be?

Some of us may be self aware and living our potential, accepting and being who God made us to be. Many of us are not sure, but we have some ideas. Some of us don’t have a clue, but that’s OK, in fact that’s great, because people who admit that they don’t have a clue about who they are approach the question with an open mind, which is a great place to start any adventure.

Who are we, as human beings? For many people who participate in the Abrahamic traditions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, our first clue about who we are comes from our sacred scripture, which says that we are made in the Image of God. And also, from our sacred scriptures, we have some clues about who God is. We all believe that God is Merciful and Gracious, and we all believe that God is with us.

Lets unpack that a little bit, what does Gracious mean? Full of Grace. What does Grace mean? Grace means showing unmerited favor or having unconditional love. Unconditional means that whether we are sinners, or saints, or somewhere in between, God is with us and loves us.

So when we go back to our original question, which was what are our strengths and gifts, we have a few clues to start with. We are made in the image of God, we are loved unconditionally, and God is always with us.

These are powerful tools to start our adventure with, knowing God is with us and that we are loved unconditionally. From here the question naturally arises, what does it mean to be made in the image of God? Well for starters, we know that unconditional love is part of who we are, part of our DNA. We also know that being with others is part of our DNA, we are social beings.

The questions we have asked so far are about the nature of humanity, the remaining questions are a bit more specific, they apply to us as individuals.    How do we ask God, who is with us always and loves us unconditionally? In the Abrahamic traditions we ask God in prayer.

If we pray to God asking specific questions, we may need to take time to listen for an answer.  When we try to listen, a variety of things can happen.   Sometimes our minds become so flooded with possibilities that it was hard to pick out an answer.  Sometimes  our minds are so filled with day to day life the answers are covered up. And sometimes they

This is where meditation comes in.

The Abrahamic cultures and faiths have volumes and volumes of wonderful stories, advice, and messages from God as told through prophets, there are other traditions in this wonderful planet we live on who have spent thousands of years developing and documenting techniques for listening through meditation. And those techniques include Yogic Hindu and Tantric Buddhist practices.

There are many many mystical teachings from within the Abrahamic traditions that focus on listening, and studying and using those writings and traditions is a wonderful thing to do. But within those traditions, mysticism, meditation, and listening have been outside of the mainstream. In Eastern traditions, meditation has been a central focus for thousands of years, leading to Tantric practice techniques.

Because of the focus on listening, Tantric practices are consistent with many of the Abrahamic religious teachings and traditions. For example, Tantric Self Emptying calls to mind fasting and atonement practices in all traditions. Guruyoga calls to mind practices used to bring people close to God. And Compassion based meditation is consistent with teachings related to loving our neighbors and treating others as we would be treated.

Some of the eastern meditation techniques are finding their way into counseling practices. Mindfulness and Compassion oriented meditation techniques have applications in addiction, anger management, codependency, and all other areas of mental health.

Christian Tantric Meditation consists of three stages – self emptying, Divine Communion, and Compassion. Self emptying allows us to release the desires, resentments and attachments, and fears and burdens that hinder our ability to listen to ourselves, others, and God. Divine Communion invites God to become a part of us, increasing our intimacy and ability to listen, and allowing us to accept the gifts of Hope, Love, and Faith that God has to offer. And finally, Compassion practices help us to accept and love unconditionally ourselves and others, for who we are here and now.

So, we’ve asked and answered some questions, about who we are, who God is, how we speak with God in prayer and how we can listen to God using meditation. We have talked about Tantric practice applications to human psychology and to Abrahamic cultures. We’ve also talked about how Christian Tantric meditation uses Tantric practices in a Christian context. What have we learned, what are our take aways?

God is with us, and we are all loved unconditionally. Knowledge of this is our foundation. We are all formed in the Image of God, and we all are given strengths and gifts. Meditative practices help us learn and grow into our strengths and gifts. Meditative practices increase our ability to listen, which helps us appreciate ourselves, God, and others more fully.

Christian Tantric Meditation provides a powerful collection of Meditation practices that can be learned through the book and / or workshops, so visit ecumenicalwellness.org for more information.

My final prayer is that we all learn to listen to ourselves, and God, and to one another, so that we may all encourage each other and grow into being the people whom we were created to be.   Have a blessed day!