Awakening Syllabus

Working Syllabus
Meditation: Awakening to Your Thoughts & Emotions

As part of home practice, participants are required to read and pray Lectio Divina on self-selected reflections from The Dance of Life: Weaving Sorrows and Blessings into One Joyful Step by Henri Nouwen and edited by Michael Ford.  This book is out of print but readily available from Amazon third party sellers at a reasonable cost (e.g., $12 or less).

Week 1 – Meditation and Mindfulness
Be still and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10

  • Guidelines, goals & objectives, outline & home practice
  • Foundations in the Bible, Christian writers, psychology and neuroscience
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 1: Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 39-67, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage I: Setting the Compass or Stage 2: Dispelling the Darkness
  • Do one activity mindfully every day all week. Pick an activity you already do daily.
  • Count self-judgments two days

Week 2 – Stories We Tell
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. Matthew 6:25

  • Discuss home practice, obstacles to meditation
  • Exercises: Stories we tell & what we do with them
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 2 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 69-87, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 3: Growing through Anxiety
  • Do one activity mindfully every day all week. Pick an activity you already do daily.
  • Count pleasurable moments two days

Week 3 – Understanding Emotions
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • Primary & secondary emotions: what to do with them?
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 3 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 91-130, a few ref;ections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 4: Embracing Loneliness or Stage 5: Emotional Hurdles
  • Do two activities mindfully every day all week. Choose activities you would be doing anyway.
  • Count worry thoughts two days

Week 4 – Our Distorted Thoughts
All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own [distorted] thoughts
. Isaiah 65:2

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • Exercise: Distorted thoughts & how to change them
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 4 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 133-152, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 6: Spiritual Disorientation
  • Do two activities mindfully every day all week. Choose activities you would be doing anyway.
  • Count the cognitive distortion you use most often two days

Lesson 5: Accepting “what is”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • Accepting “what is in this moment” without attachment
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 5 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 155-177, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 7: Integrating the Self
  • Do two activities mindfully every day all week. Choose activities you would be doing anyway.
  • Count illusion thoughts two days

Lesson 6:  Who Am I?
“Truly, truly, I say to you … I am.  John 8:58

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • I am not my thoughts or emotions. I am a different person in each moment.
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 6 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 181-202, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 8: Befriending Death
  • Do three activities mindfully every day all week. Choose activities you would be doing anyway.
  • Count “I am” thoughts two days

Week 7 – Letting Go & Forgiveness
“they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”  Mark 4:12

Week 7 – Home Practice

  • Alternate Letting Go and Self-Forgiveness meditations daily.
  • Do three activities mindfully every day all week. Choose ones you do anyway.
  • Count thoughts of forgiveness for two days

Week 8 – Loving Kindness
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Mark 12:31

Week 8 – Home Practice

  • Alternate Loving Kindness and Self-Compassion Lectio Divina every other day. For Loving Kindness, focus on different people each day.
  • Do three activities mindfully every day all week.
  • Notice loving thoughts for two days

Week 9:  Ego vs The Mind of Christ
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • The mind of Christ – what is it?  How do we differentiate it from egoic mind?
  • Practice & discuss: meditation

Week 9 – Home Practice

  • Read The Dance of Life, pp 205-218, a few reflections a day
  • Daily Lectio Divina for 20 minutes. Choose a different reflection each day from Stage 9: Arriving Home
  • Do three activities mindfully every day all week. Choose activities you would do anyway.
  • Count when you see Christ in others two days

Week 10 – Christianity as a Way of Life
“I am the way, the truth and the life …” John 14:16

  • Discuss home practice, what did you notice? what had meaning?
  • Closing ritual
  • Practice & discuss: meditation
  • Options to continue – Meditation Chapel

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