Patricia A. Merlo, M.P.M.

Meditating as a spiritual practice is becoming increasingly popular as its physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits become more widely acknowledged.

The term “meditation” is an umbrella term that refers to many different practices, ranging from techniques to calm one’s mind or induce a state of relaxation to a means to open oneself up to God’s Spirit working within them. Meditation practices can be grouped into three distinct forms: attention; awareness, and intention.

  • Attention
    i.e. focusing on the breath or on a mantra (frequently as a way to quiet one’s mind). Most forms of Mindfulness are included under this category.
  • Awareness
    i.e. observing, in a non-judgmental way, one’s thoughts (mental chatter), feelings, physical pains, images, and so on. Vipassana is one example of this method.
  • Intention
    i.e. becoming aware of and welcoming the presence of God’s Spirit; consciously consenting to God’s action within you during your meditation.
  • This form of meditation follows two different paths:

    • 1) The “via positiva” uses “thoughts” (including our ideas and reason, feelings, imagination, memories, and will). Examples of this form of mediation are Lectio Divina or Gospel Contemplation. 
    • 2) The “via negativa”, also called the “the way of luminous darkness”, is an emptying or “formless” type of prayer or meditation. Examples include Christian Centering Prayer or Islamic Zikr.

    Both of these paths begin with a belief that God is respectful of our free will. Knowing that we are never forced to love or respond to God, we seek to make explicit our desire to make conscious/intentional contact with God.

Meditation Workshop

The Meditation Workshop is designed to be both informative and experiential.

Goal: Participants will leave the workshop with both an intellectual and an experiential understanding of meditation.

Proposed Agenda:

  • Explanations and examples of the three forms of meditation
  • Descriptions of “normal” experiences of meditation
  • Guided practice of each form
  • Practical guidelines for establishing your own meditation practice


To schedule a Meditation Workshop or for further information contact:

Patty Merlo

(Page last updated: 11/6/2013)

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