SINGAPORE - Benedictine monk Laurence Freeman conducted a silent retreat on the practice of contemplative prayer, or meditation, for 185 Catholics and non-Catholics from Jan 26-28 at Trinity Theological College in Upper Bukit Timah Road.

Left, Father Laurence Freeman gives a demonstration on the mantra and teaches how "the mantra brings us to stillness".

"The Art Of Happiness", as Father Laurence's talks were named, "showed me the spiritual reality of the Beatitudes," one participant said. "If you faithfully meditate each day, humbly persevering without judging or looking for success, you become more accepting and loving of yourself and others - and this is really the way to happiness. I realize that when I am contented with the little things I have, I'll be happy."

London-based Father Laurence, who is Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, said happiness does not come from the satisfaction of desires which are sometimes created by others to make us long for what will not really satisfy but from self-knowledge and spirituality which can be found through meditation.

Father Laurence advised the participants that true happiness already resides in each of us. It springs from the knowledge of God within us and this knowledge, brought out by meditation, enables us to become happier day by day. The retreat was organized by the Christian Meditation Group.

(Written with information from Christine Khor and Stella Kon)

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