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Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Blowing on the Embers of the Heart

This is a guided meditation I developed several years ago, when I was asked by an Episcopal church group to lead a workshop on healing prayer in the Sufi and Christian traditions. This meditation centers on a spiritual practice that is found in both traditions.

Over the years I've presented this meditation in quite a few different contexts, including several church groups and Sufi circles, a Gay Spirit Visions conference, a Mary Magdalene workshop co-led with my friend Nancy Daniell, and a class on the Gnostic Gospels co-facilitated with my friend Carl McColman. I shared this meditation most recently with the Group of Unknowing, a discussion group that is part of the Emergent Christian Cohort here in Cobb County, Georgia. I'm honored that this meditation has also been used by the Magdalene Circle led by Betty Conrad Adam, author of The Magdalene Mystique: Living the Spirituality of Mary Today (click on the title to read my review of this wonderful book).

Here is the guided meditation, “Blowing on the Embers of the Heart.” Be sure to allow space for silence between each short paragraph.


I invite you to close your eyes and to be present to your breath, simply observing it.

[a brief silence]

Follow an in-breath all the way down, into your heart chakra – the domain of the heart.

As you continue to be present to your breath, allow yourself to open up to the boundless space in your heart.

Allow your breath to breathe into your heart center. The ancient Christian and Sufi mystics of the desert called this “blowing on the embers of the heart.”

Feel your heart center opening up, like a flower unfurling. Be present to whatever you experience in your heart center.

Experience the infinite nature of your heart: a vast, boundless void, what the Sufi mystic Ibn al-Arabi called “a sea without a distant shore.”

The Christian mystic Thomas Merton called this space “the center, the existential altar which simply is.” As Merton tells us, “Our inmost ‘I’ exists in God and God dwells in it.”

Allow yourself to feel the presence of the Divine Beloved. Allow yourself to open up to the infinite love, the infinite openness, the infinite healing presence in the domain of your heart.

As you prepare to open your eyes and return to our circle, allow your heart to remain open and boundless as we listen to each other share from our hearts.

The Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan said, “The heart kindled with love throws its light on all it sees.” May we allow that light from our hearts to illuminate us during this sacred time together.



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