A daily Lenten podcast for the spiritual nourishment of the soul viewed through the lens of Armenian Orthodoxy.
Focus & Depth of Field
Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014 Day 10: If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here Direct Link for Download (right click and save link as...) Being open to miracles means our senses are open to possibilities beyond our understanding. In this frame of mind, we can accept that all disciplines and sciences have something to contribute to any discussion. It is remarkable but true. Today we will continue on our journey with a lesson from the world of photography. We have been talking about focus, specifically in mediation. Today we will continue to focus, on the term “focus.” Point-and-shoot cameras, and now smart phones have left less to chance when taking a picture. But still, if you’re willing to venture to the manual mode of the camera and tinker with some of the dials and switches, you’ll find pictures can be taken with a variety of effects. For instance, you can adjust the depth of field within a picture based on the amount of light you allow in through the lens. Depth of field is the zone of sharpest focus in front of, behind and around the focused object. I’m sure you’ve seen these pictures, where one object is in focus and the rest is a nice blur. When we focus on an object, it means we’re giving it extra special attention. It means we will shed more light on that particular object. The more light we place on an object, the sharper becomes the focus, and the more blurry – that is less in focus – become the other items in the picture. The aperture, (the F-stop) controls the amount of light coming into a camera, and the photographer, that is you and me, controls the aperture. This is our second lesson about meditation. Like the photographer who opens the aperture of the camera, through meditation we are increasing the light, shedding it and thereby focusing on our illness, blurring-out everything else. The more light, the sharper the focus. Yesterday, I asked you to set aside time for meditation. It was a time of day where background and peripheral activity was to be minimized or even better, completely eliminated. Today, use that time of meditation to focus in on your illness, disease, disagreement, separation, heartache, depression, bereavement, financial loss, addiction or self-worth. Meet at the appointed time you decided yesterday. Turn off everything around you and turn on the light within. Think of the healing you wish in your life. Focus on it. Now open yourself so that more light can come in. Feel that light – it is more than illuminating, it brings feeling to you. Some warmth and some fear. Focus sharper. The items in the background will be blurred out; they are not receiving light, they are not being nourished. They will die off, but for right now, they’re too obvious. In the long term they won’t survive without the light. Healing is both a process of focusing on the good and diminishing the light the bad. This is a tough exercise, but today we begin on focused meditation. Imagine a large room filled with people and objects. You are standing in the center of the room with your head up and your palms turn out. Turn the light towards you and intensify that light. You’re getting more and more into focus. That person who hurt you, he’s standing by the wall. He’s no longer visible. We don’t need to discuss him anymore. That car that struck your child is fading in the shadow. The alcohol and drugs on the table next to the mounds of food, they’re close to you, but you don’t notice them any more. They’re out of focus and dimming out of sight. Even the cancer within is no match for this powerful light; it is dying and cannot survive. Tomorrow we will continue with some more meditation practices. Keep in mind what we have learned thus far and let each day of this Lenten Journey build on the day before. Let us pray, Light of Light, True God of True
Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014 Day 27: Play Now: Direct Link for Download (right click and save link as...) Like every other 13 year old, I was bored during religion class. We were forced to endure a one- hour lesson once-a-week inside the church sanctuary, where the priest would talk above our head about things that didn’t matter. Until one day, a very special priest invited us to fast. That’s right – to eat nothing. I don’t know what it was, but that one lesson caught my attention and turned me on to a practice that I would carry with me throughout my life. It was the late 1960’s. The President had been shot a few years earlier. In one year both Civil Rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and then the President’s brother, Robert Kennedy were both shot dead. There was a war in Viet Nam and back in America there was distrust for the government. Shut-ins, walk-outs and sit-ins were the way people expressed their disappointment with the establishment, while drugs of the psychedelic variety were another type of experiment against the system. The Beatles had returned from India with Transcendental Meditation and groups like The Cream were defining the improvisational Rock & Roll. So to sit through a was religion class listening to stories about dead people was an opportunity to either snooze or goof-off with friends. But when this priest spoke, I was listening. His name was Torkom Saraydarian. I was a student at the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian Day School in Encino California, where he was the priest. I found his lessons fascinating because he was inviting. He engaged us – at least me – in a practical manner, in my faith. Of all the lessons, the one I remember specifically was the one on fasting. He stood before the altar and explained the joys of fasting – the experience of cleaning the body and the soul through this practice. He spoke of healing and at that young age I was actually understanding that body, soul and mind needed to function in harmony for a healthy life. Many years later, after I was ordained a priest, I set out looking to find Torkom. He was teaching in Sadona, Arizona. I packed up our young family and we head out to the desert, only to be disappointed to learn the Teacher had passed away only a few months before we arrived. I was truly looking forward to meeting with him. I had followed only peripherally his teachings but knew that we were kindred spirits. A few years after our trip to Sedona I connected with his daughter Gita who was keeping Torkom’s legacy alive through the publication of his books and lessons in Ageless Wisdom.* In his lifetime, Torkom had authored many books and touched many lives with his wisdom and teaching. One of his many volumes is titled “Healing.” I wish to share with you a few excerpts from the first chapter of the book, called “Striving Toward Perfection.” The Ageless Wisdom teaches us that the major foundation of health is striving toward perfection… There are three stages of perfection. The first is called Transfiguration. The second is called Mastery. The third one is called Resurrection. All branches of the Ageless Wisdom – religions, traditions, legends, myths, etc. – have one major goal: to bring to the people of the world all the laws, rules, principles, ideas and the teachings which will make them healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally. Of course health, in turn, brings happiness, prosperity and success. To be healthy means to be healthy in all your personality vehicles – the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. Unless these bodies are healthy, you cannot be considered a healthy person. And these three bodies must unfold and develop simultaneously until they reach a high degree of integration in which they cooperate with maximum efficiency and without hindering each other’s growth. I wish to leave you to con
Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014 Day 19: Play Now: Direct Link for Download (right click and save link as...) Did you ever get something you didn’t bargain for? This could be negative or positive. You’ve probably experienced the “Express Lube” centers where we go in for an oil-change only to be offered upgrades and extra services that do little except to drain your wallet. Or what I call the “and up” print. This is that small print usually underneath the price of an item that let’s you know you may get the item for $29.95, but it is more likely that you will find something of decent quality in the “and up” price range. There are of course, positive extras which are real bargains. You sit at a restaurant and order a meal. When the bill comes it’s less than you thought it would be; your order was on the luncheon specials menu. You go for a medical exam because your blood pressure has been up. You find out your new diet has reduced your blood pressure and on top of it, you’ve dropped an extra 10 pounds. These are the extras that we all like and wish there was more of. There was a man who was paralyzed and lived his life on a stretcher. His family had heard that Jesus was performing miracles, healing the lame and the ill. They took this man on the stretcher so that he might be healed and walk again. When they came close to the house where Jesus was staying they saw that it was impossible to get in or even near Jesus. The house was full, the windows and doors were blocked by people trying to get in and even the front and back yards were jammed with those who hoped only for a glance or a whisper from Jesus. They took the paralytic on his stretcher up to the roof of the house. They were so determined for him to be healed that they broke a hole in the roof and lowered the paralyzed man through the attic to a spot immediately in front of Jesus. Seeing the faith of these people and moved by their determination to get in, Jesus turned to the man and said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Wait a minute! Sins? Who’s talking about sins? They went to all that trouble, carrying him up to the roof, tore the tiles and lowered the paralytic into the house for the forgiveness of sins? Was he serious? Couldn’t he see that this man wanted to be healed? This man wanted to walk. Why was Jesus forgiving sins? And on top of it, who was Jesus that might presume that he could forgive this man’s sins? Jesus looked at the people and asked them straight out, “Why are you troubled by this? Why are you questioning this in your heart? Which is easier? To tell this man ‘Your sins are forgiven?’ Or to tell him, ‘Rise, Take up your stretcher and walk.’ But so that you man know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” he said to the paralytic, “Get up! Rise! Pick up your stretcher, walk and go home.” The story, which is recorded in three of the Gospels says that the man rose “Immediately” picking up his stretcher and walked home. The man came looking for a low-level miracle. He wanted to get up and walk. The extra bonus, which was the real miracle, was that he was forgiven. He was let go of his past. Jesus referring to himself as the “Son of Man” in this context is the expression and ability that he is one of us. That is, this power to forgive is given to all of us. Even more, his question, “Which is easier to forgive sins or to say ‘Rise and Walk!’” informs us that the path to health, to rising and walking, to healing, to recovery, to reconciliation is with the basic step of forgiving. Today’s meditation comes to us from this story. It’s a challenging contemplation. We are all like the paralytic in the story, that is, we are bound up by our illness and disease. He was unable to move because of the loss of motor skills. You may be stuck because of your lack of self-e
Lenten Journey - Heartbeat
Day #40 of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Vazken Movsesian. If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here Music: Lifebeats by Jethro Tull Lenten Recipe 40: Jicama Salad Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net Background Lent Song: Here I Am to Worship played by Heidi Get A Lenten Journey with Fr. Vazken delivered by email View in iTunes Play/Stream on BluBrry Listen via Stitcher Radio
Lenten Journey - Outreach
Day #39 of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Vazken Movsesian. If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here Outreach Lenten Recipe 39: Tropical Sweet Potatoes Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net Background Lent Song: Here I Am to Worship played by Heidi Get A Lenten Journey with Fr. Vazken delivered by email View in iTunes Play/Stream on BluBrry Listen via Stitcher Radio
Lenten Journey - The RSVP
Day #38 of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Vazken Movsesian. If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here The RSVP Lenten Recipe 38: Peach Salsa Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net Background Lent Song: Here I Am to Worship played by Heidi Get A Lenten Journey with Fr. Vazken delivered by email View in iTunes Play/Stream on BluBrry Listen via Stitcher Radio
Customer ReviewsSee All
A true blessing to have these lessons, thank you very
I'm enjoying these podcasts very much. Even sharing them with fellow non-Armenian Christians. Keep up the good work.
Really enjoying this series!