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Activity 1: Wondering Ritual and Meditation
Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A gong, bell, or other musical noisemaker
Preparation for Activity
- Read the guided meditation aloud several times so you become comfortable with the words and the pauses.
Description of Activity
A brief guided meditation sparks participants’ thoughts about big questions and establishes an atmosphere conducive to the sharing ritual which follows.
Gather the group and ask them to sit comfortably, not touching anyone else, for a guided meditation. Ring the gong or bell. Then, read aloud in a calm, clear voice:
I invite you to close your eyes if you feel comfortable. Or, find a space on the wall or a special object to focus upon.
Now take a deep breath in, (pause) now let it out. Deep breath in(pause), deep breath out.
As you continue to breathe slowly in and out, imagine you are growing larger and larger so your whole being fills this room. (Pause) Growing larger still, you are now part of this whole building, with all its people and furniture and carpet and walls. (Pause) Growing even larger, you expand even more to include all the surrounding area, this neighborhood, the city, and as you grow and grow and grow, you are now as large as our state and country and now as big as the entire planet. (Pause) But still you grow and grow until you expand outward throughout the entire universe, growing larger and larger forever. (Long pause) Now feel yourself shrinking, slowly getting smaller … smaller … smaller … smaller … so small you are once again back in this building, here in this room with us.
Ring the gong or bell to invite participants to slowly exit the meditation. Then tell them, in these words, or your own:
The meditation you just experienced was similar to what our universe experienced during the Big Bang, a cosmic event some scientists believe started our existence. But no one knows for sure. Much of science is exploring truth starting with the unknown we wonder about.
Invite participants to call out “popcorn” style some things they wonder about. Sound the gong after each person offers a wonder statement.
Ring the gong to signal the end of sharing their wonderings. Invite reflection with questions such as:
- Do you have some of the same wonderings others called out?
- Could wondering about the meaning of life and the universe be a way of “seeking truth in love”?
- Do you think science or faith can better help you find answers to these questions? Why?
Including All Participants
Some participants will be more eager than others to share their wonderings in the group. Using the meditation to set a mood before the sharing time may encourage some participants who might otherwise hold back. Mention before the meditation that after the meditation the group will be sharing some of the amazing things we wonder about. This gives participants more time to consider what they will say. You might also remind the group that sharing is voluntary.