Wisdom in the Pandemic: Episode 2 | John Philip Newell

Conversations in the Garden with 
John Philip Newell during Covid-19

In this episode, Hildegard of Bingen inspires us to fly with two wings of awareness: awareness of life’s beauty and awareness of life’s pain.

‘Wisdom During the Pandemic: Conversations in the Garden with John Philip Newell’ are a weekly video series “drawing on wisdom from teachers of the past.” John Philip will be asking, if these teachers were with us during this time, what might they say to us?
 
Music composed and video produced by Cameron Newell.

Wisdom in the Pandemic Episode 1 | John Philip Newell

Conversations in the Garden with 
John Philip Newell during Covid-19

We are excited to announce the launch of a new video series – ‘Wisdom in the Pandemic: Conversations in the Garden with John Philip Newell’. Each week John Philip and his son Cameron will be in conversation amidst their garden in Edinburgh, “drawing on wisdom from teachers of the past.” John Philip will be asking, if these teachers were with us during this time, what might they say to us? 
 
In this first episode, they will be speaking of the late William Newell, who calls on us to open our hearts to the pain of the world in order to feel compassion.

Do Not Be Afraid | John Philip Newell

During this time of uncertainty and loss, we encourage you to reflect on the prayer offered below and view the meditative chant performed by Fran McKendree and friends.

Do not be afraid. I am with you always.
(Matthew 28:10, 20)
 
Our heart is comforted
in its awareness of You
Soul within our soul
Life within all life.
Our heart is comforted
in remembering You
Giver of this day
Gift of every moment.
May we be bearers of comfort.
May we be strong in our soul
to cry at the wrongs of nations
to weep with the bleeding earth
to mourn with those who mourn this night
in the loss of life and lands
in the loss of dreams and hope.
May we be strong in our soul this night.
 
-John Philip Newell, ‘Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace’

JPN Meditations, Straight to Your Inbox

Did you know that you can receive regular readings for meditation from John Philip Newell via email? We’ll also send periodic updates from Heartbeat, scholarship opportunities and event news all while being careful not to clutter up your inbox. Click here to sign up and join our community! 

A New Ancient Harmony Video Series | John Philip Newell

We are clearly living in an unprecedented time. Like never before there is an opportunity to pause and remember the oneness at the heart of all life and move deeper into spiritual grounding. John Philip Newell’s video teaching series, based on the themes from his republished book, ‘A New Ancient Harmony‘ offers an essential resource in exploring this invitation. The videos below were filmed by Larry Hastings at Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico.

“There is an essential harmony of relationship deep within the matter of the universe. Everything exists in relation to everything else. This is part of the new consciousness that we are being invited to wake up to –
the interbeing of the universe.”
 
-John Philip Newell

The Essential Harmony: Remembering the Oneness

Broken Harmony: Allowing the Tears

Rediscovering Our Original Unity

Listening for the Heartbeat of Life | John Philip Newell

“Do we know that we can reverence the heartbeat of God in one another and in the earth? This practice of intentional listening is a key part of the journey forward. For in listening we become aware of the deep life-force for change that is within us.”

John Philip Newell

For Earth Day: The Wisdom of John Muir

In celebration of John Muir’s birthday on April 21 and to commemorate April 22 as Earth Day, we hope you’ll take a moment to view a teaching from John Philip Newell on the great Scottish-American naturalist, author, and mystic. The teaching was filmed in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland and is a clarion call to care for the earth at this critical time.

"Muir was a prophet... he was committed to announcing the sacredness of the natural world and called his readers to fall in love with the earth."

-John Philip Newell

For Everything that Emerges

For everything that emerges from the earth 
thanks be to you, O God,
Holy Root of being
Sacred Sap that rises
Full-bodied Fragrance of earth’s unfolding form. 
May we know that we are of You
may we know that we are in You
may we know that we are one with You 
together one.
Guide us as nations to what is deepest 
open us as peoples to what is first
lead us as a world to what is dearest
that we may know the holiness of wholeness 
that we may learn the strength of humility 
that together we may live close to the earth 
and grow in grounded glory. 
 
-John Philip Newell, Praying With the Earth, 2011

An Expression of the Universe

by John Philip Newell
 
As we bring to our spirituality a posture of listening, listening to the essential oneness of the universe, placing our ear close to the heart of the earth and the heart of the human soul, what is it we will hear? Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth-century mystic, says that we are not simply made by God. We are made “of God.” This simple but radical statement holds enormous implications. It means that we are not fashioned by a distant Creator, made out of nothing from afar, as it were. Rather we are born from the womb of the One, made of the substance of oneness. This is why Julian likes to refer to God as Mother, as well as Father, because she sees us and all things as coming forth from the heart of the One, as carrying within ourselves the essence of our Source.

"We are not an exception to the universe. 
We are an expression of the universe."

What does it mean to say that we are made of God rather than simply by God? In part it is to say that holy wisdom is deep within us, deeper than the ignorance of what we have done. Sacred creativity is at the core of our being, deeper than any barrenness in our lives or relationships. The divine passion for what is just and right is our true heart’s desire, deeper than the apathies and falsenesses that have disabled us. And above all else it is to say, as Julian does, that the “love-longing” of God is at the core of our being, deeper than any fear or hatred that holds us in separation.
 
We are made of the One. Deep within us, amid our differentiations as individuals and nations and species, is the desire for oneness. This holy longing is found not only in the human soul but in the soul of the universe, at the heart of everything that has being. We are not an exception to the universe. We are an expression of the universe. Our longings are a unique manifestation of the universe’s longings. In listening to the depths of life, within our lives and within every life, we will hear the longings of the One that are deeper than the fears that divide us. 
 
A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul, 2011

Capacitar Tai Chi

Dear Heartbeat Family,
 
I hope you are coping during this time of COVID 19 and lockdown. My blessings, prayers and thoughts are with you all. I thought this would be an appropriate time to highlight some of the work we’ve done in practicing Capacitar Tai Chi in retreats, which I have co-led with Philip. During these difficult days, it is good to keep exercising and Capacitar Tai Chi is a wonderful way to feel grounded and calm in the midst of all the uncertainties.
Dr Pat Cane, founder of Capacitar became an Honorary Partner of Heartbeat last year. Capacitar is a grassroots organization and international network working in over 40 countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. They are especially committed to communities affected by violence, poverty and trauma. At present many are accessing the Capacitar practices online, through video or through video conference as people support each other through the pandemic.
 
Here is a resource, which we filmed in the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, before it closed! Even if you have never tried Capacitar Tai Chi with visualisation, the movements are simple and easy to follow. Feeling connected to the healing spring energy and beauty is helpful when we have to spend more time indoors. The movements and the setting sit well with these words from Philip:
 
Grant us open hearts, O God
open to you
and open to one another
open to the splendour of the earth
and open to its pain and the pain of its people.
Grant us open hearts, O God.  
-Excerpt from ‘Celtic Treasure’ by John Philip Newell
 
Along with the prayers from Philip’s publications which have been posted regularly to strengthen us, I hope the Capacitar practices might be a useful way too of connecting and supporting each other. This can make us strong for the work of compassion in our world right now. 
 
Rev Ali Newell
Associate Chaplain, Edinburgh University