Encountering God (a Zoom retreat)
Led By: Erika Murphy
Suggested Donation: $45
Friday, 04 September – Sunday, 06 September 2020 at 2pm on Zoom
The earth inhales God, why should we not do the same? ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
From the Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz to Christian mystics such as Hildegard of Bingen and Meister Eckhart, spiritual adepts over the centuries have drawn our awareness to a state of direct spiritual knowing. Countless mystic writers describe states of complete saturation in delight, love, and peace, which exceeds anything the human mind can imagine. While many see these kinds of encounters as restricted to particular times or people, the mystic tradition invites us to embrace our own state of intimate divine knowing right here and now.
On this experiential retreat via Zoom, we will embark on a journey of spiritual practice from across religious traditions and ask what it means to encounter God directly. How can we cultivate practices that evoke the living presence of the divine? Through meditation and contemplative exercises, we will dive into stillness and draw closer to the richness of our inner world. The sessions will include instruction on practical methods of integrating the spiritual with the everyday so that we can foster lives that are informed, moment by moment, by our highest intentions. These practices instill calmness, mindfulness, and focus: qualities that set the stage for our vibrant awareness, which always includes the living presence of the divine.
Session 1: Friday, September 4. “Chanting the Name.” This session will introduce chanting as a divinely-inspired prelude to the practice of meditation. Chanting opens the heart and stirs devotion, allowing the mind to become immersed in sacred stillness.
Session 2: Saturday, September 5. “Sacred Texts.” Reading and contemplating sacred texts re/minds us of our spiritual potential. We will dive into mystic poetry and other inspired sacred readings, which remind us of the luminous reality that lies beyond the everyday mind.
Session 3: Sunday, September 6. “Inhaling God.” In this session, we will focus on the breath as a way to focus, calm, and clarify the mind. Through breath-focused chanting and japa (silent repetition of a mantra) we will cultivate stillness through the ancient practice of paced breathing.
Please join us on Zoom for any or all of these three sessions, offered at 2pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept. 4–6. Each session will last about one hour and will be recorded for future viewing.
After registering, you’ll receive an e-mail with information on how to join the Zoom sessions.
Erika Murphy, M.Div., Ph.D., teaches religious studies in Fairfield, CT, as well as offering classes, retreats, and workshops that focus on meditation and stress-reduction. Her work in theology and spirituality has led her to explore the rich world of the mind-body connection through mindfulness practices. In her academic work, Erika is often drawn to explore the theological resonances between vulnerability, transformation, and spirituality.