I remember attending a church as a 19-year-old, where I sang on one of the worship teams. I didn’t fit in very well, (a bit of a hippie, really). It called itself a “seeker church” as many churches do, but even then, I found something interesting about the description. Namely, that the folks on the teams and many of the core attendees, saw themselves less as seekers, and more as space holders for a place in which seekers might find.
For my part, maybe why I didn’t fit in very well, is because deep down, I was a seeker, through and through.
Prior to that church experience, I co-formed a church with some friends, called The Church of the Wayward Brethren. The liturgy consisted of passing a bottle around on the beach of our local lake, and read the Bible. We thought we were pretty subversive.
Looking back, what unfolds in my memory is a sequence of trial and error attempts at going deeper without ever looking like I didn’t have the answer.
Then, eventually, came the “lucky dark”. And everything changed. I began to give myself permission to openly seek for Divine revelation. Which led me to the Christian mystics, which led me to practices within that lineage, like lectio divina, centering prayer, chanting the Psalms, walking with awareness of my foot arches, connecting with the earth.
Some of my most beloved teachers are so effective, because they have made it their life’s work to seek. And they aren’t seeking to be rebellious and irresolute for the sake of it. What they are doing is holding vigil for where resonance and the thrumming of the deep, is quivering, in no matter how unlikely a place.
For what might be seen, if we have eyes to see
Tasted, if we have tongues to taste.
Heard, if we have ears to hear.
Felt, if we are embodied enough for our arm hairs to bristle.
When Noel Keating approached me about recording a children's meditation album with him, he sent me his book, Meditation With Children. When I read the book, I was initially and utterly taken in by two things. First, that the many children introduced to centering prayer meditation authentically discover an interiority to themselves that is very mysterious and rather remarkable. Second, that Noel Keating is the type of grown-up who seeks… for those places or people who might reveal deeper revelations, that help us long for the great Mystery to come very near to us.
In Noel’s book, he includes the quote by Madeline Simon, that children are “born contemplatives”.
Her observation not only really struck me as something so very true, but made me see my children and other children I know, and my own inner-child, as little teachers, even as I must be the grown-up, and guide and care for them.
Yesterday, the Meditation With Children album launched worldwide on my website, so I’ve been pondering what is so resonant about the project, for me. I think it is that the album was made with a seeker’s vigilance, inspired by a book that was written by someone with a seeker’s heart, who sensed in the children that they too have seeker's hearts. And that although the album is a good resource for children, it also has something to teach grown-ups who are open to learning and trusting that revelations emerge out of unexpected places. And that meditation was the catalyst, and is for everyone.
The song for this Sunday, is Hope Beyond all Hope, from the new album, with new lyrics I wrote for the children.
I'm looking at the evening sky
Stars twinkle secrets through the night
This whole universe, (and you, and I)
Were born to breathe the breath of God
4/29/2019 11:21:24 am
That the children can learn centering prayer, especially in the mystical, receptive, seeking traditions, is truly remarkable as it is wonderful. May your music, as it emerges from the mystical source, inspire the children to draw closer to the Mystery.
5/3/2019 12:31:50 am
Dear Alana, just a little note to say how much my husband and I appreciate your Sunday Ruminations, and indeed ALL your wonderful and inspired ministry. I am thinking about using the latest album with a group of adults to introduce them to meditation. There are about 21 of them from the Anglican Benefice in Yorkshire UK. They are elderly churchgoers, most of whom do not really have a felt sense of connection with God, but who are beautiful, kind souls, and totally committed to their little country church congregations. I was asked by the rector to do something for Lent and this group turned up to a weekly contemplative meeting for 6 weeks, which included eating a meal together. It has had a remarkable effect on them and they have asked the Rector to request that I do a regular monthly contemplative meeting. I thought this album for children would be such a wonderful and gentle way to help them enter the bigger field of universal consciousness through the practice of meditation. I also intend to purchase for my daughter and daughter-in-law to try with our 8 grandchildren. I'll let you know how we all get on!! Thanks again.
12/14/2022 04:03:28 pm
I enjoyed reading your poost
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Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.