Pauline 14-02-2002

I was born into a very Catholic family, and I was a very devout Catholic probably until I was about 33. I went to a Catholic school, became a nun, I was a nun for 15 years, and then I got involved with the Ecumenical Institute, which opened up my world to much more than the Catholic world, and that was pretty exciting. To be more than just catholic.

And I came to were I became very disillusioned with the community of nuns that I lived with, because I felt like we were very narrow, focused too narrowly, we weren’t looking at the world issues in my opinion, and so I left. And I married a man, that you just interviewed, Rod, who was in the Ecumenical Institute also, and for a while I continued to go to the Catholic church, but he was a Methodist, so I started going to Methodist Church also, with him, and I just kind of grew away from the Catholic Church, that was way back in the late 70s. And the Church was still pretty rigid in my opinion, and conservative, and I just found myself not able to accept that anymore.

So I really spent 20 years, kind of just going for a while to the Methodist Church, I think for 7 years I went to the MC, and then my [inaudible] got burned out on being so busy busy busy, all the projects, all the programs, all the activities, and I never was very good at saying no.

Then I spent probably 15 years reading Zen, reading Buddhism, reading all the New Age stuff, just kind of searching and searching kind of what fit for me, in terms of spirituality, and trying various forms of meditation, and feeling like nothing was working, nothing really felt right.

And then about 3 years ago, I followed up on a invitation that I had been getting from a friend for years, to attend what’s called Centering Prayer, and I went to one of the meetings, and the CP is a contemplative form of prayer, the prayer is Rest in God in Silence. And I had tried many other different forms of meditation but I just never stuck with them, because I didn’t think I was doing it right, it wasn’t working for me, but I finally found that group of people, so because I had the support of the group and could talk to other people who were doing it, it helped me enormously, so that, for the last three years, has been the core of my spiritual life.

And I meditate twice a day for 20 minutes, morning and late afternoon. It’s kind of a restorative meditation in the afternoon, you know. And as a result of connecting with CP, I have reconnected with the CC, which I’m delighted to say, has changed a great deal in 20 years. And even though there are still parts of it that I don’t accept or like, I so much love the daily liturgy, the daily readings, the liturgical season, you know [inaudible] and Advent and all of that. So I think probably I’ll be there for the rest of my life, but… I will certainly be with CP for the rest of my life.

It was founded I think about 20 years ago, by some trappist monk, who noticed how many Catholic people were going to Zen, and to Eastern practices, and they said, you know we have an ancient tradition in meditation, in the CC. And so they refreshed it, and brought it into modern terminology, and began to teach the – it’s a very very simple little process, for meditation or contemplation, it’s called in the CC. It means prayer without words, resting. And so that, it’s been spreading across the world now, internationally, and there are also other movements of contemplative prayer, but I like this one a lot, because around San Diego county, for example, there are about 25 prayer groups, on various days of the week, we could go to anyone of them, and they’ve got wonderful educational material, to talk about the spiritual journey. So I found that very helpful, and I go every Monday night to a meeting where we have 20 minute’s prayer, and we visit all the videotapes and then have a discussion.

I would say, to my opinion, there’s a lack of awareness of what’s really important in life, and a frantic effort to do in order to have what we think we need, a fear of being quiet, of sitting still with ourselves, we feel that we kind of have to fill up the emptiness, because I think we really have lost the sense that we are one god.

I was gonna say the same, cause I think even with the religions the emphasis is on doing, you know, you have to do things to prove that you’re a good Christian and you’re a good this, or good that. I’m thinking mostly of the Christian religion when you’re saying mainstream, cause I don’t know that much about the other ones, but the Christian having so much emphasis on doing, and so little emphasis on the fact that we are loved, and that personal relationship with God, which enriches life, and would allow us to have some peace, and settle down, and have more time for one another, more time for relationships. That’s frantic walk of life.

Centering prayer, yoga, Sunday mass, daily scripture reading, and then other readings, other spiritual readings.

Like books, or… the contemplative outreach is the organization that has all this wonderful materials that I was mentioning before about the spiritual journey. Thomas Merton, beautiful writing, Thérèse of Lisieux, oh Gosh, The Power of Now… A variety of things that come across my path, I just can’t think of the names right now. Friends, big source, friends. The main source, books and friends.

Especially from CO, but also… yes, I would say that would be the main place.

An amazing story, very challenging, I feel contented now that I have found something that’s really really… right for me. After many many years of searching.

I think the power of love will win out. I think there’s a growing consciousness of our oneness, and sometimes I’m amazed at how it seems to be manifested, you know, I’ll be talking to somebody, and I’ll “Oh, wow! Look at that consciousness!” And I don’t know if that’s because it is Southern California and it’s the “in” thing, but I think I generally feel that the light force – light has to overpower darkness, love has to overpower hate people.

Oh yes. Well sometimes when life gets really difficult, it’s very hard to believe that God loves me, that I’m really really cared for, that the universe cares about my life. But I really just try to sit with that feeling and breathe, remind myself, here I am, I’m breathing, my heart’s beating, I have food, shelter… I guess kind of self-talk.

No. I don’t think I have a good sense of what that is, but the sense that I have, is that it’s sort of a do-it-yourself program, rather than a surrender to that which is greater than ourselves program. And that could be so wrong! And I’m sure that’s so simplistic! I don’t have a good sense of what really is New Age, but when I think of what it was in the early years, at least here in California, it was one of these, “you can have everything you want if you just think that you can have it,” you know, that sort of thing. Except what we mean by New Age, is something really shallow.

I don’t even have a clue what that means.

I haven’t used that term used. Alternative to what, I don’t know.

Maybe it would be more like the meditation…

Places… Yosemite, the ocean, maybe Grace Cathedral in San Francisco…

Snow Mass Monastery, Colorado, powerful energy there… I haven’t been there. Also Gethesemena… What else… I don’t think much about places being spiritual.

Really interesting question…incredible mountains, that sort of thing…

Probably, this might be one of them. I think that we are at a turning point in consciousness on the planet. Certainly the 13th century, you know, all that was going on then.

Awe. Joy, fear, mystery.

Delight, warmth, mother. The Goddess spirituality, that was one of the things I explored quite a bit. And I very much like to think about God as mother/father. I do find it helpful, even though I know God is not a person, but it helps me to think of God as having a personal interest.

Mother. Concern. I look at earth as very important to be connected with, in order to be spiritual. You have to keep your feet on the ground. One of my friends said that we’re here to connect earth and heaven, we need to have our head in the sky, and our feet on the ground.

Division, disconnection, pain…

Fascinating, and I find it frustrating because if I read one of those myths, I have a very hard time seeing the meaning behind it, you know. But I am very fascinated with it, and I love it when there’s somebody else to help me see what they’re talking about!

I like ritual very much, so it usually brings me a sense of joy about that. It’s enriching, expanding. Today is Ash Wednesday, so I went and put away all red things, and put out purple things around my apartment, to remind myself that [inaudible].


Joy, peace, protection.

A very blessed nation…

Well I think the freedoms that we have. But also I think that we’re very impoverished, cause we have so much material stuff and there’s so little emphasis on what to me really matters.

A blessing and a curse.

Just what’s happening…