Meditation, according to Unity, is a critical element in the process of communicating with God. Unity services always include time for both prayer and meditation. Prayer comprises the element of speaking to God, while meditation is the technique utilized to listen to God. Meditation can consist of either silent meditation or guided meditation. Becoming effective at meditation takes time and practice whichever meditation format one chooses.
Unity Atlanta North Church will be sponsoring a unique interfaith meditation service from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., allowing participants to learn about and practice four culturally diverse meditation approaches. Practitioners of three diverse traditions (Sufi, Buddhist, Quaker) will share their spiritual paths. A love offering will be gathered during the service.
- Mary Ann Downey began her life as a Quaker 30 years ago. As a member of the Atlanta Friends Meeting, she has embraced the faith’s precepts and works to share them. As Director of Decision Bridges, she designs and teaches courses on the Quaker decision process to Quaker and non-Quaker adults and students.
- Danny Sternhas pursued spiritual studies for the last 21 years under Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan. An interest in using music and rhythm to heal led Danny to study the spiritual music of Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East, resulting in workshops using various Sufi techniques and traditions of the meditative sciences, physical exercise, mystical dance, and music.
- Geshe Ngawang Phendewas born in Nepal in 1968. As a young boy he entered Drubthob Rinpoche’s monastery in Nepal where he received his initial monastic training. At 12, he joined Drepung Loseling Monastery in India, where he completed his monastic education and passed the Geshe Lharampa examination. Geshe Phende then attended Guymey Monastery for further Tantric studies. He was the resident teacher at the Lam Rim Tibetan Buddhist Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, for nearly 4 years, and has been on the Mystical Arts of Tibet tour twice.
Unity North Atlanta Church is located at 4255 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta, Georgia 30066 (phone at 678-819-9100). The church campus is located in the Atlanta suburb of East Cobb. Take I-75 North from Atlanta to Exit 276A – Canton Road (5 Spur) going north. At the first light, turn right onto Sandy Plains Road. Follow Sandy Plains for approximately 6.7 miles. The church is located on the left side of the road. Make a U-turn at the next intersection.
For residents of Columbus, Georgia, who seek a spiritual community that supports the utilization of various cultural forms of meditation techniques, the following five Unity churches are also within driving distance:
- Unity of Albany (GA) – approximately 75 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 178 Hugh Road, Leesburg, GA. Phone: (229) 435-1001.
- Unity of Montgomery (AL) Spiritual Center – approximately 77 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 1922 Walnut Street, Montgomery, AL 36106. Phone: (334) 263-1225.
- Unity in the Heart of Georgia (Byron, GA) – approximately 78 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 127 Peachtree Parkway #701, Byron, GA. Phone: (478) 737-7537.
- Unity South Atlanta Church (Jonesboro, GA) – approximately 84 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 10 a.m. on Sundays is 7541 Mt. Zion Boulevard, Jonesboro, GA. Phone: (404) 578-3033.
- Unity of Dothan (AL) – approximately 90 miles from Columbus, GA. Address for services at 11 a.m. on Sundays is 942 South Oates, Dothan, AL 36301. Phone: (334) 794-2840.
Helpful aids focusing on learning to meditate utilizing Unity principle are available through Unity’s website. The “Unity Prayer and Meditation Kit” ($24.95) includes the text A Practical Guide to Prayer and Meditation, a CD of music designed for meditation, as well as other items to enhance your early experiences with meditation. The most popular Unity aid for meditation is the Daily Word, a subscription publication ($14.95 in magazine format or online) which provides a scripture-based meditation for each day of the year.
Other resources for those seeking to engage in meditation can be purchased from Amazon. They include: (1) “Meditations for Enhancing Your Immune System,” an audiobook by Bernie Siegel, MD ($8.76); (2) “Meditations for Finding the Key to Good Health,” an audiobook by Bernie Siegel, MD ($9.31); (3) “Meditations for a Miraculous Life,” a 2-CD set by Marianne Williamson; and (4) The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Deepak Chopra and David Simon ($9.32 in paperback).
Finally, for those wishing to investigate the scientific aspect of meditation, the following book is available from Amazon: How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist, by Andrew Newberg, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman ($10.88 in paperback). The science presented complements the aspects of meditation presented by Unity and serves as awesome reinforcement for incorporating meditation as a daily practice in one’s spiritual life.