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The stillness of the moment
Silent voice calling to group who meet weekly in parish hall

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 27, 2014

Darrell Taylor looks for the face or at least the voice of God in silence and stillness.

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Darrell Taylor leads a Christian meditation group every week in Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, commonly known as the Igloo Church. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Taylor is the organizer of a loosely organized group of people who meet once a week at the parish hall of the Igloo Church to engage in Christian meditation.

If you think that sounds a little odd, you're not alone. Taylor said many people don't associate meditation or silent prayer, as he prefers to call it with standard Christian practices.

To many people raised in the Western traditions, meditation is often associated with mysticism, Taylor readily acknowledged. But he doesn't see it that way.

"You hit the nail on the head there," he said.

Silent prayer, or contemplative prayer, was big in the Western church tradition at one time, Taylor said, but faded out with the advent of the Rationalism movement, the Reformation, and the Renaissance.

He's been practising meditation for about 10 years, having taken it up while living in Ottawa.

He laughed at the suggestion the proximity to Parliament would drive anyone to seek spiritual solace.

"You got it," he said with a broad grin. "It's kind of an inside joke, since there's a prayer breakfast group in Ottawa for all these politicians and lawyers, so it's probably the most silence ever experienced in Ottawa."

The group is a relatively recent addition to the Inuvik scene and still isn't well known.

"I started this group about a year-and-a-half ago," he said. "We peaked at about seven or eight people in the summer, but have lost a few since we moved from the church back here to the hall and the weather got colder.

"People are always in transit here, so the numbers change, but it's been a good response."

Meditation, Taylor said, has "beneficial mental and physical effects on people."

Most people are unaware and largely unable to be still, either physically, spiritually or psychologically, since it's not something emphasized as being worthwhile in modern life.

"It's a form of prayer, actually," he said. "You could say it's more like a listening activity. It calms you down and relaxes you."

Typical prayers, Taylor said, generally consist of people telling God what they want. Meditation reverses that flow of information.

"For us it's more of a silent listening," he said. "Since meditation is without words, talking about it is actually counter-indicated.

"It's like I can't tell you how a chocolate cake tastes unless you've tasted one. It's the experience."

Taylor generally plays a short inspiring message before the group spends approximately a half -hour in silent contemplation and trying to commune with God.

Three people, including David Thurton, a CBC journalist who recently moved to Inuvik, attended the meeting.

Thurton, a staunch Roman Catholic, said he learned about Christian meditation from his chaplain before graduating from college about two years ago.

He said he enjoyed the practice, which he's found worthwhile during his career as a reporter, although he confessed with some embarrassment that he "dozed off a little at this session."

Taylor said there's actually not too much wrong with that. Instead, it shows the search for stillness is working.

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