Tomorrow global meditators will be joining our Ukrainian community on their day of retreat. You are warmly invited to show our solidarity and support during their intense suffering that now moves and concerns the whole world. As you have seen from these daily reflections, our Lent this year is shaped by this crisis. It would be hard to reflect on Lent without feeling the real exodus of millions from the attack of a leader who, like Pharaoh, has cruelly hardened his heart. These are times we live the teaching in the darkness of faith.
Yesterday I met online with Maria and Albert Zhakarova in Lvev who are the WCCM National Coordinators. They will host tomorrow’s meeting and speak of their feelings and thoughts and of the care they are giving to the refugees from Eastern Ukraine. They run a web-design company but are finding other ways of support; Albert is riding a motorcycle delivering food. They have already been shelled and air raid siren sounded during our conversation.
I asked them how they understood meditation in this nightmare. They said it was an essential lifeline. It keeps their minds calm and maintains the balance they need to serve the refugees. ‘It is like going through a dark tunnel,’ they said, ‘but we know we can survive.’
Everything around us is dying but in meditation we find in ourselves what cannot die. We see meditation as a narrow way taking us through the clash of oppositions that create chaos around us. Meditation has never been more precious. We see what it means more clearly than ever.
A few years ago I joined them (they speak Ukrainian and Russian) to introduce meditation in both countries. Many Russians in several cities still attend the online meditation groups which are meeting through the invasion. An Orthodox priest joins  from the depths of Siberia. Maria said,
Meditation seems the last connection between Russians and Ukrainians now. The last link. Religion can’t give this connection. In churches the priests seem in a state of shock. And in Russia the church has been politicised.
We must all ask what prayer means and does contemplative prayer make a difference. Maria and Albert have a response.
‘The victims of war need people to listen to them and care for them selflessly. Meditation helps us to help them. We are seeing the power of illusion and how dark and deathly it is. How badly the ego disconnects from reality and works everywhere. Reality is giving us a hard push. The mantra seems, like John Main says, feels a plough clearing a rough field.”
Join Maria and Albert and others from around the world tomorrow, Saturday 26 March (from 12:00 CET) with this link
Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2022