I hope this email finds you well…? It is always delightful to hear that after so many years this Newsletter still means a great deal to some of you as a way of keeping in touch. And this time I would first like to remind you that we have an inclusive sacred service THIS Sunday, 19 April, in Sydney. If you are able to be with us, please make the effort to come. We can sometimes think, “Next time…”, yet virtually everyone leaves with a brighter smile and lighter step. The only effort involved is getting there! And the rewards can be long-lasting. This month we have exquisite music from Kim Cunio and Heather Lee. They spent some months in India last year with their young son, and I have been away for a couple of services this year, so it will be especially joyful for us to be back offering the service together. The address is Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church, Sydney. One block from Town Hall station. Nearest cross street is Park. For those of you who cannot get to Sydney, there are talks from past services available at this Interfaithinsydney LINK. We start promptly at 3pm. Tea and coffee available afterwards and you are more than welcome to send on this email invitation to anyone in your circles who might benefit from that kindness.
Next week I will be in Tasmania briefly, speaking at the Spiritual Care Australia conference, and giving a short workshop on spiritual practice. Do check if there are late or day-only places if this is of interest. Even more of you will be interested to know that the wonderful women at Kogarah Community Services have arranged for me to give a FREE evening workshop in Hurstville the following week (29 April) on MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION. This will be very practical and I think helpful to many. Please register at once if you are interested. Bookings are absolutely essential. You can use this LINK to book. And you know, just like the services, please don’t take for granted that there is an unceasing stream of such events! I will continue to lead services, but from late June when my WRITERS’ WORKSHOP ends, I am giving far fewer public events. I really do need more time for my writing and cannot juggle both to the extent that I have been, while also having time for family and loved ones. Please understand. Also, my very best work is in the books, audio books, meditation CDs… which I hope you continue to draw strength from. (Sometimes re-reading a book some years after your first reading will let you gain some invaluable insights you missed the first time…We need to be ready.)
The one big public event in the second half of 2015 will be the Spring Retreat at Mana Retreat Centre, 3 days starting 1 October, with an optional 3-day extension with increasing silence (and the deeper peace this brings). This has become increasingly popular and will definitely book out. It is an exceptional chance to grow and gain inwardly. If you feel at all drawn to it, please register early. This LINK on my own website gives you ample details, plus a booking link to Mana.
(The photo above is of the Sanctuary at Mana. The main buildings are a little further down the hill but you can see how exceptional the location is. “Awesome” is a true word in this instance!)
I want to leave you today with some words from Zen teacher of peace, Thich Nhat Hanh. They are so simple…yet are absolutely words to live by. I hope you will take them to heart, as I have.
Blessings to you all. And very special thoughts and prayers with any of you who may be suffering: we can be with you. Very kindest regards, very loving blessings, Stephanie Dowrick
(Links to Facebook, webpage etc at top of the page.)
From Thich Nhat Hanh
Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live so that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. Peace is present right here and now. The question is whether we are in touch with it. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
When you practise deep looking and master yourself, you dwell in peace, freedom, and safety. Looking deeply is the practice of love, compassion, joy and equanimity.
Look deeply, not just while on your meditation cushion but wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Recognize your deep desire to live in peace and safety.
Happiness is not an individual matter; it has the nature of interbeing. When you are able to make one friend smile, her happiness will nourish you also. When you suffuse your body and mind with feelings of the joy of meditation, your body and spirit will be strengthened.
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
24 brand new hours are before me.
I vow, to look at all beings through the eyes of compassion.
Feel free to forward this email to your own circles. Thank you for your continuing support of the work of the Universal Heart Network.