Levels of Consciousness and the Fruits of the Spirit – Retreat Two (Laurence Freeman)
WCCM National Community Retreat Series 2021
Deepen your understanding of the teaching of Christian Meditation: 8 thematically-linked retreats during the year highlighting a different National Community, open to all
- Retreat 1 : Strengthening the Muscle of Attention – WCCM Philippines (28-31 JAN)
- Retreat 2 : The Forces of the Unconscious – WCCM Scandinavia (22-25 APR)
- Retreat 3 : The Brick Wall of the Ego – WCCM Italy (20-23 MAY)
- Retreat 4 : Breakthrough – WCCM Poland (12-15 JUN)
- Retreat 5 : Gradual Enlightenment – WCCM Belgium & WCCM Holland (22-25 JUL)
- Retreat 6 : Recognising the Gardener – WCCM Malaysia (09-12 SEP)
- Retreat 7 : Living Life Anew – WCCM Spain (04-07 NOV)
- Retreat 8 : The Heavenly Jerusalem – WCCM tbc (18-21 NOV)
The WCCM is composed of 67 national communities united in the essential teaching and the simplicity of the practice of this tradition of meditation as well as in a commitment to sharing it as a way of unity and healing in our challenged world.
Bonnevaux is the physical and spiritual home of this monastery without walls. Members of national communities form pilgrimages to come to make a retreat at Bonnevaux whether on-line or in person. In this coming year 2021 there will be a number of these national community retreats.
The theme that Laurence will be unfolding during the year will be linked to an exploration of levels of consciousness as discovered through the practice of meditation. With that in mind he will be developing a series of talks across all of the national community retreats as if sharing with you chapters in a book on the essential themes of John Main’s teaching and the Fruits of the Spirit as described in St Paul’s letter to the Galatians 5:22-23. These can be understood as the essential values that enlighten the meaning of the human condition.
For the meditator it can also be seen as the fruits of a daily practice that lead to a transformation of our whole self interiorly and in all our relationships and activities in the world: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness and self-control. All these retreats will online and open to anyone to join. They will provide an opportunity the chance to get to know and enjoy the uniqueness of the national communities.
Retreat 2. The Forces of the Unconscious
Highlighting the WCCM Scandinavia Meditation Community; 22-25 APR 2021
This event is online only.
Recordings of all sessions will be available offline later in the day.
Retreat content is available for a month.
The Complete Series of Retreats
(Registration for Retreats 2-8 opens soon)
1. Strengthening the Muscle of Attention (WCCM Philippines)
At the first level of consciousness, meditation addresses the attention deficit in the human mind which early Christian teachers saw almost as the meaning of ‘original sin’. It is an especially acute problem of our time. Meditation does more than improve our capacity for attention, however. It expands our capacity for love.
2. The Forces of the Unconscious (WCCM Scandinavia)
The next level of consciousness can bring us to face our shadow and half-forgotten turbulent experiences of the past locked in the hard disc of memory. Meditation brings healing and liberty at this level provided we don ‘t get into excessive introspection. Understanding how grace works on nature during the work of contemplation is part of seeing the Christian aspects of meditation.
3. The Brick Wall of the Ego (WCCM Italy)
The Cloud of Unknowing calls this level the ‘naked awareness of one’s self’. Some traditions call it the ‘I thought’ which we cannot transcend by effort or will alone. It is here that we experience a reduction of egocentricity and a newfound sense of service to others even when many of our human faults are still active.
4. Breakthrough (WCCM Poland)
All traditions see meditation as an awakening. The Christian understands it by responding in the Spirit to the call to awaken and merge with the Mind of Christ who sees into the depths of the Father. As the Brick wall of the Ego crumbles the jopurney of convergence bursts into an infinite expansion.
5. Gradual enlightenment (WCCM Belgium & WCCM Holland)
Human life is a spiritual journey in which the full potential of human existence is discovered more richly at each stage. As the ego diminishes and the life of the Spirit expands, each aspect of life, physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual are brought into an ever-fuller harmony. The light of Christ grows more intense as we realise what he meant by ‘I am the light of the world’.
6. Recognising the Gardener (WCCM Malaysia)
The Resurrection experience is about coming to a full recognition of what we are looking at. As Mary Magdalene first saw the Risen Christ through her tears, she thought she was looking at the gardener. We too learn to see the depth dimension of everyday life as we learn not to look at but to see – and to see that we are seen
7. Living Life Anew (WCCM Spain)
The sign that this journey is real is how it changes the way we live. Gradually we see our preferences and default responses adapting to the new experience being liberated in us and through all our relationships. Personal values, habits, lifestyle are all brought into harmony with the new force of reality being unleashed. This can be turbulent and challenging to our sense of self but also, when supported in community, powerfully liberating.
8. The Heavenly Jerusalem (WCCM UK)
The English poet William Blake wrote an ecstatic poem called ‘Jerusalem’ which became an anthem for universal peace and justice. It echoes the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21: 9-27) in which religion has been replaced by the direct experience of God. In this final retreat of the 2021 series, Laurence will consider the changing spiritual consciousness of humanity with the earthquakes in religious traditions in the hopeful light of a rising contemplative consciousness.
To reap the full benefits the retreat offers, we recommend that you meditate 2-3 times per day.
How to Create Your Own Retreat
This online retreat is designed to be flexible around your daily life and time zone. Please visit here where we provide support on creating a rhythm and structure to your retreat: how much silence you would like, meditation times, reading of sacred texts, practicing yoga and more, plus other suggestions to help you embody the retreat and stay off-line as much as possible.
Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk of the Monastery of S. Maria del Pilastrello, Lendinara, Italy, in the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto. He is Director of Bonnevaux and of The World Community for Christian Meditation.