A Short History of Our Community

Our story begins with the story of John Main and a particular turning point in his life. That turning point became possible when he entered the British Foreign Service and was posted to Malaya where he joined the Governor's staff and studied Chinese.

One day he was sent to visit a Indian Hindu monk who ran an orphanage and ashram on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

John Main was deeply impressed by his peaceful, calm wisdom.

From this Hindu monk John Main learned a simple way of meditation: the faithful recitation of a mantra during two periods of meditation, before and after his day's work. The monk encouraged John Main to meditate as a Christian. He used the sacred Christian word maranatha as a mantra.

Each week John Main would return to his teacher, to the discipline of silence, stillness and simplicity. He said that during this time his own spiritual life was opened to new depths. He returned to Europe to teach International Law for a number of years.

During this time he attended mass daily and continued his practice of meditation.

He then entered a Benedictine Monastery in London.

His novice master instructed him to give up his meditation and focus on more intellectual forms of prayer – which in obedience he did.

Some years later an encounter with a student led him to search the scriptures and Christian writings and recover the practice of meditation as a form of Christian prayer.

He started to uncover the practice of the prayer of the heart, of prayer focussing on a short phrase or prayer word – he found it was very much part of the Christian tradition through the ages.

He found the practice in the teaching of John Cassian and the Desert Mothers and Fathers of the 4th Century who all in turn influenced St Benedict’s teaching on prayer.

His journey of faith and his experience of prayer deepened his understanding of the teachings of Jesus on leaving self behind – uncovering the treasure within – and in the teachings of St Paul – the Holy Spirit prays within us.

John Main formed Christian meditation groups in London and went on to form a small monastic community in Montreal, Canada.

From those beginnings the Christian Meditation Community has spread all over the world – it is inter-denominational and is being embraced by more and more Christians as a valid and much needed form of prayer for modern people.

The current Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation – is Benedictine monk – Fr Laurence Freeman.


What makes Christian Meditation Christian?

Firstly the faith with which we meditate --- a faith that has some sense of a personal connection with Jesus.

The historical, theological and scripture tradition in which we meditate.

The sense of community meditating leads to: "when two or three pray together in my name, I am there among them."

Meditation is one type of prayer among many other types of Christian prayer like reading scripture, sacraments, worship, vocal prayer and so on. In fact meditation tends to revive the depth of these other forms of prayer.

Finally, but primarily, meditation helps us take let go of our ego centre desires and makes space for us to become more loving people. The is how we assess our progress in meditation, not by our experiences or visions, but by our growth in love.

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