Mindful in the Dark

Jan 21, 2018
Hey all…as some of you may be aware, this past Monday (January 15th) was “Blue Monday“, so-called because it has been calculated to be the most depressing day of the year. A UK travel company even launched a campaign claiming that there was a mathematical formula on which this was based, that included the weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. Turns out the formula wasn’t up to much in either mathematical terms or in psychological ones, but it sure got some traction. That bogus ad came out in January of 2005, and I most recently heard it cited in a newscast this week. In all likelihood, it caught on because this time of the year can be difficult due to many discernible factors like those mentioned – it’s dark, it’s cold, we feel the letdown from either the delights of the Christmas season or the “sag” that can follow the effort of facing a hard time…and so on.

All to say this – in our gathering this week, Matthew Kent and I are going to have a chat about that “need to take action” part. Not from the vantage point of “three steps to beating the winter blues” (I think I’ll leave that to some internet sidebar), but from the perspective of the ways in which mindfulness / meditation practices can open our whole selves to a realm of spirituality that goes beyond “three steps” or “right belief” and opens into a way of moving through the challenges of life with a greater sense of peace and grace than we would otherwise experience. Matthew is someone whose exploration of these practices came out of a sense of the limitations of the traditional Christian practices he had previously known. I’ve experienced him as a gentle and practical guide in this arena, and invite you to come and see for yourself if there might be some “light in the darkness” in the conversation I’ll share with him this Sunday.

I should just add this – I don’t want to assume that your story is like mine. However, my story would include a sort of ill-defined fear of anything that included the word “meditation”. This entire realm of practice was presented to me as dangerous, a slippery slope, a kind of “spiritual gateway drug” that could lead to all sorts of “we’re not sure what might happen” dangers. What I’ve learned since is that this mostly had to do with fear of the unknown, and the inclination within my formative traditions to seek “right belief” rather than “connection with God”. In any case, it’s my perspective that there is much here to be genuinely intrigued to explore, and relatively little to fear. So if your story includes something like what I’ve described, I invite you to consider the possibility that there’s more than one way to approach the mystery of both God and ourselves and to come and sit in on the conversation. There’s no obligation, and no one will try to sell you a condo at the end…:)

We’ll be gathering at Pantages, trickling in as we tend to starting around 10:30, and making a point of trying to focus by 10:45.

Peace to you all,

-Tim Plett

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