Yes and no. The short answer is don’t worry about it too much. Sitting quietly doing nothing is fine. The terms contemplation and meditation are often used inter-changeably. But they are different ways of being open to God. Imagine being shown a picture: If you meditate on the picture you actively engage your mind, imagination, and perception. What is the subject? How was it painted? How does it affect you? What might the artist have intended? If you contemplate the picture you just sit and gaze at it, allowing it to ‘speak’ to you however it may. So in contemplation we just ‘are’ before God with the four ‘S’s: Stillness, Silence, Simplicity, Surrender. See our page ‘A Brief Introduction to Contemplative Prayer’
Belonging to a group of people who meet regularly to pray in silent contemplation can be a great help and encouragement. We do not feel isolated. Prayerful silence is greatly helped when two or three gather together, and this complements our daily personal prayer.
Some find the discipline of a regular meeting easier to manage than trying to find a time to be silent at home.If we are having problems with our praying, sharing them can help us grow through them. The Julian Meetings provide these opportunities, and exist to foster the practice and teaching of contemplative prayer.
The regular meeting with others who value the prayer of silence can facilitate a very deep spiritual bond. This is difficult to describe until experienced!
A meeting has only one purpose, which is to share the experience of contemplative prayer together and to promote The Julian Meetings aims and objectives. We do not get involved in other causes and activities, be they social, political or charitable. Individual members may be active in other areas but this is an individual matter. This is the ‘Single Pointedness’ listed in the attributes of the Ideal Julian Meeting.
We feel this is one of the major attractions of a Julian Meeting. We can leave all our other cares and concerns and simply rest in God together.
People usually take it in turns to open and close the silence. There is no formal leadership or set formula. Some might not want to lead and that is fine.
Esssential administrative work, arranging a venue, publicity, responding to enquiries and so on is usually, but not necessarily, done by the Meeting First and Second Contacts. (We require two contact persons for registration). These are appointed by the meeting.
However, each meeting will make their own organisational arrangements.
See the ‘Start a Meeting’ page for more information and resources about Meetings
“Nothing” is the short answer. We are not affiliated to any particular faith tradition, church, doctrine or dogma. We do not teach any particular method of meditation or contemplative prayer.
Participants will belong to a variety of faith traditions and have a variety of personal beliefs.
We encourage people to find out what is right for them; to discover how they can integrate contemplation and meditation into their daily prayer life and how personal and contemplative prayer and meditation can enrich each other.
We offer various resources to help along the way and each person will no doubt have their own advice to offer. Just ask!
Just remember that an individual’s opinion is their own and not indicative of any official opinion of The Julian Meetings.
Julian Meetings are open and ecumenical. Everyone is welcome if they are willing to respect the Christian context. Some belong to a Church, some don’t.
Julian Meetings vary and are free to do things in their own way. A brief reading, not necessarily from Scripture, and/or a short piece of music leads into a period of silent contemplative prayer. The leader will signal the end of the silence with another short reading and/or music.
The main requirement for a Julian Meeting is that there should be a substantial period of silence. The most usual length is 30 minutes. It should not be less than 20 minutes and can be as long as the meeting decides. This is not interrupted in any way.
At the end of the silence there is usually a time for tea and coffee and conversation for those who want this.
Waiting upon God; listening for God; opening ourselves to God; responding to the invitation to meet God in silent awareness. Perhaps the best description is prayer of the heart. In contemplative prayer we seek to be aware of the presence of God and to remain silently and attentively in that presence, completely open to God. The Julian Meetings do not teach any particular method but we do offer some guidance. See our website and shop for details.
We have a very loose attitude to defining membership. Lots of people belong to a meeting but have no contact with the wider network. We have ‘lone’ or solitary Julians who do not belong to a meeting. Some just follow us on facebook, twitter, instagram or our blog. The best way to be known as a member and to keep in touch is to subscribe to our magazine. This is free.
Anyone can start a Julian Meeting. See the About Starting a Meeting page on our website for information and resources.
A Julian Meeting is a small group of people who meet regularly to practise Christian Contemplative Prayer and Meditation. The meeting will consist of a brief reading, at least 20 minutes silence, a closing reading and usually refreshments.