Listening into Life
In the hustle and bustle of our world we are often speaking and debating, doing and producing. There are few places inviting us to “listening” as a primary posture through which all life flows.
Committed to contemplation, we practice deep and generous listening awakening the fullness of life. We seek the wisdom, connection and newness of life that come from the “pregnant pause” of listening. We desire to grow our capacity to listen well into life so we may live in harmony with its source.
The life spaces where we listen
We listen into the quiet
Into the space between words, into long pauses, and into silence.
We listen to ancient wisdom
To the lived stories and sacred teachings passed down for generations, offering the kind of wisdom that is born out of desert places and has endured the test of time.
We listen to our own inner spaces
To the sensations within our own bodies, the chatter of our minds, the longings of our hearts, the stirrings of our inner being, and the inner voice that knows us better than we know ourselves.
We listen to each other
We listen with heart, curiosity, and wonder as the other is invited to speak out of a silent reflection on their life, from the stirrings of their heart, and the nudges of the spirit that move within and among us.
We listen to the natural world
Noticing and tending to its beauty, its ways, its wisdom, and its complex symphony, which show us the abundance of life that flourishes. We appreciate its organic presence, care, and support for all life.
We listen to the social climate
Becoming aware of its powerful influences on our human condition, and noticing where support is given and harm done to the wellbeing of individuals, majority and minority groups.
In all of our listening, we listen to the Spirit
Which is present in all situations, breathing life into all things, calling from deep within ourselves and continually inviting us homeward.
In Selah open space for our souls to breathe and offer generous space to each other. Selah is open to anyone interested in exploring contemplation. We welcome all cultures, races, colors, genders, religious and sexual orientations. There is no experience necessary, only the curiosity to explore what resonates with your soul.
Making Room for Each Other
For a safe and inviting space we follow guiding principles for our gatherings.
Invitation and Welcome
- The Heart of Invitation: Everything we do is invitational. The option to decline is always present, with no pressure. Come as you are and choose for yourself when and how to participate. This is a place of rest so there are no requirements, obligations or pressures.
- A Welcoming Presence: Presume that you are welcome and extend welcome to others. Be present for yourself and others. Have a welcoming presence to all that you are and bring, and all that the others are and bring.
- Make space for silence. Slow down and pay attention to what is happening and the voice of your own soul.
- Embrace difference, embrace the other: Listen with an open mind to another’s experience.
- Generous listening, compassionate inquiry: Be sensitive and curious about the other. Seek understanding and clarity instead of fixes and solutions.
- Pause before speaking.
- Speak from a place of personal experience: Speak from your lived experience and let others speak from theirs.
- When your experience in the group is troubling, hold a willingness to stay in the tension with open wonder: Turn from reaction and judgment to curiosity and compassionate inquiry. Be open to learning from the experience with “soft eyes.”
- Observe confidentiality: We trust that our words and stories remain with the people with whom we share and are not passed on without our permission. We are free to express the insights we gain from listening to others without violating their privacy.
Christ is the name many of us use to name the spirit within us that joins us to God. Rooted and grounded in love, shaped within the Christian tradition while accompanying those who wander through other faith expressions, Selah nurtures those who seek spiritual companionship on the journey of life.
Christ as Universal
We experience Christ as universal and from beyond the universe, connecting us to the source of life, which is the unnamable, but for which we still use the name God, among other names. Take, for example, the first words of the Gospel of John speaking of the Christ named as “the Word”:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God, they were with God in the beginning. Through them all things were made, without them nothing was made that has been made. In them is life, and that life is the light of humankind. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.”
Listen also to the poetry of Joseph Plunkett (1887-1916) as he speaks about the Christ.
I See His Blood Upon the Rose
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds are but his voice
and carven by his power rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.
We draw from these and similar teachings that ring true as they resonate with our being.
Dispersed Far and Wide
Selah is a dispersed community, spread from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona to Florida to New Hampshire to Switzerland. Together, we journey as companions. Selah joins a growing international movement centered on contemplative living.
The Selah community is concentrated in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, where we often gather in person. But the Selah community has spread far and wide. Video connections have facilitated pockets of online communities held together by our shared interest in contemplation.
The joy of being dispersed is that we are spreading, expanding and extending. The challenge is staying connected. Consider the following avenues for staying connected to grow and support each other in contemplative living.
Avenues for Connection
Online Every Friday from 10-11am
Kairos opens up space to encounter oneself, one another, and the spirit of God.
We begin with a gentle invitation to ease into a fuller presence with yourself, God, and others. Then a contemplative theme, practice, art, or music is presented by someone in the community. Following the brief presentation there will be time for personal reflection and/or breakout groups will be formed for sharing and discussion. We will come back together as the larger group for concluding remarks to end our time together. Every part of the online gathering is optional, presented as an invitation. You can choose to leave your camera off, stay in personal reflection or be known, interact and join in the sharing of a breakout group.
Use our contact form to request the link for Kairos Mornings.
(Kairos mornings have been hugely popular. If Friday mornings do not work for you, let us know if you are one of those who would be interested in an evening or weekend Kairos gathering. We will let you know if and when a second Kairos gathering gets formed.)
Search “Kairos” in the Events Calendar for the next Kairos event.
Meeting monthly in a Host’s Home
Gathering Hubs facilitate in-person contemplative community for a specified geographical region.
Gathering Hubs cultivate a space to reawaken our deeper presence with God, experience contemplative practices together, share in our experience of life and practice and find support for contemplative living. But also, Gathering Hubs have become a launching point for other special interest groups to form locally, such as:
- weekly or biweekly soul-care groups
- accompanied-practice groups
- nature-walk groups
- book-discussion groups
- and wellness groups
all with an emphasis on deeper listening through contemplation.
Go to the Events Calendar to find the next Gathering Hub meeting, typically on the second Monday of the month (search “Gathering Hub”). If this is your first time, contact the organizer through the email provided to find out more.
(Currently there are two areas in the Puget Sound region of Washington state that meet monthly as in-person (and hybrid) Gathering Hubs. One is meeting in Edmonds and drawing people from Everett to Seattle. The other meets in Gig Habor and draws people from Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula.)
Search “Gathering Hub” in the Events Calendar for the next Gathering Hub event.
Small groups of 6-10 people for deeper friendships to grow in shared contemplative life
These smaller groups meet in someone’s home. They are intended to develop lasting relationships on the contemplative journey and to help establish a regular rhythm of contemplative practice.
For many of us, our Soul-Care group is where we find our closest friends in the community. Some Soul-Care Ggroups begin with a shared meal, others with simply sharing a soothing hot or cold drink. Then we enter into sacred space with what we affectionately call “a Selah moment”, which is intended to invite us into deeper awareness and connection to our own hearts and the spirit of God. Following the Selah moment groups may go in different directions depending on the culture of the group. Some gather to share a contemplative practice every time. Others practice silent stillness together. Others discuss contemplative themes. Others share from reflective spaces in their lived experience. Some do a little bit of everything.
Search “Soul Care” in the Events Calendar for the next Soul Care group.
Accompanied Practice Groups
For cultivating a particular contemplative practice together
Accompanied Practice Groups are formed by a practicing facilitator to learn, encourage and support the regular practice of a particular form of contemplative prayer or meditation. It could be focused on one of our core contemplative practices (Breathing Prayer, Examen of Consciousness, Lectio Divina, Prayer of Imagination, Centering Prayer or Welcoming Prayer), or it could be to focus on other complementary meditative practices such as mindfulness, self-compassion, loving kindness, gratitude, savoring, blessing or walking mediations.
Explore the Events page to see if there are any Accompanied Practice Groups at this time or in the near future.
(If there is a particular practice you would like to grow in, please let us know and we will see if there are others like you that want to meet together to develop in that practice.)
Search “Accompanied Practice” in the Events Calendar for the next Accompanied Practice event.
Become a Companion
For a deeper commitment, a sense of belonging and extended time together.
The Open Invitation
The invitation to become a Companion is for those who desire to make a deeper commitment to contemplative living and to a community of others who desire the same. Companions are formed simply by declaring to the community one’s intention to embrace the values, expressions and commitments shared by all Selah Companions.
Selah Companions form a community united in values, expressions and intentions. This community of companions form the backbone of the larger Selah community. We gather together to practice contemplation and to invest in the collective movement of the Selah community. New Companions are recognized into the community through a blessing ceremony, acknowledging and honoring each individual’s desired commitment and the community’s desired commitment to each other. Quarterly gatherings are organized in support of Companions. These gatherings are for more extended time together to deepen the bonds we have with each other and to grow in individual and communal contemplative practice.
Contact us if you feel drawn to becoming a Companion.
Embrace Our Shared Values and Expressions
The Values (and Expressions) of Selah Companions:
Through welcoming God’s love as the true Source of our being, our belonging, and our becoming,
We value contemplative living – through spiritual practices and grace.
- And we recognize– the triune presence of God as the One who fills each moment with us, gives inspiration for vision, births newness and hope, and reconciles all creation.
We value generous listening – through pause, listening, and responding to self, others and God as we turn to wonder rather than unreflective judgment.
- And we relate– to God and others with receptive hearts, minds, and bodies, nurtured in the way of Christ Jesus.
We value community – spacious community and mutuality as a shared contemplative journey with others.
- And we honor– the uniqueness of all persons as the recognized presence of Christ Jesus.
We value Love-in-Action – by responding to God’s transformative love in kind and through meaningful action for the sake of others.
- And we encourage – an openness toward, sanctuary for, and hospitality to all persons.
Attend to Our Commitments
The Desired Commitments of Selah Companions:
- Pausing regularly to practice contemplation to open one’s heart to the transformative love of God.
- Attentive listening and responding to God’s Holy Presence in the ordinary rhythms and choices of life.
- Meeting regularly in a contemplative group of Soul-Care or in a Spiritual Direction relationship that encourages insight, discernment, and mutuality.
- Offering Hospitality and sanctuary to all people with a spirit of welcome.
- Appreciating and stewarding creation through recognizing earth as a spacious place of grace.
- Supporting Selah’s ongoing intentions to pause, encounter the Spirit through spiritual practices, and growing together towards wholeness and loving others which includes investment in activities, financial means, and community with one another.
Search “Companion” in the Events Calendar for the next Companion event.