Retreat Association, 22-25 June 2015
Guest speakers and contributors include Dr Rowan Williams, Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, Revd Graham Sparkes and Margaret Rizza. I will be leading two workshops on mindfulness.
Worth Abbey Church hangs like a bell in the sky, ringing out…silence. This sense of being in a bell that is all to do with silence increases when you sit inside – even more you get a sense of a giant bell hovering above you.
Back in 2006 a phrase of 5th century Bishop, Diadochus of Photike, pioneer of the Jesus Prayer, also rang me like a bell. The energy of that phrase has stayed with me ever since, motivating and directing me. He said, ‘Let us keep our eyes always fixed on the depths of our heart with an unceasing mindfulness of God.’
Within the vast bell-like space of Worth I have been inspired to cultivate that mindfulness of God. The space and the silence invite you to indwell such mindfulness in your heart.
I have just led a retreat at Worth over the weekend on watchfulness and mindfulness of God. The experience did something which one translation from the Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict calls running ‘with hearts enlarged.’ The experience made my heart bigger. It was not just the space, the silence, the rhythm of prayer – it was the people. Those who were on retreat and the monks who offered us hospitality.
Now as I am home and I believe for weeks afterwards, if previous experience is to go by, that bell church that rings out silence will still ring in my life. I will still hear the echoes of the silence drifting to me on the wind.
 Quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism (London: New City, 2002) p.204.
I am leading a retreat at Penhurst Retreat Centre on Mindfulness of God and Personal Transformation on 12-14 June 2015.
Here are the details below and a link to the retreat centre’s website:
The retreat will be exploring mindfulness of God and mindfulness of health, with the aim of personal transformation. Anyone interested in developing their awareness and attention would benefit from this retreat. There will be silence built into the retreat as this is an important part of the spiritual practice of mindfulness. You will be introduced to the historic spiritual practices of Lectio Divina and the Jesus Prayer, as well as secular mindful awareness practices. We will be looking at mindfulness within Mark’s Gospel, the monastic tradition and psychology. The retreat will be interactive and dialogic with experiential elements.
Folks have been asking if I am running a retreat at Worth Abbey again next year, and yes I am! The details will be on their website soon but if you want to book in advance then you can email the Open Cloister bookings secretary, Alison Schillinger via TOC@worthabbey.net.
It is the weekend of 9-11 January 2015 and is called ‘Watching with our Transforming Lord.’
This is what they said about it last year:
How do we follow the footsteps of Jesus into our homes, works, and relationships in a way that transforms our lives? In Mark’s gospel, Jesus shows us the way through watchfulness, a lost aspect of the gospel which is cultivated through contemplative practices like Lectio Divina, silence and the Jesus Prayer. The retreat will look at how these practices help us deal with time and work stress. This is an opportunity at the start of a New Year to take time out to take a fresh look at our lives.