TAHOE, Calif. — Can you imagine the number of people working to get your attention today? OK, I admit I’m one of them. But think of all the advertisers, reporters, opinionators, broadcasters, webmasters, Tweeters, and even Facebook friends who are shouting and waving at you with their competing messages. There’s a surge of communication aimed precisely, constantly, at you.
And yet, in this ocean of noise, what may startle and attract you is quiet. The unusual person with a peaceful manner. The one who slows down and gives you unhurried eye contact, a genuine listening ear, a quiet space in conversation for discovery and new insight.
This experience of peacefulness is a rare gift today, as Wayne Muller observes in his book “How Then Shall We Live.” Muller writes, “If we are clear and present, if we are quiet and centered, then others may be nourished simply by our lack of agitation. The world is so agitated that to be in the presence of a single person who is at peace can feel remarkably healing, a great blessing.”
How do we become that rare, centered person — for our own spiritual growth and for the well-being of others?
At St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (341 Village Blvd., Incline Village, Nev., www.TahoeEpiscopal.org), we are cultivating and sharing the practice of peaceful centering through several weekday offerings. Each group is led by a facilitator and freely open to you: whatever your faith background, whenever you are able to come, at no cost.
Tuesdays, 6-7 p.m., you are welcome to join a study group that explores the essential meanings of “A Course in Miracles” through reading, discussion, and fellowship. This practice, which follows a text and lesson plan, is designed to bring each student more closely in tune with his or her spiritual nature. Each person moves through the course at an individual pace. The study group’s goal is to illuminate the material in such a way that you’ll receive the greatest benefit from your personal efforts.
Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m., starting May 8, we invite you to join a facilitator in the Chapel for interfaith prayer and quieting practices. These time-honored techniques of breathing, centering, and listening to the still, small voice within allow you to simply experience God’s presence in a place of calm. And then to bring this spiritual awareness into your daily life. The first Wednesday of each month we offer a service for health and recovery with Communion, open to all.
Thursdays, 12:15-1 p.m., consider taking part in the beauty of an ancient practice called Lectio Divina. This method of prayer is based upon slow, contemplative reading — a way to hear how sacred texts from many traditions are speaking to our hearts today. By entering a space of silence in a small group and listening carefully, we receive fresh understandings from a deep source.
What will you hear when you tune out the noise of the world? Come discover the power of peacefulness with us, within you.
Rev. Clare C. Novak, Associate for Interfaith Ministry, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Incline Village