Come to the living waters, you who are thirsty

‘Living Waters’ is a meditation program which has now been in existence in Newcastle for twenty years. What a wonderful, limitlessly evocative name! It’s a reminder that this program’s first home was in premises by the sea in Merewether. ‘Living Waters’: a source, a beginning, an endless flowing…

Sr Carmel Moore rsj has overseen the initiative over the past twenty years until recently when Anne Cuskelly took over the role of director. Activities now take place at 34 Kenrick Street, The Junction, with three weekly sessions: one on Monday at 6.30pm, Wednesday 7.45am and Friday 11am.

Sr Carmel maintains her long-held belief that the meditation programs offered are relevant, if not vital, in what seems to be an increasingly busy world. Participants come from widely varying backgrounds. Deriving benefit from involvement requires little more from a person than a desire to take a break from the everyday routines of life to try to find one’s true self; an impulse to find some inner peace; a yearning to discover some personal truths. For some it might be a particular crisis that has drawn them to the practice; for others, perhaps an urge to discover something spiritually meaningful or a great need to cope better with a physical illness by learning how to process thoughts and emotions with calmness and control.

After initiating the ‘Living Waters’ experience and remaining deeply committed to its smooth running, Sr Carmel is more confident than ever that its relevance will ensure its continuance well into the future. After all, meditation practices have been part of the Christian tradition from at least the third century and they have long been centred in other faith traditions. People down the ages have searched for that ‘still point’ in their lives, for the inner peace that comes from hearing the ‘still small voice’ emanating from the silence and sanctity [the ‘temple’] of one’s soul.

When asked the highlight of her long involvement with ‘Living Waters’ Sr Carmel unhesitatingly spoke of her joy at seeing people gather, “…learn in the silence of inner space” and, having found a measure of peace, “…light up with pleasure in the company of like-minded people” ready for the next step in life’s pilgrimage.

Most of us have become acutely aware of the accelerating pace of modern times; of the hurly-burly confronting us as we seek to negotiate a way through the various structures, schedules, appointments, bells, clocks and whistles that can become our bonds. Sadly, it seems to me, the marvellous technologies of our world which promise so much can lead to their misuse. In particular, it saddens me to see vulnerable children held willing captives by technology while their unwitting ‘real selves’ are, ironically, left to wander outside the digital cage.

In many lives, it seems, there is a need, whether clearly realised or not, to stop and set aside some precious ‘me’ time; time to let the living waters flow; time to grasp a little of what St Augustine taught – ‘know your self and let that knowledge become your stepping stones to God’.

Sr Carmel is to be congratulated for her expertise, zeal and dedicated involvement with “Living Waters”.

An event will be held on Saturday 4 November at the Parish Centre, 25 Farquhar Street, The Junction, from 9.30 am till noon. All are welcome to this twenty-year retrospective celebration and information session. Email Anne or call 0407 436 808.

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John Murray

John is a member of the Aurora Editorial Team.

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