Spiritual Growth & Practice

Offering spiritual companionship, reflection, contemplation and artistic expression of spirit, including writing and painting; a radical exploration of both Self and Other, engaging mind, heart, body and spirit to create self-awakening, self-empowerment and individual spiritual growth.

Sometimes we are quite naturally shy about our emerging spiritual lives. We may have spiritual wounds from the past when our natural instincts toward the spirit or religious world were not supported by family or friends. We often need privacy and confidentiality to heal spiritual wounds, and begin to create new relationships with the divine. The intimacy and depth of individual meetings can be affirming and helpful.

As an Interfaith Minister and spiritual teacher I have had experience teaching, mentoring, and providing individual spiritual companionship, support and guidance to our diverse community. Serving as a Hospice Chaplain and Chaplain Supervisor I have counselled individuals and families through their grief and helped them on their path. At the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, which I founded in 2002, I teach classes and workshops on interfaith spiritual practices.

We may worry about death.

But what hurts the soul most

Is to live without tasting

The water of its own essence.

~ Rumi

For spiritual seekers who feel a longing, and hear a calling. With prayer and intention, create your direct path of mystical education and spiritual practice, with meditation, spiritual guidance and encouragement. Your experience sifted through the heart becomes divine wisdom.

“Spirituality”, writes Brother Wayne Teasdale, “is profoundly transformative when it inspires in us the attitude of surrendering to the mystery. Spirituality is a contemplative attitude, a disposition to a life of depth, and the search for ultimate meaning, direction, and belonging.”

PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS are offered for people seeking the focus and intensity of individual spiritual work. Meetings begin and end with prayer or meditation, and offer either a chosen workshop topic and/or personal spiritual growth work and guidance, and can include art for expressions of spirit. Different Interfaith spiritual practices can be experienced and designed for use at home.

WORKSHOPS present both theory and practice, include meditation, art, music, body prayer, and are designed to provide a taste of a wisdom tradition, and to develop individual spiritual practice. Workshops are interactive, with presentations, discussions, art, poetry, music, and include handouts. Every workshop has Q & A, evaluation, and suggestions for follow-through. Two weeks after the workshop a follow-up email or telephone conversation is available at no charge. Awaken the sacred singing within and give it expression.

For scheduling call: 207-761-2522 or email: jacobw@gwi.net

 

Spiritual Practice

“You have to climb the stairs and rest your feet firmly on each step in order to reach the summit.” – Aurobindo

Spiritual practice describes both the conscious intention and the planned action to bring the spiritual, the transcendent, into the forefront of our lives, to create our lives around and as an integral part of the unseen yet all powerful spiritual realm.

Sometimes we are inspired towards spiritual practice by a teacher or a piece of inspirational writing, a powerful penetrating nugget of wisdom from the past. Sometimes a present-day personal crisis brings us to our knees; all else fails us and all we have left is the spiritual, some vague and fragile hope that there is something beyond this present depression and despair that will hold us like a tender and reassuring lover, who whispers endearments that offer tiny candlelights in the dark night of the soul, presaging the dawn. Unexpectedly, the whispers come from our own throat, emerge from our own mouths like an infant’s first sounds, at first perhaps unintelligible but such a clear sign of life! By thinking, breathing and speaking we become the creators of our own lives. “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” The Dhammapada

When asked how he felt in his spiritual practice, Hindu sage Ramakrishna replied, “I feel like a fish released from a pot into the water of the Ganges.” From a raindrop into a mighty flowing river, we have joined Creation, as modern mystic Andrew Harvey writes, “the ultimate adventure, claiming complete responsibility for our own spiritual development.”

When we are just novices with only a little understanding, we can know that when we enter into any kind of spiritual practice, we quickly join all those people, ancient and modern, ancestors and neighbors, who have themselves entered spiritual practice. Suddenly we are not alone, not separate in our despair, nor in our ecstasy, but together, part of a community of practitioners.

To practice means to engage regularly, to create an hourly or daily pattern of behavior, literally to act, to engage energy, whether it is interior or exterior energy. Just like practicing to play the piano, or tennis, regular spiritual practice builds skill and offers reassurance of our home in the Universe. I remember 40 years ago beginning to practice meditation early in the morning. I walked over to the “Little Kids’” building at Collins Brook School and sat on the sun warmed carpet. All the other times since then, from joining 1000 early risers in Rashneeshpuram, Oregon, to sitting on a Marin Headland’s cliff overlooking San Francisco, to sitting in solitude in a cabin on Great Duck Island, Maine, to these last years in the Chime office/classroom on Thursday mornings, a familiar grace and comfort are recreated as both my body and soul remember the peace and stability available, anytime, any place, no matter what else is going on.

Some spiritual practices are quite private: saying a mantra or the Rosary under your breath, imagining God inside you, beside you, creating a field of white light around you. Some are public: sitting with others in meditation, marching in protest, serving food to the hungry, praying together in a church congregation. Either form of spiritual practice is about change, outright and universal, acknowledging, waking up to the change going on, inside and out, and sharpening the conviction that we are also that which never changes. Christian contemplative Wayne Teasdale says spiritual practice is “the work of our transformation, and is ultimately about inner development that reaches fruition in selfless love, compassion, mercy and kindness.” These are the qualities that never change.

Through this conscious process of transformative spiritual practice, we become what we already are, mystical and enlightened beings.

Message from the Abbot, Jacob Watson

Message from the Abbot, Jacob Watson

Yellow, Orange and Red Sounds

The leaves are changing, and so is everything else all the time, always.

The leaves let us know by shouting out their loud yellow, orange and red colors.

When we begin a Chime class or workshop, we ring the Tibetan bowl: also loud, now fading, then gone forever.

We feel grief, and perhaps sweet tears come at the passing of the moment.

The leaves flare forth in brilliance, and then drift down, color by color.

The sound rings, fills the space, and then fades into silence.

How I feel about all the change – my natural emotion – comes and goes, moment by moment.

The wooden tree that creates the colorful leaves, the metal bowl that creates the sound,

and the flesh and bone body that creates the emotions all change, eventually wither and die away, and return into the earth.

 Color, sound and emotions come and go, come again, go again.

What tenderly embraces color, sound and emotions is Spirit: never changing.

Spirit is always present, always already permeating everything. Spirit indeed is everything; everything is Spirit.

Spirit holds every fall, every tone, and every sadness.

The leaves falling from the tree, the sound ringing from the bowl, the emotions feeling from the body, all give us their gifts

– and gifts they are – briefly in the precious present moment, then pass, pass away.

– Rev. Jacob Watson, Abbot, ChiME