DEVELOPING A PRACTICE OF
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN MEDITATION PRACTICE
A CHRISTIAN DHYANAM FROM THE EAST
"The main tenet of the Orthodox faith is the belief that salvation is by being united with Christ who is Isvara incarnate. By being united with Him, we are to grow into God's image by becoming more and more god-like in character, in love, in goodness and in wisdom. This process of transformation is called theosis or divinization." Paulos Mar Gregorios 1976
This is the purpose and intent for developing a personal practice of dhyanam according to the ancient Christian traditions. Every other week, there will be an opportunity to learn some of the different aspects and teachings about Christian Dhyanam that has been taught in the Eastern Churches in one form or another through the ages.
"The West separates action from contemplation, thought and prayer. For us it is in and from eucharistic worship that all action, contemplation and prayer derive their significance." Paulos Mar Gregorios
This Dhyanam is not a Buddhist form of meditation nor is it a form of Hindu Yoga, rather it is part of the continuum of the Christian prayer life that goes from outward ceremonies to inward awareness; from communal expressions to solitary refinement. But because we are all human beings, some of the experiences and exercises will seem similar to Buddhist meditation and to some Hindu Yogic practices. In fact, background in any of these forms might prove beneficial in developing a Christian – Christ-centered – practice. However, there are some key differences.
This is neither a New Age nor an Occult practice. Variations and distortions of Christian Dhyanam exist outside the Church as well as inside.
Can any Christian practice Dhyanam? Yes, as part of the discipline of our minds and hearts, all Christians can benefit. Accordingly, no one is excluded from the learning that desires to learn. This is a flexible and adaptable practice - not a dogmatic practice.
"Nor do we believe that believing in the right dogma is evidence of a true Christian. We put equal emphasis on the way of life, on the way of worship, on the way of disciplining oneself as on the way of thinking and belief." Paulos Mar Gregorios
Retreats are schedules throughout the year. Everyone is welcome. Please contact us for more information.
The retreats focus on basic instruction in developing a practice of Christian Dhyanam. Sometimes withing the context of a teaching theme. There is be ample opportunity for the practice of meditation and prayer as well. There will be incense. Please bring your own pillow.
One retreat format starts each session with Qawmo – a basic set of prayers that are also called Trisagion Prayers. Candles are be lit and incense is be burned. Then the basic instruction goes through these topics:
Simple Breathing and Relaxation
Postures and Prayers
Prayers and Mantras (including using prayer ropes or beads)
Incense, Candles and other accoutrements
Waiting on the Spirit
After instruction, there will be time for practice and questions. Then each session closes with Qawmo.
Although everyone is welcome, we need people to pre-register. There may be a small charge to cover costs, but no one is turned away and scholarships can be granted. Please register or get more information by calling (or emailing) Fr. John-Brian Paprock – (608) 236-9622
Links and Resources for Christian Dhyanam
Compiled by Fr. John-Brian Paprock
By Dr. Joseph Thomas, a Malankara Orthodox advocate of dhyanam and friend of Paulos Mar Gregorios (memory eternal!), who currently lives in the Chicago area and regularly travels to India.