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November 10, 2010
‘El camino de la meditación: Momento de Cristo’ (The Path of Meditation: Moment of Christ) by John Main
By Marcela Álvarez www.tintafresca.us
Quintero Center dedicates sculpture to long-time supporter
By: KEVIN MILLIKEN
El Tiempo Staff Writer
The practice of meditation is often associated with the spiritual disciplines of the East. But meditation, which originated in Vedic Hinduism, is also found in the Christian tradition. In the last years, it has become mainstream in Western culture. What is meditation? Why do we meditate? How can we benefit from it? Published for the first time in Spanish, ‘El camino de la meditación: Momento de Cristo’ (Convivium Press, $18.99), is one of the most influential works by John Main. According to him, the book can help us search for, and find, the answers in the name of Christ. It is based on Communitas, a series of live talks Main gave in the last years of his life. Thus, is not a continuous narrative, in fact it can be approached alternately. Written in a simple style, the book is a source of spiritual nourishment and enlightment that can bring the reader closer to the practice of meditation. The message is clear: our salvation lies in the hands of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Divided in 34 easy-toread-and-follow chapters (The Path to Mantra, The peace of Christ, The Path to Eternity, Original innocence, among others), this 159 pagebook encourages us to begin the path of meditation and to persevere on our journey of silent prayer, peace and tranquility. Main believed that meditation, as a way of tolerance and compassion, “builds a bridge of the spirit between peoples of different faiths, between rich and poor, and between all those suffering conflict of division.” What is meditation? Meditation, says Main, is the suppression of thought and image, leaving distraction behind. The repetition of a short phrase facilitates the
mantra and the concept of the poverty of spirit throughout prayer. Silence is the best preparation for meditation and it can be done in 20 or 30 minutes a day, in private. Meditation involves imageless and silence prayer through repetition of a mantra: Maranatha. No matter our religion, faith or beliefs, we all need a mantra, says Main. That magic word “centers the whole subject in the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit.” The book is filled with helpful advice and deep, spiritual insight. Its beautiful message will serve anyone, or any group, wishing to get closer to God and Christ through the practice of meditation. About the author John Main was a Benedictine monk, born in London in 1926. Without a doubt he is one of the greatest modern sages of prayer,
having devoted his time and life to bring Christian meditation to the world. In 1975, he opened the first Christian Meditation Center at his monastery in London, and later in Montreal. He rediscovered Christian Meditation in the 20th Century and proposed it to contemporary women and men seeking sense and inspiration in their lives. During his youth, while living in Asia, he met his spiritual teacher, a Hindu Monk named Swami Satyananda, who transmitted him the technique of Hindu Meditation. Later, Main discovered that similar practices existed in Christian tradition. He died of cancer in December 1982, at his monastery in Montreal. For more information on ‘El camino de la meditación: Momento de Cristo’ and/or other books, please visit www.tintafresca.us
People who drive by the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center now will see a sculpture twisting skyward in a community garden—a loving thank you for one of the center’s biggest supporters. That supporter, Barbara Winter, expressed visible surprise, then began to cry when the red metal sculpture was revealed in the waning sunlight. She hugged the artist responsible for the piece, Richard Maurer—a center board member and owner of Maurer Metals in Delta. “I’ve never been so pleasantly surprised, ever. I’m amazed, it’s the nicest thing these folks have done for me,” said Ms. Winter, still choking back tears of happiness several minutes after the ceremony. “I believe in what they’re doing here and I support it in as many ways as I can.” “She’s our biggest fan and has always believed in our center,” said Dora Lopez, board president of the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center (SQACC). “She’s contributed in so many ways, not only financially, but she believes in us and makes it to all of our events and she’s just a wonderful person. This is more than a thank you. This is ‘we love you and you’re a part of our family.’” The center’s board of directors unveiled the sculpture, “Metaphysical Personification”, just before the center’s 14th annual Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) celebration. The board decided a permanent sculpture in one of the center’s seven community gardens would be a good, permanent way to honor Ms. Winter’s many contributions. “It’s a landscape of the soul,” explained Maurer. “The idea behind it is we all have a path through life that gets us to some goal, ultimately. It’s always a meandering line—there’s no one true trajectory for anybody.” The sculpture spirals skyward, which Maurer explained represents one’s “spirit lifting, moving.” He pointed out the sculpture also points downward, symbolism that “we must remain grounded.” “Hopefully people are just inspired by its electricity, its energy,” said Maurer. “If nothing else, it’s a good conversation
piece. Potentially, it may inspire some young artists.” Ms. Winter also attended the Dia de los Muertos fundraiser, along with dozens of other supporters, filling the center to near-capacity Saturday evening. Ms. Lopez constructed an altar honoring the memory of her departed family members at the center. Seven other such altars were set up across the street at La Galeria de las Americas for attendees to view. My Hacienda and OK Patron catered the event, while the crowd was entertained with the Spanish-language love songs performed by guitarist Miguel Saucedo. Concepcion “Connie” Trevino Eason also read an original poem she wrote about Dia de los Muertos. “It’s part of a long cultural tradition that originates with the Mexicans and the Aztecs prior to them,” explained Ms. Lopez. “It’s a combination of their beliefs, incorporated with Catholicism when the Spaniards came seeking gold. They discovered the Aztec traditions and thought it was a little odd, some of the things they were doing. So they tried to change them and incorporate some of their beliefs based in Catholicism. The Aztecs, the indigenous people held fast to their beliefs, so it became a blending.” The use of skulls and skeletons as symbols in the altars honoring departed family can be misconstrued by people as something related to Halloween. But Ms. Lopez explained that such symbols were seen by the ancient Aztecs as representing both life and death, a positive belief. Photographs, favorite foods, flowers, and favorite belongings
are incorporated into the altars as another means of honoring the dead. “The belief is that for one day, the spirit allows these people to come back to earth and be with their loved ones,” Ms. Lopez said. “So this is just sort of a welcome back home. You can reminisce and celebrate their life rather than mourning their death.” Visitors can still view the Dia de los Muertos altars at La Galeria, 1224-1226 Broadway, through November 19. The altars can be seen 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. The display also features “El Pueblo”—the depiction of an Aztec village being revisited by dearly departed loved ones. However, Kirsten Snodgrass, an artist who designed the pueblo-themed display, set in modern times along the Broadway corridor—with banks and storefronts and even a fiesta scene. Skeletons are scattered throughout the display, depicting the dearly departed who returned for the day, according to the original beliefs of Dia de los Muertos. “The whole idea behind the funny and playful use of skeletons is to say we’re not afraid of death,” said Ms. Lopez. La Galeria’s display will be changed over the Thanksgiving holiday to feature Christmas in LatinAmerica, which will feature displays and artwork by SQACC executive director Joe Balderas and Ms. Snodgrass. The next “First Friday” event will feature the same theme at the center, to be held on Friday, December 3 at 6 p.m.
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