Mystic Heart Leaders to Offer Christian Meditation & Tibetan Teachings


Week Four of the Mystic Heart Meditation program will be led by husband and wife Ron and Rebecca Cole-Turner, and Mateo Mortellaro, president of Snow Lion Dharma Work.

The Cole-Turners will hold daily meditation sessions from 7:15 to 8 a.m. in the Presbyterian House Chapel, and from 12:30 to 1:55 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Hall of Missions.

Mortellaro will be holding daily sessions from 8:15 to 9 a.m. in the Presbyterian House Chapel. Subagh Singh Khalsa leads Sikh Dharma meditation from 5:15 to 6 p.m. Monday in Hurlbut Sanctuary.

The Cole-Turners will hold Christian meditation sessions — moments of quiet reflection in which one can enhance their spiritual growth and listen for what some call “their own inner voice,” or what others believe to be a voice from heaven. To help, some use a mantra to deepen the silence around them.

“I hope that (Chautauquans) are able to quiet their minds and go deeper within, to discover and rediscover the God of their own beliefs,” said Rebecca Cole-Turner, Minister at Smithfield United Church of Christ in Pittsburgh.

Ron Cole-Turner, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and a professor of theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said Chautauqua is a place of continuous conversation, “but, it’s also important that we learn to listen, not to someone with a microphone, but to the ‘still, small voice’ from our own hearts, perhaps, or a voice that comes to us from beyond.”

In addition to the daily meditations, Rebecca Cole-Turner will lead a session Tuesday on Thomas Merton, an American Trappist monk who spent much of his time — increasingly as he aged — writing and praying. At the time of his death in 1968, he had written over 70 books.

“I thought it would be a nice complement to focus on the life, theology and the spirituality of this man,” Rebecca Cole-Turner said.

Ron Cole-Turner holds an afternoon session Tuesday on the Taizé experience. Taizé is a small town in France in which the Reformed Christian Brother Roger Schutz established a religious order of brothers who pray and practice hospitality.

“(Hospitality) was a magnet for people … particularly for the young people in the ashes of World War II,” Ron Cole-Turner said. “That community simply attracted people. By the thousands, young people were coming and spending a few days or a week in Taizé.”

As more young people came, prayers were sung and eventually became chants. Ron Cole-Turner will hold a 30-minute Taizé service on Thursday, followed by a 10-minute silence.

In addition to the Cole-Turners, Mortellaro will continue his sessions from Week Three into Week Four, guiding Chautauquans through an old Tibetan text, called The Eight Verses of Training the Mind, by the Karmapa Geshe Langri Thangpa. One or two verses will be gone through each day, and some days will include walking meditation, Mortellaro said.

“It’s very easy to sit in a room with like-minded people in silence and think of love and compassion, but my meditation should not be the only meditation they do,” he said. “My sessions are teachings; instructions on how to practice on your own. Meditation should be done all the time. You should be thinking of love, and be patient with people in worldly life, not just here. So, I hope that people become practical about their practice and see that love and compassion have a lot of basis for helping oneself, the practitioner of those values.”
Tags : religion
AnaBella Lassiter

The author AnaBella Lassiter

AnaBella Lassiter is a rising senior at Penn State Behrend in Erie, where she’s studying English with a focus in professional writing and history. She also serve as the Arts & Entertainment editor of her school’s paper, the Behrend Beacon. She is eager to report on the afternoon lectures for The Chautauquan Daily. When she’s not writing, she is walking her dachshund or rereading Wuthering Heights for the 30th time.