Background

avatar0713My name is Michelle Murrain. I have a passion for contemplative practice, and I have wanted to share that passion with others for a long time.

Contemplative practice, in a variety of forms, has transformed my life. I am able to be much more present with the challenges of life, and more open to the presence of joy, which I have found happens surprisingly often. Even in the midst of despair, contemplative practice has allowed me to see that ray of sunshine, that ray of God’s love and spirit, peeking in, even when everything seems grey.

 

In the inner stillness, where meditation leads, the Spirit secretly anoints the soul, and heals our deepest wounds. – St. John of the Cross

I was raised a mainline Protestant, and became a Nazarene for a time as a young adult. Although eventually, I left that behind, that involvement in the holiness tradition exposed me to a kind of way of living life very close to God. I sometimes felt totally soaked in God’s love. That part of it was extraordinary.

The gospel requires a radical openness and compassion that are beyond the capacity of the anxious, fear-ridden ego. – Cynthia Bourgeault

In 1990, started a Buddhist meditation practice in the Theravadan tradition, which I started because, basically, I was suffering. I had a tough childhood, and as a young adult felt really alienated from myself and everyone else. With that practice, I learned so much about myself and ways to live differently. After about 10 years of practice, I realized that I missed the tradition that had formative authority for me, and so I slowly made my careful way back to Christianity, even while maintaining my Buddhist practice. When I went to seminary in 2005, I discovered a huge, deep wellspring of Christian contemplative tradition that had been unknown to me. It changed my life, again. It brought me back to a closer relationship with God, and allowed me to express love and compassion for myself and others in ways I had not been able to before. I was able to listen to God’s voice, and act from a place of love more often than ever before.

It is, in my opinion, a tradition that will benefit anyone who wants to cultivate love and compassion, and cultivate their relationship with the Divine. 

Compassion, the love of life and the love of people—these are difficult things to comprehend and to attain. It takes a great deal of inner cultivation to attain real love and real compassion. It takes also a new conception about the relevance of beauty and the marvel and mystery of everything that exists. – A. J. Heschel

It started with the Desert fathers and mothers, lived on within the Eastern Orthodox tradition, as well as what was, for a long while, simply “The Church.” After the Reformation, the contemplative tradition lived on in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and to some extent Anglican traditions, but was completely lost in the Protestant tradition (except, of course, for the Quakers, who have their own rich contemplative tradition.)

The goal is nothing short of transformation. Transformation for ourselves, our relationships, and eventually, our relationships with everyone we meet. The practice is designed to open the wellspring of our hearts to the Spirit of Life, who is ready, in Love to assist us in every moment.